God is on the move.
I’ve seen it in my own heart, in the lives of my friends and I’m seeing it as a church. The narrative of this season has been one of God revealing the things we have relied on more than him. God has shown me this personally with the weight I place on friendships and in my work. In a season where I find the absence of some of these things, he’s shown me that he has, and always will be enough.
As a church, we have seen how much weight we’ve placed on big gatherings. And although our small groups have always been our hope for anyone attending, this season has highlighted the necessity of that. Our church quickly turned to caring for, leading, launching, and growing these communities. Since jumping back into Connections Ministry in July, I’ve gotten to be a part of that process! Since March, over 1000 people have expressed interest in joining a group at our church! I’ve gotten to play a role in helping connect around 460 of those individuals!
defined as “a people having no permanent abode.”
That’s been the story of the Downtown congregation of The Austin Stone. Due to COVID, Austin high school is not currently an option for our congregation to gather. And while things are looking better in Austin, we are still left with “no permanent abode.” This past month we’ve had the incredible opportunity to gather outdoors at Stubb’s BBQ in downtown ATX! It’s been a blast and quite different from a high school gym. However, with social distancing regulations, we are still only able to host about 1/3 of who would normally show up on a Sunday at Downtown. We’ll be able to gather here until Nov 15th and then, like true nomads, we’ll move on to wherever God opens the door next.
HIGHLIGHTS from this season!
* Getting to gather with our people again has brought incredible refreshment to my heart. It’s been so good to meet the people I’m connecting rather than just seeing their names on a spreadsheet. I’ve been so encouraged by the ways God has used our Connections Ministry to being people into a meaning community where real life change happens!
* In April, I helped launched a virtual group of strangers (same group mentioned in a previous update). This group is still continuing to gather (now in-person in my backyard) and has grown in depth and friendship. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen these folks in person, yet we’ve grown to deeply care for each other as we push one another towards Jesus.
* We are currently in the middle of our fall Partnership class (which is what we call our members). I’ve been blown away that there are currently people in this class who have moved to Austin during covid, joined a group at The Austin Stone, watched the sermons online, and are now pursuing partnership- all without ever physically “attending.” God is literally bringing people into our church body and we get the fun job of receiving them and thanking Him for it!
Ways to be praying!
* For a home for our Downtown Congregation. Past Nov 15th, it’s still up in the air. We have some incredible women and men on our staff tirelessly working on this, but we need God to open doors (literally) for us. I’d be honored for you to join us in this prayer.
* As things start to ramp back up, we find ourselves deep in the craziness of fall ministry. I would love prayers for intentional rest admits the ever-changing craziness of this season.
* What’s next?!?! As my residency ends in less than a year, that’s the question that’s hard not to fixate on. Prayer for clarity, direction, and discernment as I dream about what God has in store! All the while resting in contentment in the meantime.
Thank you for your continued prayer and support. The work God is doing in me and through me is a direct result of YOU. For that, I’m eternally grateful!