“I thank my God every time I remember you… because of your partnership in the gospel for the first day until now…” Philippians 1:3-5
You are a part of a miracle!
Seven churches. Packed worship services. Tens of thousands of people giving their lives to Christ. Hundreds of small group Bible studies blanketing our community. Missions, church planting, and compassion ministries exploding.
There’s a word for this in the Bible. It’s “revival.” Revival is when God gets your attention, and you are changed. You go in a whole different direction. You do things you would never normally do, like clear out a bank account and give it all in an offering. And make sacrifices, great and small. That’s what has happened. Revival is happening in these churches, and as a result, people’s lives have been changed.
God’s dreams always dwarf our plans. When God first called us to launch Bayside, we had no idea the scope of His plans. The harvest has been far more plentiful than we thought – and the laborers (you) have been far more fun to work with than we expected. Our pastors and our entire staff are filled with gratitude for every one of you!
Therefore, let me share the four reasons we are thankful for you:
We Thank God for Your Love!
“We continually thank God for you because. … the love you have for one reason never stops increasing.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3 (JB).
You have been the most loving, encouraging, family of churches that any pastor could ever hope for. We have been blessed by your love and support beyond our wildest imaginings.
We Thank God for Your Flexibility! Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken! You have put up with changes that would have killed any other church in America. Meeting in cafeterias/gyms/warehouses/outside in August…time changes…remote parking…alarms interrupting services, etc. One of the reasons you’ve been flexible is because we’ve always been a forward-thinking church. We thank God for the past, but we don’t dwell on it. We’re always looking at the future. That’s why we believe God’s best days are ahead of us. This is a forward-thinking church. I love you for that.
We Thank God for Your Generosity!
“…They were extremely generous in their giving…giving even more than they could afford.” 2 Corinthians 8:2-3 (GN).
It always blows the minds of other pastors when they come to this church, and one of us says, “It is the policy of this church that if you’re a visitor, we ask you not to give today. If you’re a visitor, please don’t give.” How can we do that? Because God’s people in this church are the most generous people we know. The Bible says, “Where your treasure is your heart is.” I know where your heart is. It’s with the Lord and with your church family.
We Thank God for Your Faith!
“We always thank God for you…for how you put your faith into practice.” 1 Th. 1:2-3 (GN). Someone once said, “If you think you are leading – but have no one following – you are only taking a walk!”
Church, you have been willing to walk with us, and that takes bold faith!
Shutting down to serve the community – takes faith!
Launching 7 churches in 7 years – takes faith!
Launching Breakaway kids camps so that 13,000 kids and volunteers can experience the love of Christ in every community – takes faith.
Sending a thousand teenagers to serve in Mexico each year – takes faith!
Believing that thousands of people, from diverse cultures in seven churches, can love each other and be one church – takes faith!
And today, coming to Golden1 Arena to bless our entire community – takes faith!
That has been a mark of this church. You’ve been willing to take risks. You’ve expected God to act. You’ve believed in the impossible. Many churches are known more for what they’re against than what they’re for. A lot of churches have the reputation for being negative and that’s why people don’t want to go there. You, on the other hand, have a reputation for attempting the impossible. This has been the DNA of our church.
We could go on and on but no matter how long the letter, or how many pages, it all boils down to this: Every single one of you has blessed us more than you’ll ever know. Thank you for your love, your flexibility, your generosity, and your faith. As we always say, “God has been so good – it’s embarrassing.”
In Christ’s love,
Ray and Carol Johnston and the Entire Bayside Pastoral Staff
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