Wednesday Evening Prayer, Fellowship and Discipleship
We are creeping (or you might feel rocketing would be a better term) toward the end of summer. With the end of summer comes a new school year and a time to refocus. As leaders, we have been looking forward to this next school year as a time to refocus as a church. As you have probably heard, we are seeking to maximize Wednesday evenings for everyone in the body. This includes opportunities for prayer, fellowship and discipleship for all ages. I am thankful that as a church, we have had a passion for ministering to our students and children. Wednesday evenings have seen many students and children come through the doors of Arbor Drive who were invited by a friend or were looking for a place to belong. We have been blessed by volunteers who have selflessly served those who have come. I've been blessed to see packs of children moving all throughout the church on scavenger hunts looking to find sheets of paper based on clues that share the gospel with them. With that said, we want to bless adults in the same way (but maybe without the scavenger hunts). To that end, Wednesday nights will be a church wide event for all ages at Arbor Drive. We really have three main aims in this that I want to briefly share with you.
We have intentionally sought to incorporate more prayer into our Sunday morning service. There is a prayer meeting at 10:15am in Classroom A (which I would encourage for you to attend) that focused on praying for the service. We also have incorporated more prayer into the service itself. Prayer is essential for our health as Christians, the health of the church, and our success in carrying out the mission of Jesus Christ that he has entrusted to us. Prayer keeps us humble and dependent upon God to work through us and in our lives. We need to foster a greater culture of prayer at Arbor Drive, so Wednesday evenings will include a time of prayer together. You won't be asked to pray in front of everyone, but together as a church, we will go to God as his people and pray for our church, our community, and the lost in the world. Our prayer is that this will encourage a greater commitment to prayer in your life and in your family as you see God work through prayer in our church.
The second aim of Wednesday evenings is fellowship. It can be difficult for people to connect with others on Sunday morning. There is (rightly) a formality to our worship service and for some that cannot stay after, it can take a while for them to build relationships with other believers at Arbor Drive. One of our goals for Wednesday evenings is that all ages will be able to connect with others more easily. Because Wednesday evenings are less formal, it offers a chance for new people (or those who have been here for a while and want to connect better) to meet new people, fellowship, and get to know others better. There will be chances to see what is going on in one another's lives, pray with one another, and encourage one another. Wednesday evenings can be a great tool to help people build relationships with other believers within the body as well as introduce unbelieving friends you invite to other believers.
Our third goal for Wednesday evenings is discipleship/shepherding opportunities. It will be very interactive. Don't think of it as a class, but as a time to grow together as we talk and discuss the truth of God and how it applies to our lives together. The pastors will all be here and will be taking opportunities for more shepherding interactions with you, asking how we can pray for you, answering questions, and getting to know you better while you get to know us better. We have also asked parents of BLAST age kids to commit to leading a family style devotion for all the BLAST kids 2 times a semester with a pastor. We see this as an opportunity for you to grow in confidence in doing family devotions in your home, ask questions you might have as you do this with a pastor, and encourage you in discipling your children. We will be providing each family with all the resources you need to replicate this process in your homes.
I am excited about this expansion of Wednesday evenings and believe that God will use this in powerful ways to increase our joy in Christ, encourage one another, foster a dependence upon God through prayer, build new relationships/deepen existing ones, and provide a place for you to invite friends who don't know Christ or don't have a church family in a way that demonstrates what Christian fellowship and unity look like. I pray this helps you grow and connect better and helps us as a church unify around Christ and the gospel more. As we look to and treasure Christ together, we will find that our joy in Christ increases, our families become places where Christ is magnified, and we are equipped and mobilized to live on mission throughout the week. Please prayerfully consider making Wednesday evenings a priority in your home. I personally look forward to getting to know you better and ministering to you and your family through Wednesday evenings.