Updates

Weekly Updates

October 20

Hey fam,

I met with the deacon team last night. They are an incredible team.

If you don’t know, our deacons are the ones who help our church carry out the ministries of the church. The deacons are primarily volunteers who lead a team (or a team of teams) to equip the church to be the church. These women and men are sacrificial, dedicated, and driven by love for Christ and for you as part of his church.

As a result of their work (and, obviously, the work of God through them!), we’ve grown – not just since the pandemic started, but even since we started meeting again in person. We’ve seen believers join us to grow in grace and we’ve seen people become new believers! There is no doubt that this is a challenging season, but the Spirit is still at work making much of Jesus!

As we looked at the opportunities to equip the church to gather and serve our community in love, we discussed going to two services to create more space, beefing up our outdoor gathering area to accommodate those who aren’t comfortable gathering with us indoors, and even how to modify our Affordable Christmas event so that we can still serve those in our community most in need during this economic downturn.

There is one thing that came up as the single greatest barrier to our being able to take advantage of the opportunities ahead of us: we simply do not have enough volunteers or leaders.

We need volunteers to help clean between the first and second service. We need volunteers who are willing to show up a little early and stay a little late to set up the tent and outdoor gathering space. We need volunteers and leaders to help us pull off a modified Affordable Christmas event (an event that equips us to equip families to have Christmas, though without our traditional shopping experience).

Y’all, I’m going to be blunt. Some of you have turned into consumers. I know there are a thousand reasons we can give that excuse us from serving (kids, stress, exhaustion, fear) – and I know that for some of you these reasons are totally valid. But for some of y’all, they are excuses. If you are unsure, ask God if you are currently being driven by love or by entitlement – he’ll let you know.

Bottom line is this: the purpose and mission of the church needs the church to be the church. If we are going to love God and love others like we love ourselves and be disciples who make disciples, we need to work together to serve, bless, and equip the mission.

Some of you are faithfully and sacrificially serving already (some of you in ways I don’t know and won’t see). Know that I give thanks to God on your behalf. Some of you are absolutely overwhelmed with life right now, Know that I do not write this to put guilt on you. If you are in that spot, let us know and we will gladly serve you in the love of Christ! But for many of us, I think we just need to be reminded of two key truths: First, it is good for us to serve and not just be served, and second, we unleash the blessings of grace in our lives when we push out in the generosity of grace toward others.

This pandemic is just a season, a passing time of struggle. Let’s live first for the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. His kingdom is forever – and so is our shared portion in it!

As I have always been, I continue to be deeply grateful for you and the incredible privilege of being your pastor. I love you and want only the best for you. Let’s push into God’s best together.

Because:

He is risen.
He is risen indeed.

Grace,
Steve

Two Services in Two Weeks!
At our meeting last night, we set a goal of starting our second service on Sunday, November 8. This will give us time to (hopefully) fill in our service teams a bit more. I hope we have enough volunteers that we can not only pull off the service, but that we can have a rotation of volunteers – so the same faithful volunteers aren’t having to serve every week.

Remember, if you’d like to attend one of our gatherings (indoor or out), you need to register either through our website here or through the Church Center App.

Connect with Us!
Text List: If you haven’t yet, please text Yeah Buddy to 618-266-3210 to get on our text list – this will allow us to connect with you quickly in case of urgency as well as send you weekly reminders and encouragements.

Prayer and Needs Request: If you have a prayer request,, we’d love to know! We have people eager to pray with and for you! Do you have a need request? You can let us know here!

Online Bulletin: I’d love for you to check out our bulletin each week. It has important announcements, links, and of course, the weekly sermon quotes. You can access it directly from the Church Center App or you can get it here.

Looking forward to Sunday
This week, we’ll be wrapping up our THRIVE sermon series looking at the final holy habit: devotion to the Apostles’ Teaching – or we call it today, the Word of God.

Sermon Title: Holy Habit: The Apostles’ Teaching
Text: Acts 2:42-47
Quotes:
Half our fears arise from neglect of the Bible. – C.H. Spurgeon

The Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him…. The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If we aspire in earnest to a genuine contemplation of God, we must go I say, to the Word. – Richard Baxter

The Scriptures were not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives. – D.L. Moody

Don’t believe everything you think. You cannot be trusted to tell yourself the truth. Stay in The Word. – Jerry Bridges

October 15

Hey fam,

Woohoo, we’re back to phase 4!

That means that we can have up to 50 people in our Sunday morning service – and will start offering multiple services if enough of you would like to return and join us for gathered worship. And, yes, we will continue to offer our outdoor gathering as well as long as weather allows (it’s been hugely popular!).

Please register to attend if you’d like to gather with us. We will only be offering a single service this week, but it will give us an idea of how many people we need to make space for. You can register here.

I have heard more than once that people who attended with us indoors were taken off guard by how much they missed the gathering and how emotionally powerful and meaningful it was. Let’s make the most of what we can do in this season, and if your comfort level allows you to gather with us, I would highly encourage you to do so!

We will continue to require masks indoors and social distance the chairs to create as safe an environment as possible for our gathering. We will also disinfect the the chairs, doors, counters, and restrooms between services when we go to two.

We’re six weeks away from the most contentious election in my lifetime, nine months into a pandemic, and everyone seems to be both exhausted and on edge.

This seems like a good time to remind you:

He is risen.
He is risen indeed.

The world may be a mess, but our Savior is just the Man to clean it up and set it right. Deep breath. It’s still his story and we’re still his children and he’s still in control.

Grace,
Steve

Pastor Appreciation
This last Sunday, I was genuinely surprised by Dan and Clint grabbing me at the end of the service to honor me. And the drive by “parade” was awesome – including the cards being launched out of the open windows as you went by! The whole thing was super encouraging (in fact, even as I type this, my offices is filled with the balloons that decorated the yard… which has been fun on Zoom calls this week).

So, thank you – to those who organized it, those who gave me cards and gifts, and those who have quietly just said prayers on my behalf. I am deeply honored to do what I do and am overwhelmingly grateful to God for the call to do it.

Be Sure to Access the Online Bulletin!
Don’t forget to access the online bulletin each week. It not only has my small collection of thought provoking quotes for the week – it also has important announcements as well as the charts that I am creating for the sermon slide show!

You can access it directly from the Church Center App or you can get it here.

Text Yeah Buddy to 618-266-3210
If you haven’t yet, please text Yeah Buddy to 618-266-3210 to get on our text list – this will allow us to connect with you quickly in case of urgency as well as send you weekly reminders and encouragements.

Register to Regather with us in (or outside) the Building
It has been such a joy to have people in the room with us. With our regional infections rates dropping again, I am hopeful that soon we’ll be able to have 50 people in the room. Until then, we’ll keep doing what we can. Remember, if you’d like to gather with us indoors or out, you can register here.

Prayer and Need Requests
Do you have a prayer request? We have people eager to pray with and for you! Do you have a need request? You can let us know here!

Looking forward to Sunday
This week, we’ll be taking up the second holy habit at the center of our chart – worship. What does it mean to be devoted to worship – especially now, in the middle of a pandemic?

Sermon Title: Holy Habit: The Breaking of the Bread
Text: Acts 2:42-47
Quotes:
Keep a Christian from entering the church sanctuary and you have not in the least bit hindered his worship. We carry our sanctuary with us. We never leave it. – A. W. Tozer

Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to the presence of God. – Eugene Peterson

My dear friend, when grief presses you to the dust, worship there! – Charles Spurgeon

We are shaped every day, whether we know it or not, by practices–rituals and liturgies that make us who we are…These habits and practices shape our loves, our desires, and ultimately who we are and what we worship. – Tish Harrison Warren

The communion table tells us that we have a God who invites his enemies to dinner. – Jonathan McIntosh

We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know Him in the breaking of bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore. Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship. – Dorothy Day

October 6

Hey fam,

So, we made it to October. I know many of you took my advice and stepped away from social media in September. I hope that was a time not only of stepping away (from cultural conflict and propaganda) but toward (God and the development of new liturgies!).

If you choose to re-engage social media, be sure to set healthy limits to guard your heart and mind – and be sure to keep developing those holy habits so you can stay centered on your purpose (love God and love others!) and your mission (drink deeply of grace and lead others to the fountain!).

I’d love to hear how your social media fast went. Did you struggle with it? Did you benefit from it? Did you act like a total nonconformist and fast from the fast? I’d really like to know – just email me back with your thoughts and stories!

I’m super excited to let you know that in the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out a plan to help you as individuals (and especially those of you with kids) to create more intentional, enjoyable, and meaningful daily holy habits. Brian has been working diligently developing a simple and fun plan that will help you be more intentional with the normal rhythms of your day.

More info to come.

In the meantime, remember:

He is risen.
He is risen indeed.

Grace,
Steve

Trailhead Town Hall This Sunday Night
Starting this Sunday night, the elders will start doing a bi-weekly town hall style meeting with our members and regular attenders to give updates, answer questions, and continue to build community. Just follow this link to join us! If you’d like to submit a question in advance for us to engage, email it to Aaron Newcom at anewcom@trailheadonline.org.

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Please email anewcom@trailheadonline.org for the meeting link and infomation.

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Be Sure to Access the Online Bulletin!
Don’t forget to access the online bulletin each week. It not only has my small collection of thought provoking quotes for the week – it also has important announcements as well as the charts that I am creating for the sermon slide show!

You can access it directly from the Church Center App or you can get it here.

Text Yeah Buddy to 618-266-3210
If you haven’t yet, please text Yeah Buddy to 618-266-3210 to get on our text list – this will allow us to connect with you quickly in case of urgency as well as send you weekly reminders and encouragements.

Register to Regather with us in (or outside) the Building
It has been such a joy to have people in the room with us. With our regional infections rates dropping again, I am hopeful that soon we’ll be able to have 50 people in the room. Until then, we’ll keep doing what we can. Remember, if you’d like to gather with us indoors or out, you can register here.

Prayer and Need Requests
Do you have a prayer request? We have people eager to pray with and for you! Do you have a need request? You can let us know here!

Looking forward to Sunday
This week, we’re drilling all the way down to the center of our diagram to start our study of the shared holy habits. This week, we’ll be looking at the vital power of prayer as we engage the daunting challenge of growing as disciples!

Sermon Title: Holy Habit: The Prayers
Text: Acts 2:42-47
Quotes:
Prayer is God‘s plan to supply man’s great and continuous need with God’s great and continuous abundance. – Edward M. Bounds

Jesus’ example teaches us that prayer is about relationship. When he prays, he is not performing a duty; he is getting close to his Father. – Paul E. Miller

The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays. – Soren Kierkegaard

Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief. It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den. – John Piper

The Struggle of Self-Centeredness
Leslie Weatherhead
Dear Lord, forgive me in that so much of my religion is concerned with myself. I want harmony with thee. I want peace of mind. I want health of body—and so I pray.
Forgive me, for I have made thee the means and myself the end.
I know it will take long to wean me from this terrible self-concern,
but O God, help me, for hell can be nothing else but a life on which self is the centre.