Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. (John 7:38, NIV)
Good morning, everyone! We pray that you would be filled, comforted and challenged by the presence of Jesus this morning, this week and this month.
As we venture deeper into a new season of church family, let us always remember that Christ is our true and lasting foundation!
Now, for some updates …
Special Guest (Sunday, Nov. 14, 5:30 p.m.): Matt Hundley, area leader for Vineyard Midwest South, will be joining us for our Sunday evening service along with a prayer ministry team. Come desiring/expecting Jesus to encourage you!
Kingdom Life Class (Tuesday, Nov. 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m.): Wanna learn how to pray for others? Join us for this opportunity to grow in ways that help build the body of Christ and make an impact in our community.
Notes from Leaders
Pastor David Welker: TRVC has joined a new region in the Vineyard Movement! We're excited to build relationships with a host of new churches in the Vineyard Midwest South Region. Over time we'll have the opportunity to participate in special events, marriage conferences, worship events, children's summer camps and a lot more. To learn about our new region, click here.
Shannon Welker (children’s/welcome): Advent season will be here before you know it. This year, we’ll be having a giving tree at the church — a Christmas tree with tags that list a gift needed for the Seeds of Hope camp. All gifts will be taken to camp and used as needed for the children. You’ll all be welcome to take a tag or two to participate in this Christmas outreach.
Krista Brandt (youth): Youth group game night will be on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 6:30 p.m.! Of course there will be snacks. We're using Vineyard youth curriculum this year, and we just wrapped up a four-week "Identity" series. Next, we'll be diving into a character study from 1 & 2 Samuel and Kings.
Leadership Update: Small Groups!
We're excited to announce that Brittany Wojtowicz has begun serving in a Small Group Support role. In addition to helping out with Small Group Leader's Training, Brittany will work with small group leaders as a support person, helping to navigate topics, discussions and group dynamics. Here’s an important message from Brittany:
Hey TRVC family! I’m super excited to be stepping into coordinating small groups for our community here. In the past at TRVC, small groups have functioned as an extension of our larger weekly gathering times, allowing for more space to create friendships, accountability, and spiritual growth. There’s no doubt that COVID has had major impacts on our ability to do this well. As we shift into whatever this new normal is going to look like, I’m excited to see what this means for our small group communities at TRVC.
This month I’d like to share my top three favorite things about small groups:
Emphasis on small. As an introvert, I often find it hard to connect in large community settings. I value depth in my relationships, and the times spent before and after church don’t often give me the space to do this. (I’m also usually chasing my children off of the stage but that’s probably for another time). I find it much easier to build real relationship in a smaller, more intentional setting where I can show up as my authentic self and be challenged to grow spiritually.
For my day job, I am a social worker and have spent the last 10 years working for CADA (an agency that works with victims of domestic and sexual violence). From my work, I have become convinced that we contribute to a more just and compassionate world when we can build community with one another — and maybe even be in disagreement with each other — but know that we are seen and loved for who we are anyway.
When we can show up as our authentic selves in a small community, we feel connected to the larger TRVC community, and I believe that the Holy Spirit uses connections to diverse, real life communities to change hearts and bring people to Him.
I am looking for people that might be interested in hosting a small group. It could be a learning community that meets to learn about different topics or ideas. Or maybe you’re interested in a “do life together” community and spend intentional time in relationship with others without a defined agenda. Or even a common interest group — like ukuleles (who knew?). Not sure you're a good fit? Not sure you have the time? I'd love to connect and learn more about what you're thinking and how I can support you in building community at our church. I can be reached at email@example.com. Let's chat!
Building a Healthy Church: A Message from Pastor David
This past year, the Christian church has faced many challenges. Differences (often things that the apostle Paul would call disputable matters) that lived beneath the surface became magnified. Sadly, too often, the church didn't handle these tensions well. In Matthew 18, Jesus details what a healthy (yet imperfect) body looks like. I'd like to specify some of those key points. In doing so, we're going to work our way backwards through a few of these verses.
"And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there." (Matthew 18:20, The Message)
God's relationships with us and our relationships with others are interconnected. It's no wonder that the Bible places a lot of emphasis on how we treat each other. This is underscored in 1 John 4, which says we cannot say that we love God while maintaining hatred in our heart for others. At the same time, it blesses God when we live in harmony with each other.
"When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action." (Matthew 18:19, The Message)
Some have taken this verse out of context to mean that there is a formula to get God to do whatever you want. "Get together" (other translations use the word "agree") means that we become like-minded with God. That God's desires become our desires. That as we're made more into the image of Jesus (by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives), we grow in having the mind of Christ (Romans 12:2). What we also find in this verse is that others play a role in the shaping and renewing of our hearts and minds! A man once asked me to pray for him. He had been experiencing marriage problems for a long time, things had gotten dull and he and his wife were basically living separate lives. At the same time, he’d developed an intimate relationship with a woman that worked at a coffee house that he frequented. He was sure that God had placed the other woman in his life and was looking for a green light to end his marriage and further what he had going on with the other woman. I don't know if he took my counsel (I don't recall seeing him after that), but we need people that we trust in our lives to sustain a healthy life of "agreement" with God.
"If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him — work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you've made a friend." (Matthew 18:15, The Message)
Jesus knew that we would have times of disagreement. He not only gives us instructions on how to resolve conflict, but mentions the benefit of working things out in a way that honors each other. So many hurts happen in church from people not applying Matthew 18:15 to conflict resolution, and we react out of hurt and pain. For some of us, we respond in the unhealthy ways that we've learned growing up. It's true that when we live in a way that suppresses trauma, it comes out ugly in other (often unrelated) situations. We too often would rather have the empathy of others than seek life-giving reconciliation. We're quick to tell others how we've been offended, but slow to have a conversation with the person that offended us. It's always the right course of action to first go to the other person. The Bible never makes room for detailing our offense with others first. Even when we bring others into it (still dealing directly with the person who has offended us), it's always with the hope and intention of reconciliation.
That's what healthy looks like.
Giving and Sharing
One of the ways we worship God is through our tithes and offerings. Consider giving back to TRVC with a donation.
Also, did you know that we're getting noticed online? Reviews mean a lot when people are looking for a church. Have you considered letting others know what you love about TRVC by leaving a review on Google or Facebook?
Have something to share in the next newsletter? Or just a general question or comment? Feel free to contact Cody Benjamin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Pastor David Welker (email@example.com). Find us on social media: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram.