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Immanuel, I have an important announcement I want to share with you, but before I do I want to remind you of a glorious, invigorating, and soul stabilizing truth. Jesus is right now, actively and aggressively building his Church. He said, “I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” In the midst of these chaotic days that seem so out of control, God is in control and He is working all ‘the chaos’ together for the good of His Church and His glory. And, even in the midst of the mundane of these days he is building his people too. He is raising children, building marriages, strengthening singles, saving sinners, giving spiritual gifts, sustaining the suffering, sending out Church Planters and advancing his Kingdom in a million other ways we cannot even imagine.
Because of this fact, your Elders have been planning for the future. Long before this pandemic started and long before our national unrest was convulsing, by God’s grace, we were thinking and planning for the future. And the plan I want lay out for you in this video, is not a response to recent events. It is a decision that comes after about nine months of thought, prayer, debate, and careful planning. The plan is this. As a next step towards Building a Community From All Cultures Where Christ Is King your Pastors want to move Immanuel to one service, to promote deeper relationships, broader Christian education, greater local Church planting, and a shorter Sunday morning. Let me say that one more time, As a next step towards Building a Community From All Cultures Where Christ Is King we want to move Immanuel to one service, to promote deeper relationships, broader Christian education, greater local Church planting, and a shorter Sunday morning.
I want to explain what that will look like, but before I do, I need to make one thing crystal clear. This announcement is about where we are going as a Church. It is, Lord willing, about our future. We are not saying we will be at one service next Sunday, or any Sunday soon. Of course not, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, we are seeking to follow our governing authorities. Right now so many things are up in the air and we would not want to even try to meet in one service. Things are up in the air right now, and this announcement is about what we hope to do once we land. For the foreseeable future we will be meeting in multiple services, we will be making adjustments as government regulations change and as the pandemic plays out. But we want you to know where we are going, and we hope you will join us in prayer at the exciting prospect of moving to one service, promoting deeper relationships, broadening Christian education, increasing our local Church planting, all within a shorter Sunday morning. Now let me explain where we are headed.
First, let me give you the Sunday morning details. Sunday mornings at Immanuel will start with a Sunday School hour at 9AM. During that Sunday School hour we will continue to serve Immanuel Kids 0-5th grade (that’s the green hall and the blue hall). We will also gather our Immanuel Youth (6th grade to 12th grade) during the Sunday School hour. And on top that we will introduce Immanuel Adults, an hour of Christian Discipleship Classes and prayer rooms. So from 9-9:55 there will be a wonderful opportunity for members of all ages to “be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” Then, after a 20 minute break, at 10:15 from 10:15-11:45 (that is an hour and a half, just the same as our current services) we will have our whole congregation gather to worship and Immanuel Kids Child Care will be provided kids 0-PreK. That’s Sunday morning! Honestly, I can’t wait!
Why do we want to do this? Well first, we want to promote deeper relationships. God exalting relationships are a major part of what builds the Church, that is why Paul said in Romans 1:11-12, “I want very much to see you, so that I may impart some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is, to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” Mutual encouragement among all of God’s people. That is what we are after. Now, we know that if we all meet in one service, we won't all be best friends, and there will still be people that feel lonely. This is no cure all. But instead of having the opportunity to see and connect with half the saints you’d see all of them. Instead of just two or three Elders seeing all the people, we would all be available to all the people. Honestly, I can’t wait. But more than that, what gets me excited is the opportunity for hospitality. We’ve talked about the importance of hospitality before, and Immanuel shows alot of it, but after a 3.5 hour Sunday (4.5 almost, for some after drive time) it’s hard to have people over! We hope that after a Sunday morning that ends, well in the morning, that lunches and dinners with the saints of Immanuel would flourish and that they would bear a lot of spiritual fruit.
Second, we want to broaden our Christian Education. God has blessed us with a wonderful IK director in Rebecca Cedillo, and a deep and rich IK program to help in discipling our kids. He has blessed us with an army of teachers and servants for our IY and recently he brought Cody Farthing onto our staff to lead those efforts. But, many of have you have hungered for more Adult Discipleship, and while Adult Discipleship is not limited to Sunday Morning classes. We believe we can really advance our Adult discipleships through classes that cover everything from the gospel to dating, from theology to marriage, from Church history to singleness, and so much more. We believe these classes will be another garden where community can grow, and another venue where discipleship can happen and we are super happy he has brought Pastor Jonny onto our team to lead those efforts. If you are someone who is thinking, I just want to keep going to a prayer rooms, no problem we will keep having prayer rooms. And if you are someone who is like, I want both, every Adult Education class will spend a significant amount of time in our prayer guide.
Third, we want all of this to fuel greater Church Planting. What if we grow, what if our efforts to train our kids, our youth, our adults all result in not only in the spiritual growth of God’s people, but in numerical growth from new converts? What if all of our efforts to build community result in Jesus drawing more people to himself? Will we have to go back to one service. That is not the plan. We want to channel our growth into new local Church plants. God has given us great grace in planting Churches across this nation and across the world. Immanuel has sent out planters from Mozambique to Boulder, Colorado. But we want to plant in the city we love. To that end we plan to launch Commission Church under Pastor Jay Ingram in 2021, and we hope to plant another Church in the Louisville area by 2025. Along with our pursuit of healthy Churches all over America and the world, we want to face the fact that every Sunday over 1million people in Louisville don’t go to Church, so we want to play our part in filling Louisville with Churches that will lead them to heaven
So that’s the plan! One service with our eye on deeper relationships, broader Christian education, local Church Planting and a shorter Sunday morning. So, what can you do? Well the first thing you can do is pray. Pray that God would bless these efforts and the end result would be a stronger healthier more faithful Immanuel and a Louisville with more and more people headed to heaven, more and more people building healthier churches. We’ve been praying, and now we want to ask you to join us, all is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down, so let’s pray for Him to bless these efforts. Second, volunteer. Linked to this announcement you will find links that will help you get connected to volunteer opportunities. I know some of you will want to explore new opportunities, others are already maxed out. No matter where you are, I want to encourage everyone who is able, I mean everyone who is qualified and able to volunteer to serve our children during the service. You may apply or you may be contacted to serve with security, youth, Adult education, or something else, but I want to ask everyone who is qualified and able to serve our children and families during the Worship service. Why? One service means that some people miss the service so that young children can be cared for, and others can attend! The more people volunteer to care for others, the less everyone misses a service. So I hope that everyone who is able and qualified to serve will serve in IK during the worship service. Third, listen and ask. In the coming weeks and months we will be talking more about everything I have just briefly mentioned. We will be filling out what we mean by Adult Education, we will be talking about Commission Church, we will be recruiting and training volunteers. Please, listen to those future announcements so you can be as informed as possible about these changes, you can also listen by reading the FAQ that is linked to this announcement. There is lots of helpful information there that will help us all know and understand the direction we are going. And, if you need more information or have any questions, as always our Pastors are more than willing to speak to you and answer any questions.
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