This week, the elders had the opportunity to spend some time with Pastor Bill Elliff from the Summit Church talking about our upcoming transition to a new church home. We asked him to meet with us to help us think wisely and carefully about this new chapter in the life of our church.
More than a decade ago as Redeemer was just beginning, Bill met with a small group of men who were helping lay the foundation for our new church. His experience as a pastor and church planter was invaluable as we were getting started. So we were grateful when he was willing to meet with us again during this season.
Bill had a lot of practical counsel for us about how we prepare for the transition and about how we get ready to welcome new folks who will be checking us out for the first time after our building is finished. He talked about opportunities in front of us and about some of the challenges that may lay ahead.
But there were two things he said that I’ve continued to reflect on. First, he reminded us that our new church home is not something we’ve built so that we can have a bigger, newer, nicer place for us to gather and worship. We’re building a bigger, newer, nicer place hoping that God will fill it with new friends, new men and women, couples and families who we can introduce to Jesus and share with them the message that God has used (and is still using) to transform our lives.
I’ve used the term “gospel outpost” as a way to describe our new building. And that’s what I hope it will be for generations to come. I’m praying now for the new brothers and sisters in Christ who we will have the privilege of growing alongside of in our journey of faith.
God’s assignment for all of us as we make the transition to the new building this fall is that we come to worship together every Sunday with twin expectations. First, that we will continue joining together in His presence, hearing from Him through His word and speaking to Him in prayer and in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, just as we’ve been doing for eleven years now. But now as we gather, we need to be ready to welcome in people we don’t know yet with open arms and open hearts, ready to serve them and help them as they come to know and pursue Jesus.
And second, Bill reminded us that we aren’t the ones who picked out the location for our new church building. God did that. He has this spot marked out for us. We have the opportunity to connect with new neighbors in the Water’s Edge, Woodbridge and Kenwood neighborhoods up and down David O’Dodd. We are called to love and serve the staff and students at David O’Dodd Elementary School at one end of the street, and at J.A. Fair High School at the other end.
We’re about to be around the corner from UALR. We’ll be closer to two of the fastest growing cities in Arkansas – Bryant and Benton. We’re right down the street from hundreds of new apartments that have popped up along Bowman Road near Brodie Creek.
One of you shared with me recently about the significant way God has used Redeemer in your life in recent months. You shared with me about how you’ve been experiencing the kind of joy and peace that comes from a deeper relationship with God and a fresh hunger to spend time in His word. That’s what I’m praying will continue to happen in all of our lives in the days ahead. And I’m praying that the clear message of the gospel will continue to impact a growing number of people in Central Arkansas as the next chapter of our life as a church begins this year.
Are you ready? Are you excited?
I hope so. By God’s grace, I believe there are things ahead for us.
Because truth sets us free. And grace changes everything.
The final Kid’s Small Group of the spring happens this week – Thursday night starting at 5:45. I hear it’s going to be quite the par-tay! Hit up Matt Gurney if you have any questions about it. Mattgurney77@gmail.com
Who’s ready for peanuts and Cracker Jacks? And for a great night of baseball and music at Dickey Stephens Park?
Saturday night, June 1, we’re heading out to see the Arkansas Travelers play the Tulsa Drillers at the 7th annual Faith and Family Night at the ballpark. The game starts at 5:30, and it wraps up with a concert from recording artist and former American Idol contestant Colton Dixon.
More details soon. Meanwhile, mark the date and play to join us for a special night at the old ball game!
And take a look at all we have planned this summer!
If you’d like to download and print your own copy, you can download it here.
And don’t forget our Summer Seminar on Systematic Theology, starting on Monday, June 3. It’s open to anyone who would like an overview of the major doctrines of the Christian faith.
If you’re planning to attend, you’ll want to get a copy of RC Sproul’s book Everyone’s A Theologian before the study begins. You can order it online from Amazon here.
Is there such a thing as an unloving Christian? Spend a little time on Twitter and you might start to wonder! But as we’ll see this week, the Apostle John says following Jesus and loving one another are inseparable.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!