So yesterday at Elevation we had a baptism celebration at Elevation. It is one of the things that we do that amazes me that I get to be a part of. As a church family and team over the last four and a half years we have celebrated 194 people getting baptized. The baptisms are amazing as we see husbands, wives, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and friends baptize the people that they know have taken the step of saying yes to a relationship with Jesus. There is nothing more amazing then watching a little boys face as he looks up at his dad after he comes out of the water. I get emotional when I see a spouse that is getting the chance to baptize the person that they are staying with for the rest of their life and eternity.
But then you get to hear the stories of how and why they said yes to a relationship with Jesus. You get to hear about the struggle, the mess, and many times the hurt that lead them to realize their need for Jesus. But then you also get to hear the stories of how families lead in the area of faith, about how students knew that it was what the knew they needed to do, and amazing stories of a life of faith and growth. No story is ever the same and no baptism is every the same because of what is happening in that persons life.
What I am excited to think about though is the stories that I have yet to hear. I am excited about the faces, the families, and the friends that we get to take pictures of baptizing those that are making their life with Jesus public. Who knows maybe you are one of the stories that we are going to get to share.
There are moments in life and working in a church that you just have to be able to share with others. We have been able to see God do some really amazing things through out the last couple of weeks. But on Sunday was one of those days that was just overwhelming and awesome.
- We started our “Elevation at the Movies” series and talked about our orignal parents Adam and Eve and how our “Our Parents past points to our possible future”.
- Sunday we had 10 people give their lives to Jesus. Several of these people had never attended church in their life.
- Sunday we had 5 guys take the step of Baptism. In fact one of the young men that was baptized decided right then and there and was baptized in his clothes. His mom was overwhelmed and in tears.
- We had 30 first time guests for our “Elevation at the Movies”. The people of Elevation really stepped up and invited their friends and family to join us.
We know that as a church that has only been around for 20 months we are celebrating 92 baptisms and that God is doing something incredible in and through us. So I am excited to be able to take the next couple of weeks away and focus on what we will be doing in the coming year. We know that there is more and more to come when it comes to being the church that is going to, “Engage the world to elevate the name of Jesus one life at a time.”
3 – Take a Spiritual Next Step:
Each one of us needs to take next steps with Jesus. That may mean getting baptized this Sunday at Utah Pool. When you do this, you will be going public with your relationship with Jesus. You will also be sharing it with everyone at the Baptism Celebration this Sunday at 5:30PM. This may mean, for you, serving somewhere at Elevation. The month of December is a great time to start. We will need more people to serve during our Christmas Eve services because we will see a large group of new people coming and we want them to have a great experience here at Elevation and you can be a part of that by serving. You can serve in the Worship Arts Team by contacting Tim Hanebrink, firstname.lastname@example.org. Tim is looking to have a group of carolers for our Christmas Eve services. You can serve on the Ekidz Team by contacting Nancy Bloyer, email@example.com. Nancy is going to be having shepherds walking through the Ekidz rooms and we would love for you to be a part of this as well. You can serve in the First Impressions Team by contacting Ryan Duncan. Ryan.firstname.lastname@example.org. Ryan will need more volunteers so that our first time guests experience is enjoyable. So, we need you to take a next step!
2 – Give to the IMPACT Offering:
This year all of us at Elevation will be coming together to make an IMPACT offering. This offering will be above and beyond our normal 10% tithe. We have set a goal for twenty thousand dollars and we are on the way there. We want you to sit down with your family and friends and see how you can make this Christmas about others. Make this Christmas special by giving to something that is going to change people’s lives. When you give this year, you will be giving to each area within Elevation. Your gift will help to enhance our EKIDZ experience. It will also improve your experience on Sunday mornings in our worship services. Some of the funds will also be given to first impressions to enhance the experience of our first time guests here are Elevation. Finally, when you give, we will be giving 5,000.00 to the Miracle House in Kenya. Make and IMPACT today, you can go to our ONLINE giving and give there or you can mark on your envelope this Sunday “IMPACT” or any of the other Sundays this month.
1 – Remember that Jesus came for the Hurting:
You have a chance to make December special by inviting people that you know to come hear about Jesus at our Elevation Christmas Eve Gatherings. This year you can use our Elevation Christmas tickets to invite friends and family. My wife Michelle is making cookie plates for the people on our block and taping the tickets to the plate for our Christmas Eve gatherings. You can pick up the tickets and our new building cards, which are available at our Guest Services table. Remember that we have two services. The first starts at 4:30PM and the second starts at 6:00PM. Each service can seat 250 people. Make this December special by allowing the people you know to find out why they call Jesus the “Prince of Peace”.
One of the things that I have really enjoyed over the last two months of being a part of a church start is the unexpected things that occur. This morning I woke up earlier then I needed to get up so I just laid there until the alarm went off. Got up and got ready, then hitched up the trailer and went to the school to get set up. We proceed to get things set up and I went out to set up some signs around the area. While on the road all of a sudden got violently ill. I mean I think there were probably people driving by thinking. “Man that guy is still dealing with last nights fun!” If that would have been true I could have understood what I was going through. Then it went away. So through much prayer and some mints for bad breath I finished out the morning. I then started thinking man was I horrible today. Well, here is what I want to start the Sunday thoughts with; “It is not about me.” It is about Jesus and His Holy Spirit showing up in spite of me. We had two people say yes to Jesus.
Here are some other thoughts:
- Our volunteers are doing an amazing job and making a difference in our community and in peoples lives.
- We had a family come and check out the church today because of the Thanksgiving Boxes we gave away two weeks ago.
- A teach at the elementary was overwhelmed with Jesus love because our Children’s Ministry director let her know that someone cared and was thinking of her.
- The Custodian at the school told me, “I may not be in the gym while you are teaching but in my office I can here it all.”
- The Lead Volunteer Team at Elevation is making some major steps in improving what we do and how we do it.
- 8 people were baptized today. I did not do one of them. To me that is a huge celebration, because Dads and Moms baptized their kids, Husbands baptized their wives, and Friends baptized friends, biblical community at its best.
- By the way did I say that our Volunteers are amazing.
Thank you to the people that are attending and becoming team members at Elevation. It is a great ride and I can’t wait to see what happens next week, next month, and next year. Jesus is alive and making a difference in you and through you.
Sunday Night I had the awesome privilege to be able to baptize Samantha Muir. I want you to know that I think that being a part of someone’s baptism is the most awesome thing that I get to do as a pastor and every baptism is special. But I want you to know that this young ladies story has something special to it. She is a beautiful young lady that has an awesome story of how God has really taken care of her. You will see her dad Steve standing up with her and sharing her story with the rest of the group of people that were there to celebrate the next step of baptism. What most people don’t know is that Samantha at a young age drowned and was dead for ten minutes, she has lived with some of the challenges that come with being dead for that long. But on Sunday, February 15, 2009 she shared with the world that she has given her life to Christ. Not to many years ago the same water that tried to take her life was now representing a new life. Don’t think that wasn’t scary for her.
What is keeping you from sharing with others how Christ has made a difference in your life?
(Pictures taken by Tyler Bloyer)
One of the things that I am constantly striving for is to make sure that we as a student ministry are staying focused. We do this through the use of the discipleship process that our church staff has created over the last year and for the student ministry we have put some areas that we can use as markers. I use them in my mind and vision to make sure that we are doing what we are suppose to be doing and that we can continue to move forward as the Lord leads us in student’s lives. So here are two things that have encouraged me when it comes the growth in our student ministry. We for the first time in the history of Northgate had more then 100 students in the student ministry services on a Sunday morning. Then for the last year we have baptized 23 students half of them coming from new church growth not transfer growth. Then finally we have 45 students actively involved in community groups during the week. As we continue to develop the markers that we are going to use to watch for growth of our student ministry I will be making updates through out the years so you can see how we are doing. But for those of you that think, “WOW” he is just about numbers then I want you to make sure that you take a look at the picture above and remember that she is what those numbers represent. Students and life change!