January 13, 2021
Hi ENCOUNTER Family,
Thank you for giving me a few moments to update you on what’s happening here.
Over the past 10 tough months, I’ve often found myself recalling to mind what King David went through before he ever ascended to the leadership role God had planned for him. Imagine, all those years running from madman King Saul, hiding like a fugitive, wondering what would happen next. All the while, God’s plan was unfolding, and David’s character was forming. We too grow through our trials. In Christ, hard times don’t have to be wasted — they can be used for our refinement. They can deepen our faith. They can make us more compassionate. Keep going, church! Our God is with us and for us!
Every now and then someone jokingly comments, “You’re still here!” Uh, yah. Pretty much 2020 didn’t turn out like any of us thought it would. It was about this time last year when I told you Lori and I were preparing for full time ministry with Catalyst Intl, which supports and encourages those who are taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Then the pandemic hit and the world came to a screeching halt. Any disruptions we’ve felt here have been amplified many times over by those serving Christ in difficult, hostile and remote regions of the world. While our plans got delayed, we believe God is setting us up for expanded impact in the days ahead. If you’d like to learn more about what we’re doing with Catalyst Intl please check out our website here.
As for the pastoral search process, it’s also been slowed by the current crisis. Our Elder Board has kept pressing forward despite all the obstacles. They’re working in tandem with a professional agency that helps churches through pastoral transitions. Even in ideal times, it can take a while. Please keep praying for them, and in the right time, God will provide the right leadership for our flock. Lori and I love ENCOUNTER, and we love all of you — so for now, it is such a gift for us to be able to serve here. We feel so grateful!
On behalf of our Elder Board and entire staff, I want to say thank you for your faithful giving to sustain ENCOUNTER in the midst of so much disruption. We know it’s tough — sitting outside in the cold or watching online… and all the while missing all the people that make up our tribe. But I think it also calls out the best in us. I’ve seen that displayed so many times over during these past 10 months. Thank you for all your encouragement. And, thank you for your end of the year gifts to ENCOUNTER. While the actual end of the year giving was lower than in the past, because of your generous help all the way through these difficult months, the church is still in a healthy financial position. That is reason for thanksgiving!
While we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, we do know where our strength and hope is found. We are lifted, carried, and guided by the Spirit of the living God who lives in us. And, we have each other. We will prevail!
Grace and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ,
INDOOR SUNDAY SERVICES
— Due to Supreme Court ruling, we have the opportunity to meet back indoors on campus again! Join us for Sunday morning services at 9 am and 10:30 am, our NEW SERVICE TIME, in the auditorium.
— Wear your face mask and maintain a six-foot distance from those outside of your household. Face masks will be required for the duration of the service.
— Outdoor children’s programming will be available. Pre-registration is required!
ENCOUNTER KIDS ONLINE
— Provide an ENCOUNTER Kids experience from your home at our new online space! Find age appropriate video resources as well as print materials to help lead your kids in a lesson of hope, love, and faith in Jesus.
— Join a movement of ENCOUNTER followers lifting up our church, community and world in a digital prayer space in our ENCOUNTER Prayer Facebook group.
— We created a digital space to Share and Respond to Needs associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
— Watch Lindsey’s video on ways you can give or receive help during this time.
— To partner with ENCOUNTER as we respond to coronavirus related needs, please donate through the Care Fund, located on the dropdown on our PUSHPAY link.
— Check out Pastor Jack’s video on how to partner with us in caring for COVID-19 related needs.
— Join our digital space for ENCOUNTER Prayer
— NEW KINGDOM PEOPLE small groups are launching this winter! They are a great way to get connected and have meaningful discussions, all while diving deeper into the weekend sermon. Sign-up and we will help you find an option that fits for you!
— All STUDENT YOUTH GROUPS meets each Wednesday night on ZOOM for games, a devotional, prayer and relational connection. Follow us on Instagram #whiteflagsocial to keep up with the group.
— CELEBRATE RECOVERY is meeting on campus outdoors. Contact us for more information: for men, email Buddy at email@example.com; for women, email Daniella at firstname.lastname@example.org
— ENCOUNTER PRESCHOOL is open with in-person instruction.