What’s up, Oasis!
TODAY marks 3 YEARS ago since we held our first info meeting to discuss the possibility of starting a new church in Holly Springs. Back then, I had no clue what would come of the idea to start a new church. I was nervous, scared, and insecure. I wasn’t sure if people would even show up to that first meeting!! And today it BLOWS MY MIND to see what God has done in just three short years.
Every Sunday we are seeing new faces, families are returning, and people are deciding to make Oasis their “home”. It is an amazing feeling to be a part of a growing church. What excites me about the growth we are seeing is that a large percentage of people at Oasis did not regularly attend another church before landing here. Since January 2014, over 300 of those people have decided to follow Jesus, and more than 200 people have been water baptized.
We really are reaching people who are “unchurched.”
This has been our vision all along. We never set out to start a church for churched people. We wanted to start a church that would be focused on reaching the unchurched. And that’s exactly what is happening!
A couple of weeks ago we added a 3rd service to accommodate some of the growth. We now have 3 smaller, more intimate services on Sundays. And as we move into this new season at Oasis, it is important to keep our heads in the game and stay focused on what’s most important to us. We need everyone on the same page, because God is NOT FINISHED at Oasis. He is just now getting started.
As your pastor, I feel it is important to always stay ahead in my thinking and do whatever is necessary to prepare you for what our future holds. Here are a few things we can expect to happen moving forward. Take note. And get ready!
#1 – We will NOT change the vision.
One of the things I love about our church is that we are united around a vision to see people (our family, friends, and neighbors) have NEW LIFE in Christ. As long as other people are the focus, we will have a LOT to look forward to as a church. If we lose sight of the reason we exist, then we will become an inward focused church and slowly collapse. Let’s keep the vision in front of us “so that people can have NEW LIFE in Christ.”
#2 – Everything else WILL change.
Oasis is not the same church it was a year ago. Things have changed. And things will always change for the lifetime of this church’s existence. Get used to it. At some point, each of us will be tempted to complain out loud that something we once liked isn’t the same as it was before. Let this be a gentle reminder to us all that this church isn’t about us or our comforts.
Personally, I have to remember this often. I don’t like every song that is played from our stage, I don’t like every personality that has found refuge at Oasis, and I don’t like every sermon I preach. I’ve found that it is easier for me to stay focused on things that matter when I embrace the fact that this church isn’t about me. You should embrace that fact, too.
#3 – People are going to leave.
As we grow and continue to pursue the vision God has given us, there will be some people who decide to quit attending Oasis Church. This is OKAY. I see people all the time in our community who either visited and didn’t like it, or they attended for a while and then hopped over to a different church. This is NOT awkward for me because I know this is supposed to happen. When people leave, it doesn’t mean we are supposed to “unfriend” them or anything like that, it simply means they left. Don’t make them a stranger or treat them any differently just because they attend a different church.
In addition, I personally refuse to chase people down and beg them to stay. That is the most unhealthy use of a pastors time. I want to be so wrapped up in the call of God to reach people with the message of Jesus that I don’t get distracted by the “drama” of someone leaving our church.
#4 – There will be Spiritual Warfare.
This might be a new idea to some of you. But, put simply, when you are involved in anything that is making an impact for God you WILL experience pushback from the enemy. You and your family will feel attacked in various ways. We just have to move forward knowing that people who are on the same team with a common purpose CAN WIN. Let’s stay focused on what we are called to do, let’s continue praying, and let’s keep moving forward.
#5 – We will have FUN.
This should be fun. There is nothing more exciting than being part of a growing church. If you get to a point where this is not fun for you, then you need to make some changes. Maybe you need to serve in a different role, or you might need to quit something, OR perhaps you might need to start something new. I don’t know. But if this is not fun for you, tell your leaders & let’s get you into a spot where you can enjoy the ride.
Let’s be people who laugh a lot. This journey is pointless without joy.