Thursday, January 31, 2008

I’m finally prepared to make our big announcement. Southside Christian Fellowship is changing…sorta. We are moving into a grand location in Wadsworth…which will necessitate a name change. Yeah…big stuff.

Late last year on behalf of our elders, I approached our mother church, Ridgewood Baptist church and asked them if they would prayerfully consider a more direct and intentional partnership with our budding church plant. For about a year or so we were sensing that perhaps God was moving us out of the “south end” of Wadsworth and into a more general location in Wadsworth. There are many reasons why we thought this might be the direction of the Lords leading.

The first was that since early 2003 our fellowship has invested thousands and thousands of dollars into evangelism, outreach, benevolence and advertising which brought much attention, new converts, rededications and church growth in general. What always amazed us was the fact that no more than about a third of our growing family was living in “the south end”. This was despite the fact that our Sunday gatherings were obviously located in the south end of Wadsworth and every single community event we hosted was in the south end. Additionally we ran a free café in the south end for a bit longer than our first year in Wadsworth and we canvassed that area repeatedly over these first few years with flyers, servant evangelism projects, prayer walking and even Christmas Caroling each year! Our church family has grown and grown since the original “7” began meeting for prayer, worship, devotion, fellowship and study…but the folks kept coming from all over Wadsworth each phase of the way. So we decided to go ahead and approach Ridgewood with the idea of allowing us to gather for worship in their sanctuary on Sunday evenings. They have an absolutely beautiful church house in what has become a prime location in Wadsworth. The idea was not simply about allowing us in their buidlings on Sunday’s…but to partner together in mid-week activities and to work together in community evangelism, outreach, benevolence and advertising. Our two congregations are distinct and between the two the vast majority of the community of Wadsworth is well represented. Ridgewood has the tremendous location, wisdom from decades of Christ exulting ministry and fine reputation in Wadsworth. Southside has the catalysis, energy, creativity and zeal common in young church plants. We believed that a more intentional partnership could generate a powerful synergism in the efforts of both congregations in propagating the gospel of Christ.

So I approached Ridgewood with the idea. Their wonderful, wise and handsome interim pastor, Charles Whitlock, thought the idea was not disastrous or ill-starred and actually thought it worth the prayerful consideration of the church. After much prayer and many meetings with both the church council and deacon body of Ridgewood…the idea was presented before the congregation. I had suggested that it be presented before the congregation as a “1 year trial” just to make sure that neither congregation felt obligated to a long term commitment before truly understanding how the partnership would work and feel. And on the 20th of this month the motion carried!

Our end of the deal will include the purchase and installation of discreet video recording equipment for the use of both congregations in the producing of high quality programming for our local TV public access station…and YouTube! We are also going to work together with RBC in the planning of various outreach and promotional activities in Wadsworth. Plus…we have some young and strong men who would be happy to volunteer their time doing some of the most important work of the church such as mowing and other maintenance related ministries…under the humble and faithful leadership of Ridgewood’s grounds and maintenance man, brother Dick. We believe that this partnership is a great...and maybe for both congregations and will, by grace, see much fruit harvested in both church families! In my opinion...I can't think of a better way to meet the primary needs of both congregations than this partnership. It's like pork-n-beans and hot-dogs!

We have a new home! Our first “official” gathering for worship will be Sunday night, February 10th! Below is a satellite shot of the church house, a picture of our new logo (and name) and then a snap shot from the front page of the new website that is being designed which will accompany the launch of this new chapter of our church family!

Keep us in prayer!


Community Gospel Church said...

Congratulations! What a wonderful opportunity for the body of Christ to function as it has always intended.

I'm excited for you and your church. Blessings!

irreverend fox said...

thank you my tongue talkin, holy roller, brother in Christ! lol!

hey...still waiting on that call my friend...