Monday, January 11, 2010

celebrating 10 years

yesterday morning, our church celebrated its 10th anniversary!

obviously a very young church, but to have come this far in 10 years... well, it makes you excited to see what could happen in the next 10 years.
we had a full house with an overflow feed going in the fellowship hall in case we couldn't fit everyone in (i think we did, but we brought in lots and lots of extra chairs.)
justin and i came in right as the service was starting and weren't sure where the free seats were. i wanted to get a few pictures from the balcony area anyway, so we headed up there first with the thought that we would be able to see where the empty seats were. well, we just ended up staying there through the whole service. several of my youth group kids came up, too, and we had a great view for everything!

the service was included sections where we took a look at the past 10 years and had many of the past and current staff members come up, as well as representatives from campus christian fellowship and mid-atlantic christian university.
then we had a section of cardboard testimonies, where the service focused on what God has done for the people in our church and how their lives have changed. the cardboard testimonies were new to me up until about a week ago, when several of my friends who were participating shared youtube videos of other churches doing it. (just search cardboard testimonies on youtube to see many other examples) i tried to snap pictures of most of them, and i did attempt to video it on the small camera--but there was no way you could read all of the words on the signs. so you'll have to click on the collage below to see some of the clear "before and after" ones that i was able to capture. i'm sure you'll see a few familiar faces...

(i'm adding the words because i realized you still can't really read them in the pictures--
"struggled for 4 years to have a child, waited for God to move" "joshua is 8 months old, God's timing is perfect"
"dying with ALS, scared exhausted uncertain" "living with Jesus, light and momentary troubles"
"broken hopeless divorced dad, angry abused divorced single and lost mother of 2"
"received God's grace--she said yes!, peace through God's love--engaged to my soulmate"
"loved serving the world" "servant of God and lovin' it"
"didn't want more kids, WANTED more kids, orphaned" "we obeyed, adopted")

the 3rd couple down actually got engaged during church a couple of sundays ago--he proposed right after the last song :) and i would be remiss not to link to jill's blog (2nd picture down) as she writes about her battle with ALS.

a few where i only captured the 2nd part of the sign (flipping pieces of cardboard and shooting from that far away ended up with a bunch of blurry pictures...)

jeremy and lindsey's first sign said "death of our 4 month old son ayden" "broken abandoned hopeless"
(lindsey wrote about the experience here)

one of my favorite families, maria, rachel and aaron who had their first sign "lost husband and father to cancer"
and one of my youth group girls, katie, who had her first sign "destroyed by anger and used drugs to escape"
(she really is an awesome girl. even with the blurry picture, you can see her big smile!)

some of my other favorites that didn't really turn out:
"once was fatherless" "child of god"
"saved @ 12, ran away @ 18" "but He never ran away from me"
"lived in projects" "live in His mansion"
"stumbled in darkness" "living life in the light"

the whole group up on stage--it was such a moving presentation...
i hope they'll have a video of it up soon--chris performed "he loves us" as everyone was coming across the stage, and the combination of the music and amazing testimonies that were being shared--well, it was just awesome.

aaron and rachel led us in worship with a beautiful performance of "when i finally make it home"--they are so incredibly talented!

the service concluded with a look to the future. several goals that were set for the church to achieve within the next year, including raising funds to build a church in india and finding opportunities to serve out in the community.

then it was time to eat!

both justin and i enjoyed going around to visit with everyone--i got huge smiles from joshua and savannah (though not captured on the camera, of course)
and jake was rockin' a serious faux-hawk but couldn't be bothered for a picture--he was busy with his balloon :)
we left full--with full stomachs and full hearts and full of excitement to be a part of the next year at christ's church. we have an awesome marriage sermon series starting up that i would recommend to any locals who are looking for a church to visit. a great opportunity to be a part of the next 10 years...