No More Saber-Tooth?!?!
It wasn’t until Monday morning that I realized how big a day last Sunday was for our church. Two Sundays ago, on August 16, we commissioned our first church plant and had a spectacular celebratory picnic, highlighted by a dunk tank, bounce house, ice cream truck, and some amazing BBQ prepared with huge amounts of love by staff member Garrett Lathan. There is no question that was a big day. But the following Sunday, August 23, was just as important, if not more so, in the life and history of All Saints… even if we didn’t know it.
Last Sunday marked not only the launch of the fall ministry schedule and a new sermon series on 1st Corinthians, but the beginning of our 11thand final school year worshipping at St. Gabriel’s. We’ve been there 10 years but this one will be the last in our beloved “gymanctuary”! Next fall we won’t have a saber-toothed tiger painted on the floor before the communion table or climbing ropes hanging behind the pulpit. That means that every Sunday from now until we move into our new church facility this spring (scheduled for April) will be the last of its kind at what’s been our home for over a decade.
Beyond marking what’s ending, this past Sunday also marked what’s beginning at All Saints. Both adult spiritual formation classes offered at the 9:30 hour this fall both represent significant developments in the life of our church:
- Life Together: If you’ve ever wondered: “How can I seek to daily grow and mature in my faith and discipleship to Christ?”, this class is aimed at giving All Saints’ answer. Pastors Josh Eby and Greg Grooms, along with Kim Hall, All Saints’ Director of Women’s Ministry, are team-teaching a class on Ten Spiritual Formation Practices. That may not sound significant to you, but I assure you, it is. When I became Senior Pastor at All Saints over 3 years ago, I established worship, spiritual formation, and service as the three essential means by which we would seek “to live as the Body of Christ in Austin for the world” (our mission statement). But until now we haven’t clearly defined what Spiritual Formation is and how it happens. That is what this class is all about – as a church we are adopting ten practices by which we will individually and collectively “work out our own salvation” (Phil. 2:12) that God the Father might “conform us to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). Come and learn what the practices of spiritual direction, fasting, hospitality, and others are and how we hope the ten we’ve chosen will be woven into our spiritual life.
- Christians in the Digital Age (for youth and parents): Over the past few years, All Saints’ youth ministry has grown exponentially. Just this Sunday, All Saints’ Youth Pastor, Josh Keller, had over 50 in attendance at Shepherd of the Hills Church for dinner, Bible study, and dodge-ball. With all these kids, we now also have lots of parents wondering how to lead their children through the complex world of social media and technology. My wife, Elissa, and I are two of those parents; which is why she and our oldest son are attending Josh’s class on this topic. Join Josh and Regents teacher, Dave Sikkema, who had a full house of parents and youth this past Sunday, as they discuss the redeeming and corrupting power of technology in our lives and how to handle it as Christians.
These two classes, along with everything else that is launching right now in the life of our church (Women’s Bible study, Small Groups, Children’s Sunday School, Service events, and more), truly excite me about our future together as a church. I hope and pray that you and your neighbors will join us for our final fall at St. Gabriel’s, looking forward to our new church home and all that the Lord will do in and through us for his honor and glory over the years to come.