Sunday, February 20, 2011

Being a pastor in a YMCA!

Being the pastor of a church in a YMCA, I often times get the question "So when are you guys going to get your own building?" I usually respond with "We have the biggest indoor baptistry of any church I know (The pool) and we have a rock wall in our kids area. We have a better building that we could ever build. Why would we leave it?" Then I try to take the opportunity to explain why we really love being in the YMCA and why we plan on never leaving the Y. So I'll try to keep this short, but I want to take this opportunity as Gray's (or Mr. Stallworth or the CEO of the YMCA, however you may refer to him) as his guest blogger, to Share why we love the YMCA.
There are so many details that I could share about our journey as we have really embraced the call to be a church IN the Y and not just a church AT the Y. However, for the sake of time, let me just share a few highlights of why we love being a portable church in the YMCA. First, there is absolutely no better way for us to be good stewards of what God has blessed us with. We meet in the Y's facilities on Sunday morning and when we finish, those facilities are used non-stop all week long. So there are no big buildings that sit empty while our church members aren't there. Not to say that church buildings are bad... because the aren't... they are necessary. However, God has given us an amazing opportunity, and we want to hold on to it. But the facilities are really just a very small part. Second, The Y already has all the programs we need for outreach. As a church we don't have to look into starting programs for our members and for the community. If our church members want to start a soccer league... Already done! If we want to reach out to people outside of our church all we have to do is join in on anything that the Y is already doing! Think about it. How many churches do you know that have 5,000 people from the community come through their doors every week?... Um, I can think of one... Oasis Church. Why would we ever leave that? Third, the YMCA is an amazing Christian organization, rich in history. As a church, we get to help the Y sow Christian values into the lives of people in our community. Most people see the Y as just a "Swim and Gym", but the Y is so much more, and we are committed as a church to helping the Y plant Jesus values into every area of peoples lives; Mind, Body, and Spirit. The fact is, A permanent church in a YMCA is a win, win, win. We win as a church, The YMCA wins, and most importantly the community wins.There is so much more that goes into this aspect of why we love being a church IN the Y and not just a church AT the Y, but maybe I'll have another opportunity to share in the future.

February Newsletter 2011

As I am writing this, we are wrapping up our New Year's Revolution Series and I must say that God has really revealed to me what excites our church. I guess the best way to put it is "give it away". We've been talking about the potential each of us has and the potential that we have as a church to make a kingdom impact in this world. We asked some basic questions like are we really using our influence for God's glory? and how can we specifically use our influence for His glory? This Sunday, which will have already passed by the time that you get this newsletter, we will announce that our church is going to raise $5,000 to dig a well for people who have no access to clean drinking water. Our church has been waiting eagerly to hear how exactly we will be "giving away" our money. This is how we want to influence the world as a church. As individuals, we want to be consistently pouring kingdom principles into the lives of others.
If you would like to donate to digging the well, you can mail your contributions to PO Box 49772 Greenwood, SC 29649. Please be sure to mark it "Living Waters"
This February we will be doing a series called "I Killed Jesus". Please feel free to listen to our podcasts. It's going to be an intense series where we talk about God's Mercy, Justice, and redemption. We will also talk about the importance of sharing the gospel and our potential as a church to take the gospel into our community.
Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our sin; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.