Many people are not involved in a Christian community for a multitude of reasons (including lack of belief, tired of hypocritical Christians, have been hurt by a church or a pastor, and so on). This is no different in our little city of Marion, Ohio than it is any place else. I wish I had some kind of magic answer to share with people to show the difference a real Christian community can make in your life but I don’t. I had to find it myself while working through my own issues with my church experiences. I understand the frustration, pain, and challenges many people in this boat feel. However, when I saw the life of the Jesus Christ of the Scriptures, I was convinced there was something more than what I had experienced in my church past. Once I found it, it was worth going through all the beauty and challenges of a real community committed to being real with one another. It is out there. It may be hard to find sometimes but it is out there and worth finding.
In my case, I found it in The Shepherd’s Fellowship, a church several of us started about 5 years ago. Maybe it can be a community for you as well (if not, touch base with us and we’ll help you find another home in the area). I do know it can be tough to try something new so I thought I’d let you know about some upcoming events and some things we are celebrating that may be of interest to you. In the same way, if you have a question or want to talk some, feel free to contact me by going to our church website and go through the staff page.
Rice Bowls – January was our month for “Rice Bowls”, a time of collecting change to give to orphanages in India, Haiti, and South Africa. On the last Sunday of the month, we busted open the Rice Bowls from each family and poured them into a giant kitchen pan! After some help from our bank, the coins and bills were counted and exactly $250 was raised! We have a couple late turn ins as well that we will add to that and send it to, as our daughter understands it, the babies without mommies and daddies. Thank you for everyone’s help!
Food Pantry – Add a new twist to your Valentine’s Day by serving people who need some help! Once a month, we help with a Food Pantry in Kirkpatrick, Ohio and can always use your help. We meet in Marion at 8:30am and convoy the 10 minutes to the Food Pantry. We pack boxes with food as a team and get them into the hands of people from our community. We are always done by about 11:30am or so which will give you plenty of time for any other Valentine plans. If you can’t make it out this Saturday, then still touch base with us. We do this once a month all year long! For more details, contact Jenni Hypes, also through the staff page at our web-site.
We also have another Food Pantry we are currently talking to in Marion that we would love to start helping. We are in the starts of creating a team of people to help them so that might be of interest too. Just let me know!
Valentine’s Dinner – This Sunday, 2/15/09 at 5pm, our church will be having a Spaghetti Valentine’s Dinner at our church. This is a free dinner and all donations and tips for our servers will be going to our Youth Group which has been exploding here of late! After dinner, we will enjoy a short reading and then live music from Keith and Jessica Howard. You can hear a sample of their music on my My Space page. Child care will be provided for this event. If you plan on coming, please RSVP as soon as possible by contact Tom Hypes (yet again) on the staff page of our site.
Kid’s Day at the Mall – Did you know that the Southland Mall is having it’s Kid’s Day again this year on Saturday 2/21/09 from 10am – 5pm? This is a great time for the whole family where they offer entertainment, games and much more! We will also be there with a booth where you can get your kid’s picture with a huge Veggietale standee and then we will put their pics on line so they can view, download, or print their picture at home. We have found that kids LOVE seeing themselves on line and are happy about offering this opportunity again this year! Stop be and say hi!
Gosh, I haven’t even invited you to a Sunday morning Gathering yet, have I? Well, we’d love to have you and no need to RSVP! The next few weeks we are talking about being able to stop just living and move into loving which makes all the difference in our lives and for others. After that, starting in March, we will be exploring what it means to be a real disciple (or follower) of the Jesus of the Bible and exploring His teachings, example, and heart as the Christ.
Other things to know before stopping by a Gathering is while all our welcome, most tend to dress casual. Also, our music is more of the modern style and rather organic (meaning we are not all professionals but enjoy worshiping together). We start about 10am as far as hanging out, drinking coffee, and what not and then we start the music at 10:30am. Also, we are a small church so if you are looking for a big church with a ton of programs and resources for you, we may not be the place. However, if you are the type of person who wants to be part of building something, investing into life with others who care about each other, and put into something special as well as benefit from it, you may want to stop in.
Again, we would love for you to give us a chance. Are we perfect, no. However, it’s the most real people in Christian community I have experienced in my life and hope you may give it a chance. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to touch base with me (Bet you can’t guess how to send me an email)!