Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Big Day

Wow we have been pretty slack in quite possibly the most exciting time of journey here, sorry!  Last week we had our very first public worship service for our new church.  We sent out 32 thousand mail pieces to homes in the area.  We had a mission team come into town from Texas and they spent 2 days going around the community putting door hangers on doors to invite people to our service.  We all put countless hours into our preparation.  We flew most of our band and sound guy in from South Carolina.  We had a local church give us almost 50 volunteers to come and help us serve and it was amazing!  We had 175 people show up!  And 5 people give their lives to Christ for the first time! That is really amazing for Northern California.  I (Archie) was so proud to have been used by God in such an exciting way.  We are meeting at an Elementary school in the area so we have to set up and tear down every time we meet.  That morning we started loading in everything at 7am for our 10:30 service and we still ran out of time for a few things, but nothing major.  It is just one of those things that will get better and faster every time we do it. When I got up on stage to lead worship I and I said "Welcome to South Bay Church!"  a cheer went up from the whole place, it was very exciting.  Worship went well and people connected to the songs but for me it didn't feel like home yet.  I felt like I was just leading worship at someone else's church.  That morning from 7 right up till 10:30 I was busy unloading and directing people to plug things in and move this here and that there, I really didn't have time to process it all because I had been so busy making sure that this whole thing was going to come off :)  I was in charge of buying all the equipment!  So I was looking at this thing from a very different way than everyone else.  Like did I buy enough extension cords (by the way, I didn't) It wasn't until I sat down after worship to listen to Andy speak that it hit me.  A great sense of accomplishment and joy came over me as I looked around the room at all the people that had come that we didn't know, we've only been here 10 weeks, and curtains surrounding the room, and the cool stage, and Andy up there speaking and my guitars on stage, and all the sacrifice that we had made to come here- It hit me- this is our church!  This is what we came here for!  This is our church!  It was amazing to be in that room and to feel God and all the potential that He has for this place.  The thought even hit me on sunday, "we are going to quickly outgrow this place! 

           Because our first church service went so well we have been getting calls and emails from all over the country from other church planters wanting to know how we did it and what steps we took to get there.  We have taken a statement from a popular author and made it our own.  "Work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God."  We followed some strategies,  read books, worked very hard, and asked a lot of questions to a lot of wise men but at the end of the day God is the one who blessed us.  If I can quote another book we're reading called Go Big, it's kind of the christian version of From Good to Great, It says that "God will give you all you need and more if make it about His kingdom and not about you."  I can honestly say that this is the heart of our team.  To make it about His kingdom.  Don't get me wrong, we were really jazzed about having 125 people from the community come, but there are 7 million people in the bay area and 95% of them don't know Christ.  We still have a lot of work to do.  I pray that we never allow it to be about us or about our comfort as a church.  
      One really cool thing that we did as a new church that I was really proud of was that we received about $2000 in our first offering and we as a church decided to give it all away.  We are giving half to serve those that serve our community like, the police, fire fighters etc. and the other half went to some organizations that help the needy in our community.  That felt great to say to the world and to our community and the people who came into our church with a wary eye toward Christianity to say "Christ came to serve and not be served and we are here do to the same."   
      We will have some professional photos of our first service up soon, we haven't gotten them back yet.  But here are a few to give you an idea.  These are right before the service started.  You can see me up on stage, and Bekah on the keys to the left, Marion from Charleston playing Bass,my brother Sam is hidden behind me on drums and Filipe is bending down tucking something under the carpet at the last minute with 33 secs left before the start of service- see I told you it was close!   


On a more personal note, I have lost 12 lbs by running and switching to diet drinks and splenda in my coffee instead of sugar,and I have started recording some original music on my new computer (nothing to show yet but hopefully soon) Bekah is also lookin' skinny these days and liking her new job working with families in their homes.  We are missing family and friends a lot.  Thank you to those of you who ask about us and pray for us.  We love you and cannot thank you enough for believing in us and for your prayers. 


Patrick said...

It's so cool to know the "what was going through your mind" of that morning. I'm so excited by what God is doing with your lives because of what you were willing to do for Him!

You have no idea how much you all inspire me! You're awesome people and I'm proud and honored to be able to call you my friends.

The Power Family said...

Praise God!! What a wonderful testament to the power of God and those submitting to His will!! Congratulations on a successful first service. I will pray for continued success!! :)