A Little Good News

Keeping our churches together and spiritually nourished during the ongoing pandemic is a challenge for all of us, as pastors and team members in GCI.

Because we have a large and exclusive-use church facility 24/7 for our Woodbine, Georgia, congregation, we are able to keep it sanitized, and to space out our seating sufficiently, wear face coverings, take temperatures, and run an air purifier. This has enabled us to have in-person services for the past seven months, for those who wish to come. Thanks be to God, not one of our members has gotten the virus.

This is the inside of our church building’s sanctuary. You can see how well spaced out everything is, for our smaller crowd. The area behind the stage, under the cross, is a fully-functioning baptistry, which we recently had occasion to use!

Even with the advantages we have in this church area, it is hard to minister to everyone as well as we would like, and as a result we know that, for some, there may be a decline in spiritual interest and motivation. We have a big job ahead of us when this is all over, to retrieve those sheep who may have wandered, and to build back up the Body of Christ, as we work alongside Jesus.

Good things still happen, though, as we have seen in Grace Communion Woodbine in January 2021. We were blessed to have two baptisms and one ordination of a church elder!

We give thanks and praise to God for the baptisms of new members, Jesse & Tabitha Hester. Tabitha grew up in a GCI church family, and early last year decided to begin attending regularly with her husband, and their four children.

Tabitha in front of the baptistry behind the stage at our church building, where she and her husband were baptized.

Our GCI church has been a blessing to them in their spiritual growth, and they have been a blessing to us as well. Tabitha has a professional quality singing voice, and she has become one of our regular worship leaders for the congregation. And it is especially nice to have their elementary-aged children involved in our youth Sunday School class.

Since our Woodbine church’s renewal and re-launch back in December 2019, our congregation has grown from a fellowship group with an average attendance of about a dozen people for most of 2019, to an actual GCI church with an average attendance of 30, up until the pandemic.

Understandably, our attendance is down about 50% due to the absence of those members who cannot risk returning to in-person worship services for age and health considerations.

Nonetheless, we anticipate continued growth in the near future, and feel that we have been led by the Holy Spirit to appoint an additional church elder to meet the current and expected needs of the congregation.

Calvin Mitchell and his wife Jennie (center), just after the ordination, along with pastor Marty Davey (left), and associate pastor Dan Krupp (right).

Thus, we were able to receive approval from the GCI Home Office and our RD to ordain long-time member, Calvin Mitchell as a minister of Jesus, and assistant pastor in the congregation.

The ordination itself, taking place outdoors for safety reasons, so that those who wished to join the ministers in the laying on of hands could do so.

Things are getting better. And things will get better for all of us soon, I’m sure. May we as pastors, pastoral team leaders and other servants in the congregation, keep looking up and take courage in these words from one of our recent RCL scripture readings:

“Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:5-6, HCSB)

 

Marty Davey, Pastor
Grace Communion Woodbine

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “A Little Good News”

  1. We pray for God’s blessings on Calvin and Jennie in their expanded ministry to the Lord and his children.

  2. Praise God for His work in all our churches, despite the incredible challenges this Pandemic brings! We are blessed in gci Eugene congregation with a professional videographer and a sanctuary turned into a recording studio to “live stream” our Sunday services! Our Loving Triune God has blessed us to reach many more people with Jesus’s Gospel! Through Facebook and YouTube…

  3. Praise God for blessings you are experiencing and encouraging words for those of us unable to meet in person now.

  4. Marty, way to keep on keeping on–pandemic or not. Praise God for your devotion to the ministry to which God has called you.

  5. Wow! What an incredibly encouraging story! Our small fellowship group would love to know how they were able to buy and maintain their own building, and how they transitioned from fellowship to congregation. I thank God with them that He made this possible, but I would also like to know the stages this group went through to get to this point.

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