State of the church
This has been a year like none other!
I vividly remember the day I read two passages that would prepare me for the places God wanted to take our church this past year—places that stretched my trust, risk, and obedience as a leader beyond where I ever thought I could go in my faith.
“So David inquired of the LORD, and God answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind the Philistines and attack them in front of the poplar trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you.” - 2 Samuel 5:23-24
I remember reading this verse in January of 2016 not having a clue that we would be launching into a building campaign starting that very summer and culminating at the end of October. When we saw God “going out in front of us” by using generous Kingdom Donors to pay off our $564,000 of current debt and, beyond that, agreeing to a matching grant of 3.5 million dollars for the dream of a new facility, we “moved quickly” to follow what seemed to be His call to follow him with reckless abandon.
The second verse that God led me to came at the end of the summer just before the public launch of the campaign series at the end of September. I remember reading the book of Joshua and one verse just jumped off the page as we prepared to cross “our Jordan river”.
Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.” - Joshua 3:5
Our job was to consecrate ourselves before we embarked on this adventure; God’s job was to show up and do amazing things among us. We knew that what we were tackling was impossible…we’d been told that from consultants and contractors alike, but we believed that if God was going before us in such an awesome way and “moving in the trees” to prove his presence and power, then he could do amazing things among us. And so we set out by faith with a confidence that God would show up or else.
To make a long story short, we saw these two verses come true right before our very eyes and are continuing to watch God do amazing things among us day in and day out. Our little body of believers in Lowell gave and pledged over 2.6 million dollars this past October as we finished up our “Through the Roof” series and committed to make more room for people to get to Jesus! All projections were blown out of the water and all predictions obliterated by the awesome and amazing power of God working in the hearts of our church family to step out in audacious faith to see God’s Kingdom come! We are still in the middle of a year where every dollar that is raised will be matched up to 3.5 million and that 1-year deadline will be the end of October 2017. We are believing the rest of the money will be raised and that this building will be built and paid for when all is said and done!
If that wasn’t enough, we finished our building campaign and started another quasi-campaign to launch a new Cherry Creek Campus (CCC) in January 2017 with a dream of 300 people leaving our Main Campus and making a commitment to serve and attend at the CCC while the building is being built. It was a huge ask, but people stepped up and rose to the challenge. The purpose is to make room for more people while we’re building, but just as important, we’re needing to duplicate disciples and multiply ministries so that when we occupy the building, we have the leadership across the board to support the expanding ministry. It does no good to grow wider if you aren’t growing deeper…and we need a deeper bench if we’re going to keep growing in a healthy way. It’s been amazing to see new people serving in critical capacities to see the dream come true. We have had an average of around 230 people attending the new campus and we look forward to seeing that grow in the year to come. If you’re reading this now and thinking: “Maybe we should move over”, do it! It’s a great group of people and a culture of life and love that will surprise you.
We knew going into the year that we could become so focused on the campaign that we lost touch with our ethos of outreach to our community, so we made sure that we continued to “raise the standard” of being outward focused. Our Love Week essentially doubled with 30 projects and over 2,500+ man hours that translated in us recently receiving the 2017 Non-Profit Award from our Chamber of Commerce!! I can’t tell you how proud I am of our church and its devotion to taking the refreshing life of Christ to the streets of our city! I can’t wait to see what happens this coming year through this anticipated yearly expression of Jesus’ Love.
We also threw a party for our community for the first time called “The Park Party”! We didn’t know how many would come, but we dreamt big and planned for about 2,000 people to flood Fallasburg Park and a huge number of dreamers and planners and activists put on a festival that was nothing short of astonishing! The projected number of people who came crested 2,500 and the whole experience was a smashing success. I can’t tell you how many people from our community have commented since the Park Party on how great it was asking when we’re doing it again. I love throwing parties for our community and letting them know we #LoveLowell.
I could go on and on with the ways our church continues to advance God’s Kingdom. So many of you are serving in our church and community in obscurity and I want you to know two things: God sees and it’s making a difference! Keep it up. As Bill Hybels says, “The church is the hope of the world”, and the longer I live the more I believe it. If we were left behind by Christ to be his body on earth, then we are the incarnation of Christ, the very reputation and representation of Jesus on this planet. Can it get any more crucial than that?
I hope you’ll take the time to read this booklet in its entirety in order to get to know our leaders, our ministries, and ultimately our vision for this coming year. God has assembled our leadership as well as our church to accomplish things that bring His kingdom to earth. I think you’ll be blown away with how he has moved, but even more, how he dreams for us to follow Him in the coming days.
I believe that God has even more amazing things in store for this whole region and that our impact will continue to sprawl beyond Lowell…to our neighboring communities…to our church plants…all the way across the sea in Swaziland where God is using us to “help people take the next steps in their relationship with Jesus”. This is our mission. This is our passion.
In the adventure with you,