Just a quick report on what God did in recent weeks and yesterday at EBC! We owe many thanks to praying friends and family all over the country who were upholding us before the Lord as we prepared for our first Open House with the Emmanuel Baptist Church family.
If you’ve been following our story, you know that 6 weeks ago, God landed our family in Newington, CT where we began ministering to and with the Emmanuel Baptist Church family. A whirlwind summer culminated with a high-speed transition, and we literally “hit the ground running.” It’s been non-stop since August 19th.
To put it simply—the EBC family is amazing! We are so blessed and grateful that God gave us such a fantastic group of faith-filled people with whom to labor.
About a month ago, we determined to host an Open House Sunday on Sept 30th. Since that time, we’ve been studying “Behaving Like a Bride” on Sunday mornings and “Speak Up” on Sunday evenings. The morning series has focused on becoming a healthy, first-century church once again. The evening series has focused on learning how to be witnesses of Jesus. I’m thankful for the how the Emmanuel family has stepped up in passion to be a first century church and to make the ministry of the gospel center-stage in our ministry efforts. It’s been exciting to see their response.
In preparation for Open House we purchased colorful tracts, updated the church website, and began inviting anyone that would stand still long enough to receive an invitation. We also began praying much together as a church family, and going out door-to-door inviting the people of Newington to church. I was especially grateful for the dozens of families who personally took tracts and committed to distributing them in their own neighborhoods. The church family rose to the occasion of the sowing seed of God’s Word!
This past week we praised God for approximately fifty church members who came to the church to work on Saturday! We got so much done. We cleaned the entire campus, de-cluttered a lot of areas, re-installed pews, added a front row, removed platform furniture, set up greeting stations with coffee and cookies, and generally improved the entire campus. Later in the evening we set up a new projector and some visual aids for the morning. It was an amazing day of soul winning, prayer, and labor.
By Saturday evening, I couldn’t have been more thankful for the spirit and faith-filled obedience of our church family. Whatever the fruit, I knew the labor was pleasing and honoring to the Lord Jesus. The rest was up to God, for His glory.
In the early Summer, total EBC Sunday morning attendance was hovering between 200-220. By God’s grace and to His glory, He blessed the labor and faith of our church family yesterday by bringing 389 people to Emmanuel. It was amazing to see our lobby filled with guests having coffee, mingling with greeters, and generally being overwhelmed by the love of Christ.
The message was entitled “Relationship Not Religion.” And we rejoice that at least 19 people made a decision to trust Christ personally as Saviour (18 in the service, and 1 more during lunch.) It was overwhelming to see God do this miracle! We are discovering that New Englander’s hearts are not as closed and cold as some believe them to be. And the preaching of the cross is still the “power of God unto salvation!” After the service many people stopped to shake my hand, with tears in their eyes, explaining that they were thankful to finally understand what it truly meant to be saved! Wow! To God be the glory!
Afterwards, our guests enjoyed a hamburger and hot dog lunch hosted by our church family in the fellowship hall. Hundreds of folks gathered an enjoyed the Christ-centered fellowship.
And now the real work begins! God has entrusted us with a massive responsibility for follow-up and discipleship. Pray that we will be faithful in following the full commission—go, teach, baptize, and teach! The work ahead is great, but also exciting—and I’m especially grateful that the church family is fully engaged in the gospel-centered mission of making disciples just as the first century church!
Thank you for praying for us! God blessed the prayers and labor of His people in a marvelous way!