Pastor Josh Update
One of our prayers for several years now has been that God would provide more opportunities for us to engage youth in a more meaningful way. Occasionally, we would have a family with teenagers attend our church for a few months only to leave because they desired more for the youth. This happened about four or five times. We noted that if we just had several families with youth attend at the same time, instead of separately, we'd be able to get something going!
Thankfully, it seems as though that time may be upon us. As you can see pictured above, we had our first ever youth activity--a youth cookout and bonfire hosted by our church members Steve & Rhonda. In addition to three adults who have indicated an interest in ministering to youth, we had four families attend this cookout (a total of 18 people). In addition, there is another family with youth who's been attending lately but who wasn't able to make it due to being on vacation. So that makes five families of regular attenders who seem interested in getting their youth together for activities. The opportunity for meaningful youth ministry certainly seems to be upon us! Please pray that we would be able to make an impact in this area.
In addition, we had 12 people in our most recent membership class. The class consists of attending four teaching sessions and reading a 70-page membership handbook. All 12 class participants have indicated an interest in moving forward with membership, 5 of them planning to join by baptism. In addition, we've been having so many newcomers lately that another membership class will likely be necessary soon. Our attendance has increased by approximately 25% in the past 6 months, and the increase has come almost entirely from people who are completely new to our church (rather than those returning from a COVID-related absence). We praise God for this wonderful season of blessing!
One (good) challenge this has brought is that we are feeling very stretched with our ability to minister to those God has brought our way. One of our elders moved to California last year, and another elder is considering how he will respond to an unexpected invitation from a church in Michigan (his hometown) to be their full-time pastor. That would only leave two elders at our church. Please pray that God would provide the leadership necessary to lead our flock. At least two other men have come in recently who seem to be qualified to serve in this way, but we'd like to spend longer getting to know them before making any hasty decisions. Please pray for God's wisdom.
Also, please pray for Janet as she actively moves toward starting an Evangelistic Bible Study at her house. Several non-Christian neighbors have already expressed interest in attending, and they are working out the logistics. In addition, Becky and I continue to follow up with those who attended the Evangelistic Bible Study at our house a month or two ago. In fact, we are going on a playdate with one of those women (and her husband/children) in a few days at a local playground. This woman is named Samantha and is the events manager at the hotel we rent on Sundays. We are just thrilled at how God seems to be blessing that relationship (this will be our second time getting together with them). Please pray that God would continue to open doors for the gospel and draw people to himself.
Finally, please pray for a challenge we have with meeting space. The building renovations are taking longer than expected, and the hotel has told us that, due to more events as well as staffing issues, we will need to use an alternate (smaller) meeting room every Sunday beginning in September. Last year, this would not have been an issue, but with our increased attendance, it is. We are currently exploring creative solutions, but the most likely scenario at this point is that we will need to begin having two worship services. This is not something we desire to do permanently if we can help it, but we may need to do it for several months until we can meet in our own building.
As always, we can't thank you enough for your prayers! They mean the world to us, and we have no doubt that the fruitful season of ministry we are currently enjoying is a product of the faithful army of prayer warriors who are standing behind our ministry.
Josh & Becky Tancordo