A few words on Appetite, our new sermon series in The Gathering.

First:  we love feedback!  It’s always encouraging to hear what has inspired you, what has challenged you, and what you’d like to push back on.  Thanks so much to all who have shared their thoughts on Sunday’s message.  You can listen to Sunday’s message here.

We advertised the Appetite series as being on “Food, Sex & The Things We Crave” as an introduction to our 12 Steps sermon series, which will start in February for Lent.  As such, we talked about and will continue to talk about the things that can master us (1 Corinthians 6:12), which will include things of a sexual nature.  This past Sunday we included a slide on the screen categorizing the things people give up the most during Lent from a Christianity Today study, including the category sex, pornography, and masturbation.

We believe church is not just a place where difficult things can be talked about, but one of the best places where difficult things can be talked about!  Our hope for this series will continue to be that, for the many things that can master us, we will find the real grace and present love of God even more, and we are excited about walking that road together over these next few weeks and months.

We also believe we could have done a better job letting you know what was coming, especially for our younger friends.  We want to be a place where we can help you have the conversations you need to have.  But we recognize, for some, those may not be conversations they are ready for.

So this is an excellent opportunity to share with you about Children’s Church.  Currently, Children’s Church is for kids through first grade, who come forward for the kids’ sermon in The Gathering and then are dismissed to their own learning time downstairs each week.  We have a great team of volunteers who work with our youngest children every week in helping them grow closer to God just as we hope to do in the service.

As we continue the Appetite series in two weeks on Sunday, January 25, there will be a new, second option provided for kids in second through fifth grade.  This new “Junior Church”, as we are calling it, will keep those older children together for their own time of growth and learning.  Your kids don’t have to leave the service – we’ll leave that up to you, the parents – but we did want to provide that option for you and your children.  For now Junior Church will be provided as needed during this sermon series, but we are excited about its possibilities and will continue to work to provide the best environment for your entire family.

We are so thankful for all who volunteer to serve with our children, and for our entire church family.  It is a privilege to be able to reach out in so many different ways.  May we continue to lift each other up in prayer as we prepare our hearts for the wilderness of Lent, and may our families continue to grow closer to God and closer to each other in all the ways the Spirit leads us.

Grace & Peace,

Will