So much has happened in the last month, our heads are definitely spinning. It is getting to the point that I think mainly in bullet points and lists, otherwise it's all way too much. So... here you go...
- I got a second job at a Presbyterian Church in Racine, the town just north of us. It's a beautiful building (see pic). I'm super grateful because the income thing was taking a serious toll on Tony and I. Now, we can definitely pay our bills. Phew! Thanks for your prayers on that one.
As for Great Lakes Church...
- Sent out our very first mailer to 50,000 homes in a 7 mile radius here in Kenosha inviting everyone to our brand new church. It advertised our "Thank God for Sex" series, 2 new services times, and our location at Nash Elementary.
- Because of the mailer, we were subsequently kicked out of our meeting spot at Nash on a Thursday, which is plenty of time to find a location for 300+ people the following Sunday.
- Because of all the drama of getting kicked out of the school, Dave ended up being asked onto a local radio show, and we were in the local news paper a few times. Clearly way more free advertising than we could have planned for on our own.
- Met that following Sunday at a meeting hall on the back side of "The Brat Stop" (only in Wisconsin). As in Bratwurst, people! It was incredible. We pulled it off, packed the place out, and grew to 362!
- February 8th - Launch Weekend - We met for our very first time at Tinseltown Movie Theater. This was also the first time for 2 services. Because the movie theater opens to the public at noon, we had to change our advertised times for our 2 new services. Are you following? We sent out a mailer to 50,000 homes with the WRONG times and the WRONG location. We had less time to set up that morning than we've ever had, and were doing it in a location we've never done it. This was not off to a good start... Um.. yeah... final count for the day was 623.
- Still following? Ok then, you're doing better than I am. Now, of course we are excited and blown away by what God is doing in this community. We are humbled that he is using a group of misfits like us to do it. These are very good things that are happening. But, seriously... over 600 and we've only been officially meeting weekly for 6 weeks!?!?!
Our two biggest concerns right now:
I've never heard of a church growing this fast. While it truly is a miracle, people can feel lost in the shuffle. How can you get to know people when you are new, and the 30 people sitting next to you are just as new? We hope to hedge off these very valid feelings of disconnect by hosting some sort of Connect Event each month until we launch Growth Groups in June. Our next Connect Event is tomorrow night - a Pizza Party.
If you are in the group of those that are praying for us, please pray over these two very important areas. Pray that God helps us find a location where we can continue to grow and invite people, and pray that the people that are here make some connections with others and don't feel so lost and lonely in all of this.
Since we began this adventure, we have now had 4 different meeting spots. We have had over 600 people walk through our doors, over 130 are now committed volunteers, and over 30 people have indicated a first time decision to follow Jesus Christ. Each week, people are making decisions to openly explore God's view of sex, to live more simply and more purposefully, and to release bitterness and explore forgiveness. We are truly experiencing a move of God, we feel blessed to be a part of what He is up to and only hope that we can even remotely keep up with what He is doing.