Church-in-the-Garden Family and Friends,
As the season has changed and we are settling into our fall routines of school, work, and weekends, I want to thank everyone and welcome you all back to Church-in-the-Garden. Around this time every year, I try to articulate some themes and goals for our church for the coming year. In discernment, prayer, and reflection, I submit to where God is leading me in the shepherding of this congregation while writing the vision for the ministry of this church.
In September, we celebrated my two-year anniversary at Church-in-the-Garden. We also celebrated the first year of our Church-in-the-Garden Youth Ministry. Since the inception of the Youth Ministry and my pastorate, our youth attendance and participation has grown almost six fold. What a blessing to see what God is doing in the midst of this congregation! I am most proud of our Youth Ministry Leaders: Glendy Escobar and Maria Chamaidan, and all of the lay leaders who work hard, with love, and with patience with our young adults, youth and young children. The continued growth of our church is happening through our Youth Ministry. I believe that our overall church growth will blossom as more young people become excited in Christ and the fellowship of kindred minds.
Last month and in August our Youth Ministry took ownership of their worship service. Various young people ushered in the Spirit of God and created the atmosphere for true worship. As pastor, I rejoice in the knowledge that we are moving in the Spirit of God. God is blessing our worship.
So what lies ahead? Well, we still have work to do. As a congregation and as Christ followers we have more to give, more tests to endure, more lessons to learn, more knowledge of God’s will to attain, and more of the love of God to witness and share. We must stay motivated to seek God’s will.
This season we look forward to exploring God’s word more deeply. Creating more the atmosphere and experience for others to come to know Christ. We must outreach more with area schools and the student body to help speak to issues that aren’t being addressed in the church but ought to be. We must reach out to more of our local neighbors and neighborhoods and engage those who are suffering at the margins.
This is a great opportunity for our church and all who support us to help us improve ourselves, our communities, our nation and world. In other words, the question we need to be asking ourselves is, “How can we help?” How can we help be the church of Christ of today and the days to come? How can we help ourselves to be better Christ’s followers? How can we help our communities where we live? How can we help? At Church-in-the-Garden, we are here to serve God through serving God’s people. Let us know. We may not be able to do everything but we can do something!
Reverend Earl Thorpe