[I'm not with child. Sorry if you thought that's what this was all about! Ha!] Growing a family is an exciting thing, I'm sure. However, at this time Calvin and I are experiencing and witnessing growth in a lot of other different yet exciting ways. So let's get you all up to speed on all that's happening because it's too good not to share …and there’s pictures!
The Chuck Davenport.
This January, Chuck Davenport moved in with us to be all things Youth & Missions Leader/Coordinator/Person. Chuck has quickly engulfed himself into our family/household routines and church family. He has wasted no time in being transparent, sharing in community and being discipled as well as discipling others. We are so proud of him and how he's allowing God to use him to lead our youth (whom have grown a TON) and our church family in mission opportunities (both local missions and international). Our church recently went to Panama for a mission trip which he also attended and was a great asset to our team. He is also playing the role of Theodore's 'big human brother' and wrestles with him quite often, takes him on walks, and takes good care of him in our absence. Theo loves him, of this I'm sure. Chuck is wonderful addition to the Christ’s Mercy family and the Williams household.
Once a month Christ’s Mercy has a Ladies Night Out. This past month we gathered to paint flower pots, enjoy a summer themed dinner and of course, talked and talked and talked. ;) We laughed, we painted and we shared. Other times we go bowl, antique shop, eat sushi or stay in and have movie nights, play games, practice our wreathe making skills and enjoy a pot-luck dinner. I always get that nervous ‘will anyone even come’ feeling prior to each ladies event, yet am overwhelmed afterwards with such joy and gratitude because there’s nothing like unifying women, giving them the space and time to open up and most importantly - inviting them to be themselves and to love love love them. Whether that be 4 ladies or 40.
The Manly Men.
One night, as Calvin and I were leaving worship practice, we noticed two men of our church sitting at the table in our conference room. With Bibles open, discipleship packets spread out across the table and a pen at hand, we caught them jotting down notes. Calvin then voiced to me as we headed to our car, “Man, there’s nothing more incredible than seeing two grown men sitting together with their Bibles open and learning.” I completely agree. The men of Christ Mercy Church aren’t perfect, but their lives are changing and it is evident to us all AND incredible to get to witness it. They are all quick to offer their help in any way possible, serve one another without hesitation or any stranger for that matter.
The Worship Team.
I love to worship. So cliche of a Christian to say this, I know. But as Christians, we all should. Right? Okay, but seriously, I’m VERY passionate about corporate worship. When Calvin and I first arrived at Christ’s Mercy we both led our members in worship prior to Calvin preaching. We then began seeking a worship leader to come join us. Shortly after, the church leaders (the 3 families that were there prior to us arriving) asked me to step into the role of 'worship leader' and before I knew it, it was just me, a guitar and a mic. Fast forward a year + a few months later and now we have an entire team! Calvin plays guitar, as do I occasionally. We both also lead in vocals. We have a cajon player, a congos player and a faithful, very hard working sound guy - and as all you other worship leaders/team members know, the sound guy is essential! Snaps to all 'sound guys' everywhere. *snaps*
The House Churches.
We continue to gather in homes for dinner, discussion of the Bible and prayer. And with that we continue to see transformation happening. Guests that visit Christ's Mercy and hear about House Churches soon express interest in attending, so with that said, we will soon be launching our 3rd House Church! Many who already attend often voice that participating in a weekly House Church has played a vital role in the new growth they are experiencing spiritually. The challenge to be open, vulnerable, held accountable and surrounded by others that love you has given many hope, joy and victory over sin. We've shared the good, the bad and the ugly. We've laughed until our stuffed bellies ache and we've cried and prayed to the Father in unison. We've sang songs, we've played games; we all come as we are and live in unity, despite our differences. Francis Chan once said in his book, Crazy Love:
"The church is intended to be a beautiful place of community. A place where wealth is shared and when one suffers, everyone suffers."
Well said, Francis, well said.
To sum, within the past 20 months we've seen... 50+ in attendance - 20 public testimonies (The 21st happening this Sunday!) - 2 baptisms (The 3rd ALSO happening THIS Sunday! #PRAISE) - 16 discipleship relationships - 2 House Churches (The 3rd kicking off within 30 days!).
P R A I S E G O D!
I wrote the following thoughts down some time last week and I think it's a good close in light of all the growth I've shared in this blog post.
How incredible to have the privilege to witness growth.
...in every single way...
Whether it is a newborn growing taller and stronger or noticing an increase in endurance and strength after committing to being more physically fit.
Or maybe it’s the first bloom of a garden one has toiled with and worked for countless hours.
My personal favorite is the privilege to witness spiritual growth. I have no words to describe what it feels like to watch others mature in their faith and then also begin to equip another to do the same.
My God, you are gracious. Thank you for growth. It’s a beautiful thing to witness, not only in ourselves, but also in those around us. So my friend, I encourage you to never stop growing… in every single way.