This year our church we hit several significant ministry milestones. In two months our family celebrates being back in New Orleans for 10 years! We returned to New Orleans in January of 2010 to plant Hope Church. In the spring we will celebrate the two year anniversary of our merger with Metairie Church; a merger that God has used to bring about increased health and impact. And this month we celebrate the four year anniversary of our non-profit ministry - First Hope Christian Ministries; a ministry that provides professional counseling and benevolence assistance to poor and hurting people in our city.
Honestly, the whole church planting journey has been really hard! We began with a high school student and a college student in the living room of our rent house.. along with two small children, we developed a small core team in our home over the first few years, we launched a worship gathering, we bounced from location to location, we struggled to multiply small groups, we struggled to learn how to be a diverse church, we struggled to engage with the Gospel, we struggled to grow and we struggled through a merger... like I said, it was hard!
But by God's grace, a thriving church exists that did not exist before and impactful ministry is happening all around us every day. Through lots of prayer, tears and struggle the Lord built His church. And all along friends, family and ministry partners have been with us investing, encouraging and praying with us. If you are one of those people:
Today I want to invite you to rejoice in our latest victories. For years we worked and toiled in the field; preparing the ground, planting and watering the seeds, fighting off the birds, praying life would spring fourth... and it did. And now suddenly we are reaping a harvest. Since August 1st we've had first time visitors every week in our service and a lot of weeks 5-10 of them. Right now we have four baptisms in the works, we have a large great of membership prospects coming to our Discover Metairie Church class this Sunday and we've recently established several new small groups and community ministry initiatives. Friends, God is moving and we're rejoicing and giving thanks!
Friends, family and ministry partners -- I want you to know that your investment, your encouragement and your prayers have had a HUGE impact and the fruit of your investment is being realized more and more every day. We give God all the glory but we also give thanks to Him for you and for your part in our story.