Church Is About People

Canonsburgup   -  
“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.’”  – Luke 14:23
Dear Friends,

What a wonderful celebration!  On Sunday, February 25, we gathered to rededicate our sanctuary and to celebrate the amazing work that has been done by God in our church!  We watched before our very eyes, the physical transformation of our Fellowship Hall and Sanctuary, we heard and sang joyful music in praise and offered fervent prayers to God, and we were admonished, again and again by former pastors from the past five decades.

If you missed it live, fear not, we have photos online here and the full (nearly 90 minute) service published to our website, as well as Youtube and Facebook.  I think you’ll be encouraged when you watch – every word in response has been positive already.

The common thread across everything, from Bruce Mawhinney to Craig Kephart was exactly the same – the building is beautiful, but it’s the people that make it a church – and now we take up the call to welcome them into a beautiful place and space to worship and grow in Jesus.

It reminds me of the parable of the Great Banquet, where the master is so very dead-set on having his house full.  He commands his servants to go out into the country lanes and “compel them to come in.”  It’s not out of fear, but out of love and joy.  What is experienced around that banquet table is such that no one would want to miss out – if they only knew.  And yet, if there is no one to tell them, no one to invite them, no one to celebrate with them when they get there… how will they?

We’re partway into the season of Lent, in preparation for Easter.  We’re digging into that Long Night that John details in his gospel, full of messy service, deep teaching, surprising twists, agonizing prayers and ultimately, a grief that must have been unbearable to endure.  It will culminate for us on Maundy Thursday (March 28), with a service at 7:00 PM to include communion, the cross, and a re-reading of the final events before Jesus breathes his last…

Before the sun rises, and… the Son rises… and we celebrate together on Easter Sunday!

Besides Christmas, this is the most attended worship service of the entire year.  In 2023, we experienced a 33% increase in attendance to that service!  Our regular Sunday worship is already 13% higher than through the first two months last year.  Which means that people are hearing and finding something special in our church.  Which means… you’re telling them, and you’re also helping them to encounter joy and peace and hope and love and Christ as we’re gathered together.  Thank you!

Keep it up!  Keep welcoming –welcoming people by inviting them, welcoming people by opening doors and making room and welcoming people with hearts and hands of love when they come.  People want what we have here.  People need what we have here.  People are absolutely desperate for a place to belong, where the shame of their past doesn’t cloud their future.  Where they are shown that they are loved and valued.  Where they experience forgiveness and peace.  Where they are given an opportunity to use their gifts and talents to bless others and while doing so, grow themselves.

That’s what God is building in this place.  That’s what we’re welcoming people to be a part of.  That’s what we celebrated at our rededication and that’s what we’re going to continue to live into in the days and weeks and months and years to come.

I’m so grateful to be here with you, continually growing with you, and

Welcoming Others to Grow in Jesus,

Pastor Don