Wow… I can’t believe that summer is basically over. On one hand, I breathe a sigh of relief (after all, summer at Journey is busier than Christmas AND Easter) but on the other hand I look back at a successful summer and a lot of fun that we had!
Here’s a brief recap of my cRaZy summer:
- Kicked off the summer with a vacation to Cedar Point with some friends – a much needed break and a ton of fun, this was probably the best vacation I’d had in a long time! I even went out on a limb and got my ear pierced – crazy!
- Ended our “Be the Difference” series with a huge celebration at the theater where we sent everyone to the store to get food for 2 local food pantries. All the food was presented to the workers of the pantries along with 2 checks for the Second Harvest Gleaners where they can each purchase up to 5000 pounds of food!
- Kicked off Summer Evening Worship on Thursdays outside on our property with a patriotic service, including fireworks and a cookout!
- July went retro when we started our “Face the Music” series on Thursday nights where we looked at music from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and found God in the midst of the lyrics. The worship team rocked with music from the Beatles, Bon Jovi, Hanson, Whitesnake, The Beegee’s, and Michael Jackson – not to mention the AWESOME costumes!
- In the middle of the month, Journey’s community ministry, C3, hosted our first Extreme Home Makeover where we picked a family that had been nominated and sent them away for a weekend and made-over their house. The family we chose was the Applewhite’s, a wonderful family living in downtown Grand Rapids. Their house was in serious need of repair and they were struggling to make ends meet and couldn’t put the money into the house that it needed. We stepped in and re-did the roof, painted the exterior and gave the inside a serious face lift with new paint, a repaired bathroom and lots of finishing touches. It was an extreme event that took lots of volunteers (over 75) and lots of time and energy, but it was TOTALLY WORTH IT!
- I also got to take a second shorter vacation to West Virginia to go whitewater rafting. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip (12 hours driving day 1, rafting day 2, 12 hours driving day 3) but we had a blast!
- Summer worship continues through the month although the “Face the Music” series is over, giving us a little extra breathing room.
- Sundays, we take Journey to the movies in our series “God @ the Movies”. We’re taking a look at movies from the last year and finding God in them, using them as parables, pictures, or just drawing a parallel to a moment in the movie. We’ve looked at Horton Hears a Who, Spider-Man 3, and Transformers, as well as about 16 different movies for our opening week when we assembled a montage of video clips illustrating the life of Christ. It’s been a great series so far and I can’t wait to see how we wrap it up this week with Ratatouille.
- This Thursday, we’re wrapping up Summer Evening Worship with the installation of Pastor Bob. Since he was installed at Saint Mark (because at that time, there was no “Journey of Faith”) he needs to be installed at Journey. We’re celebrating it Journey-style with a cookout and festivities, including a worship concert from the worship team. It will be another great memory from an already great summer.
Yup, this has been one amazing summer. I think it’s one of the keys to Journey continuing to grow and mature as a church. Most churches scale back in the summer – we add to what we’re doing, and it appears to be working. Just looking at our attendance numbers for Sundays (not including Thursday nights) our 10 week average (basically the bulk of the summer) is higher than our average for the entire year. Summer was actually BETTER than the rest of the year, and we’ve always grown in the fall. Hopefully fall will be as much fun and excitement as summer!