A long and fast 6 months:
On one hand, it’s hard to believe that it’s only been 6 months since I came on staff, and on the other hand the 6 months have come and gone in nothing more than they blink of an eye!
What I can say for sure, is that it has been the best, most powerful, and most purposeful 6 months of our lives.
We Love this new life (and ministry is absolutely a complete life style – 24/7) and thank God every day for placing us in this role!
NONE of this would be possible without the tireless work of all you - the volunteers, the helpers, the supporters, the strong shoulders, and the prayer warriors... we are all in this together!
In my opinion, the numbers game is a very dangerous one. I truly believe that whoever God places in front of us is who we are supposed to minister to, and there will be seasons of retraction and expansion regardless of who is doing what sometimes – that said, God has truly done amazing, amazing things during this time that you can’t help but stand in awe of:
- The pre-AWANA Wed night attendance from birth through high school was running 13 kids. It is now running between 55 and up to 90 plus a group that averages 15 people meeting at our house for 2 hours on Wednesdays before we ever even come to the building (for “Dinner & Devo @ the Dodd’s). Just as wonderful is the fact that we went from 3 adult workers on wed nights to almost 10 times that many – all loving it and getting as much fulfillment out of it as the children they are working with.
- The Youth Group Sunday school class was averaging 3 kids on Sunday mornings and now runs 15-25 every Sunday. I am asked nearly every Sunday “Where are all these kids coming from!?” The beautiful answer is that most all of them are ours. Most of the kids families are, and have been, members here at Highland View, they just simply hadn’t been attending our services. God has stirred in them a burning desire to come and be a part of our group, and from there, they are bringing their friends and growing even more.
- Our youth group trips have set record numbers as well, big and small trips (17 to UPLift for a week and 25 to our KY Splash trip last week).
- VBS last year consisted of 11 kids. This year, not only did we have more adult volunteers than we’ve had in years, we have also had 46 unique kids attend VBS this week!
- Church in the park, our family nights at the building, and our 2011 Family Retreat have all been far and away the most highly attended in years and you can tangibly feel the excitement and the bonds growing amongst our families (of all ages!)
- And though I don’t wish to pull a David counting ‘his’ kingdom, we all know of breathtaking number of baptisms that God has blessed Highland View with as well!
Erin and I have found ourselves more deeply involved in family ministry than even we could have ever imagined. God has literally dropped people in my lap everywhere we go and then opens a conversation that allows Him to bring them to Highland View (from a waitress at a local Mexican restaurant to a cashier at Home Depot). Additionally, God is using a huge percentage of our time in family and marriage counseling for the body here at Highland View.
The opportunity to preach is always appreciated and the congregational response is simply overwhelming. We have many things in the works for the future (full calendar, Chicago next week, tweaking to AWANA, even more family events, family movie nights, new teen activities, mission trip for next summer, Christian sports camp in conjunction with other coaches and schools, etc. etc. etc.)
We feel so blessed by what God is doing around us and allowing us to play a small part in His plan.
We feel so blessed to be a part of this body, to be surrounded by this family, and to be shepherded by this eldership. We truly feel free to live ministry here – and that we are free to bless and serve as God intends and are unbelievably thankful for the support all of you show us in all of our endeavors.
Thank you all,
-Levi, Erin, and Emily