It was a good weekend to start 2016, one full of life and ministry.
And one in which I heard a lot of terrific things said about our Lord and the ministry of the people of Good Shepherd.
Here are five that stand out:
1. At Friday night’s Room In The Inn ministry, a one of our volunteers said: “Good Shepherd’s not a big church. It’s just a church with a lot of people.” I love that sentiment. She was able to crystallize so much of what we mean by making a big church feel small.
2. Just before the 11:30 service, I reminded one of our worshippers that exactly 16 years ago we had blessed her house and after we said good-bye on that day I overheard her tell her family: “I found my church!” Sixteen years later, she still has that church. But what’s more interesting was what she then reminded me of yesterday: “And you know, Talbot, I was the first black person you had at the church.” (While maybe not the first, at the time she was one of no more than five.) What’s remarkable about that? She said that in the moments before our 11:30 gathering which in 2016 is a gloriously full color assembly that includes Africans, African-Americans, Asians, Eastern Europeans, and of course our Latino community in the Corner Campus. From those early beginnings in 2000, God has brought us vivid reminders of what it’s like to have Revelation 7:9 worship in real time.
3. Speaking of full color, here’s a note I received from Sammy Gonzalez, our Latino Pastor:
We had a young man by the name of Jonathan from Costa Rica visit for the first time today. When I asked him how he heard of us he said he was playing basketball at the Corner Campus with some other kids and when he saw the Latino Ministry sign and asked about the church the kids invited him to GS and even told him that there was a fourth service in Spanish! I though that was pretty cool!! [So we’re teaching our] students how to “invite all people”!
4. I received a note from a friend who both walks the 12 Steps AND on Sunday sat in what we refer to as the VIP Section — overflow seats in our music room located behind the Worship Center. Along with about 75 others, she watched the service on video. Here’s what she wrote on Sunday night:
All of the messages are relevant, actually, and this series promises to be vital to so much. Everything, actually. Prayer is everything. “Relevant” means weaving the principles of the message into marriage, sobriety, compulsions, so many things people struggle with. There were so many quiet acknowledgements in the overflow room as you mentioned these areas, and sitting in the back row it was easy to notice them.
God is truly good when he can communicate to people who no doubt came to church expecting they’d have a seat in our Worship Center but yet had the flexibility to move to “overflow.”
5. And maybe best of all: the many people who requested “Can we get some more of those Prayer Guides?” We’re working on it . . .