October 17th, 2010.
I stood anxiously in the PowerHouse, waiting to see if anyone would show up. Pacing back and forth, I wondered if the enormous gamble we were taking was going to pay off. We were moments from starting our very first service as a church, but there was no guarantee that we would draw a crowd at all. Slowly, a few familiar faces trickled in. Then a few total strangers. With every person that walked through those doors, I felt the anxiety decrease.
Before long, we had around 4o people show up. That might not sound like much, but it was huge for us. For several years we believed God had been leading us to start a church in Oxford, MS. That night we actually got to see the fruition of all those plans and prayers. It was a night I’ll never forget.
I thought after we got the ball rolling that night, things would be easier. My eternal optimism probably had me convinced that every person that came that first night would be back the next week. They’d most likely bring all their friends. I mean, why wouldn’t they?
The truth is, a few of them were never seen in our church again. Quite a few of them stuck around for a while, but their education or occupation eventually moved them along. In their place came new friends, and before I knew it, 3 years had passed.
It’s been an amazing, challenging, liberating, frustrating, and faith-building three years. We have tried to remain faithful to the call that God placed on us, and we have endeavored to serve and love the people that He puts in our path here. We want to thank you guys for allowing us to be a part of your lives, and for generously supporting this unusual church. Yet as God continues to build our community in Oxford, we can’t forget about those of you who have moved away or supported us from afar.
The Life has made it this far because of an unorthodox support system, featuring numerous churches, our own members, people who have been blessed by our church, and even some generous folks who have never even attended a service. Our vision to share our lives with people in Oxford in a simple, Christ-centered community has inspired all kinds of people to get involved and help us accomplish this mission. I have been consistently surprised by the different ways God has shown His faithfulness to us. If you look at the ‘normal’ statistics, our church shouldn’t have survived for 3 years. But it certainly seems like God has a plan for us, and He has used all of you to help make this plan happen.
To all of you that were a part of that first night, I want to say thank you. Your curiosity about this new church was so encouraging to us, and we are grateful that so many of you have remained a part of our community.
To all of you that have been a part of our church along the way , I also want to say thank you. We have been blessed to meet so many awesome people, and we pray that your time in the Life was fruitful and helpful. Thanks for being a part of our family and our story.
Lastly, I want to invite everyone to attend our birthday celebration service this weekend. On Sunday afternoon at 5PM, we will gather for worship, food, and fellowship to celebrate our 3rd birthday as a church. Every time we have a meal like this, I am so impressed by our people bringing such delicious and diverse food. It’s something you don’t want to miss.
If you’ve never been to the Life before, there’s no better week to start.
If you’ve been a part of our church at any point during the last few years, we would love to see you this weekend. It would be such a joy for you to be a part of this celebration as well.
(I know some of you will come to town for the LSU game; why not sleep in on Sunday and stick around for one more party before you leave? Just a thought…)
The bottom line is, we’ve been abundantly blessed over the past 3 years, but the greatest blessing has been the incredible people God has brought our way. We hope to celebrate this milestone with as many of you as possible this weekend.
We hope you’ll join us, and we would love for you to bring a friend.
Living the Life,