Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Day Launches

(Reflections from Janet, co-church-planter with husband Pastor Jim)

Well, week two of "launch-o-rama" (as niece Kristi called it!) is complete... and somehow the stress level is not yet reduced! I feel like I'm barely able to catch my breath. Jim was noticing that some of our staff and volunteers were getting sick last week, and he said something about how people get sick after a big, stressful event is over... OVER?!? Not yet!!

The biggest stress this past weekend came at 7:59pm Friday, and 6:29pm Saturday (one minute before each of the respective worship services). My best analogy for what this is like for me, is preparing for an open house 3 times every weekend. Preparations are intense, all the hosts are excited about celebrating, and there is no clue about who and/or how many will attend! When NO ONE has arrived a minute before the event is to begin, I'm about ready to throw up!! But prayers are answered and people did come - we had nice groups both nights (23 and 27). Sunday morning brought visitors from Elk River UMC and we had a full house of over 50. So, totals were larger than last weekend (over 100, up 10% from week 1). The most positive sign for me were that 3 new people from last week returned, and 2 of them brought friends! That, truly, is how I think this church will grow - we haven't started with huge numbers, but those who come are being touched in some way and wanting to bring others. It's a safe, meaningful and fun place to bring a friend!

Jim is doing an incredible job with his messages - making them relevant, meaningful and creating non-threatening ways for people to engage instead of being "passive pew-sitters"! God's message is loud and clear, and Jim's spirit, sincerity and love for people is very evident. It is a pleasure to watch the response from the congregation as Jim engages them and God warms their hearts!

Amanda, too, is making incredible, spirit-filled music with various musicians, instruments and levels of ability! God's love just shines from her and her spirit adds beautifully to the energy and power of the music. She and Jim work so well together - she responds to impromptu changes and needs during each service, and their banter is genuine and fun.

And Melissa has the childcare area organized and working beautifully! We're sharing our childcare room with the Driving School (who are also leases in this building,) for two weeks while their classroom is being finished. Melissa has been very flexible: moving into Jim's office for the Friday night service and rearranging furniture, etc. to accommodate "Wreck-less Driving School" (clever, eh?!). There were children during all three services this weekend and she did a marvelous job with the children, volunteers and all the logistics!

We're still working on staining and varnishing the A/V booth and Smartboard wall - waiting on carpet for both. Hopefully those two big projects will be completed this week or next - and we can start using this great technology!!

Jim has arranged a "Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony" with the Big Lake Chamber of Commerce for this Saturday (Sept. 26) at 5:30, followed by a light dinner and worship. Our District Superintendent, the Conference Director of Congregational Development and Jim's coach will be coming. YOU ARE ALL INVITED AS WELL! We've been putting the word out, to try to get a full house to celebrate...

That's it for now!

Blessings and love,
Janet :->