Posts tagged ‘a church for anybody’

October 15, 2012

Appreciation

by pastortimfowler

October is pastor appreciation month and this Sunday our church celebrated. The Pastor Bunny brought everyone heart-shaped gifts full of eggs and fireworks, wrapped in mistletoe. Not really. We did not have fireworks.
I was so grateful for the dinner and gifts and kind words. I am the one who should be giving the gifts and tokens of my appreciation.
I don’t hide it; I love my church and my church family. They never miss an opportunity to show God’s love to people. They make it easy to be a pastor and for the record, it is not always as easy as I make it look. After all, I am a trained professional.
So today I wanted to give a shout out to everyone at The Body, A Church for Anybody; my church! I wanted to say how much I love you guys and how blessed I feel to have the privilege of serving as your pastor. I wanted to say that gifts and meals and cards are wonderful, but pale in comparison to the love I feel all the time from you guys. There is never a time that I doubt your love or don’t feel like I am appreciated. And although I rarely like to speak for other people, I believe that I can say the same is true for my associate pastors as well.
One of the great things that you do for me on a regular basis is love my wife. In fact, I think that we can tone that back a bit. She is beginning to think that she is more important than me. Just kidding. She is humbled by your love and affection for her. In no other church that we have ever served in has she felt so genuinely loved. And if anyone wants to win over my heart, that is the best way to do it; love and appreciate my wife. For that I say thank you, very much.
Our church is on an amazing journey. We are growing both numerically and spiritually. We see folks introduced to Jesus every week because you guys are bringing others. Those people are coming because they see your love for God and your belief in our church to show that love. We are seeing people who’s lives are being changed in every aspect of life. Marriages being restored, friendships being developed, people called into ministry and to the mission field. None of this happens in a church because of a great pastor. It happens in a church because of great people who serve a great God.
So since I have had my time in the spotlight for pastor appreciation month, I would like to make the rest to this month about me, the pastor, showing my appreciation for the people I get to serve. I am sad to say that I won’t be able to buy everyone a gift or cook everyone a meal, but I will say thanks to God every time I pray and every time I think about each of you. I will try my best to smile and give you all a hug as often as I can and express my appreciation to you as best I can.
For anyone who does not attend my church, please show your love and appreciation for your pastor, not just this month, but all the time. Love his wife and his family and watch how God will bless you and your church. October is Pastor Appreciation month, so take some time to show it. If you aren’t sure how, I know a bunch of people who are experts at it and can show you anytime.
Thank you!!! The Body, A Church for Anybody!!! Your pastor appreciates you!!!

March 21, 2012

21 March, 2012 17:07

by pastortimfowler

I have been overwhelmed in the last few days by how awesome God is. I wanted to share some of the things God is doing with you. Many of you have heard about my friend in the Philippians and how he struggles from day-to-day to get the supplies that he needs to stay healthy and do the ministry that he does. Our church collected money a few times to send and he is very humble and grateful for what we did. The last money we sent was for him to buy Bibles so that he could teach his people not just the Bible, but English as well. The Bible has both his native language, Tagalog, and English side by side. He just posted some pictures of the Bibles and the people who were receiving them and it blew me away. The joy on their faces was priceless. When I saw them, God filled my heart with overwhelming joy as if He was saying, “well done”. Sure it may not sound like the awesome experience that I started off saying it was, but look at the pictures for yourself on our church Facebook page. (The Body~A Church for Anybody)
Years ago I got the experience of a lifetime when I got to go to Cuba on a mission trip. I thought that I would never get to go back, but just last week a friend sent me an invite to go with him in June of this year. Immediately I began to pray and ask God if He wanted me to go. I can’t explain the feeling of peace mixed with excitement that filled my heart. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit and is often God’s way of telling us to go or do. Then last night I dreamed that I was there seeing the friends I had met the first time I went to Cuba and we were building their new seminary building. Most of my dreams are usually weird and senseless, it may have something to do with my past drug and alcohol abuse. But from time to time when I need to have clarity about what God is saying, I have dreamed things like this. I woke up this morning knowing that I was meant to go. So I have filled out the necessary paper work and sent in my deposit.
For the last several months our church has been hearing and learning about missions and outreach. My church is an incredible place filled with people who really love God and want to love others so that they may experience the love of God. We have been doing things to reach outside our church walls and have felt as if there was still something more that we could do for our community. So as I go to the mailbox yesterday and there is an invite to meet with another pastor and old friend of mine who is launching an incredible ministry in our town that is perfect for our church to get involved in. I won’t go into the details, but it is all about getting personally involve in helping others who are in need. It goes way beyond soup kitchens and rescue missions and fills a void that is often overlooked as churches and these type ministries try to help others. The timing of this could not have been planned any better if I had tried. It coordinates perfectly with what I have been teaching and our church has been wanting to do.
Jesus said that we are to go into all the world and share the good news. Sometimes it means taking a flight to a place like Cuba or sending Bibles to the Philippians. Sometimes it means getting involved with a local outreach to help those in need. Sometimes it means we can help others go because we can’t. And most importantly, it means that we can pray for the love of Jesus to guide our own lives every day so that the salvation and love of God is taken everywhere we go or send it in His name.

December 21, 2011

Christmas Giving

by pastortimfowler

Christmas is a strange time of year. It is the time when most people are the most joyful, and at the same time it can be a time when they are at their lowest. It is a time of giving and receiving and spending time with family and friends. This is the time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. I would like to share what I get to be a part of every year at my church and I will try to remain as humble as possible, but at the same time I am running over with pride.
We are a medium-sized church of about 150 people and this number changes, lately it has been increasing. We reach a unique group of people, mostly young families and people who do not fit the typical “churchy” crowd. Like their pastor, many of these have been turned off by religion at one time or another and even hurt by the politics that often ruins what church should be. But for whatever reason, God has seen fit to bring us together under the roof of a building and in a church family called The Body, A Church for Anybody.
With the economy being as bad as it is, we find ourselves in fellowship with several families that are struggling to make ends meet and because these are families with kids, it is a difficult time to celebrate Christmas when some may not be able to give gifts to their kids. Giving gifts is a custom of the season that allows us to escape the reality of hard times and focus on putting a smile on the face of children, but when you lose a job or income gets cut, it can be difficult to make this happen on your own. Without a second thought, the people in our church have taken to the spirit of giving and made sure that these kids smile on Christmas morning. There are 5 families that will be blessed by receiving, but probably 20 more that will be blessed by Christmas giving.
One family told me today that they sacrificed giving their adult children gifts, with those adult children’s blessings, in order to provide for another family with children who still live at home. They took the $100 that they would normally spend for those gifts and bought for someone else. Today I was told that they received an unexpected bonus from work that doubled that amount. You just can’t help but think that God was showing how much He likes Christmas giving too.
On Christmas day, we will gather for a morning worship and after church several of us are going out to a restaurant that is open to sing a Christmas Carol and give a gift to those who are working. As grateful as they must be to have a job, it has to be tough to work on Christmas day. So we have been collecting “tips” for about two months now for the purpose of giving to those who are waiting tables and serving others on Christmas day a bit of Christmas cheer that will hopefully make their Christmas sacrifice well worth it. We have chosen a restaurant that only has 5 or 6 people who are working that day and because of the generosity of the people in my church, each person who is working will receive a Christmas card with over $100 in it.
Again, it is hard to be humble when you talk about something that you are involved in, but I am blown away by the love of the people who I serve at this church and it does truly humble me to know them. They love others and show it through their actions and the biggest action this time of year is in their Christmas giving. I love it!!!
Merry Christmas!

August 22, 2011

His love is amazing!

by pastortimfowler

It was a crazy weekend in a good way. If you are not a church person, then go ahead and read this just because it won’t hurt you. If you are a church person read it and be encouraged.
The church as a universal figure often gets the negative press of being judgmental and often full of hypocrites and holier than thou types. I have to admit that most of the press is true, but not accurate. The church is judgmental, we are told to be. We are not supposed to think that we are better than anyone else though. First and foremost, we are supposed to judge ourselves and if we did a better job of that, we would not be criticized so much for judging others.
I know for sure that my church is full of hypocrites, every last one of us. We all do what we shouldn’t do and don’t do what we should from time to time. I guess it’s the blatant hypocrisy that bothers people and that goes back to judging ourselves better. As long as flesh and blood people try to live spiritual lives, we are going to have hypocrisy. And as for being holier than thou, we should only be concerned about being as holy as we can be and letting God be the standard of holiness that we all look to. One thing I think that most people will agree with, is that, if people who claim to be Christians lived up to the hype, very few people would have a problem with the church. So please forgive us for failing, but I know our church and a few others are trying.
But that is not why I am blogging today. I want to praise a few things that happened that over the weekend.
My son’s church, the one he attends and serves at, not owns, had an amazing weekend. They had a goal for the people of the church to specifically invite people who admitted they were not Christians to come to the church and hear and see what they were doing and judge for themselves if it was worth the chance of knowing Jesus. Over 500 people made public their profession of faith in this one church on one weekend! That tells me that they were treated the way they thought Jesus wanted church people to act and that they believed the message that they heard. Pretty amazing. Sure this is a large church, but people respond to one person asking one question more than large numbers screaming demands. Jesus wants us to be personable with people. Way to go Newspring Church!
My ex youth pastor said that his church had record attendance this past weekend. They are a more traditional church that tends to appeal to older people in theory. But I have seen a change in the heart of the people and although he would be the first to agree, (I think), that they have ways to go, they have already traveled a great journey. The youth of this church is responding to the call to live lives that reflect Jesus in everything that they do. I can’t help but believe that the fire in this youth group is spreading to the whole congregation…Way to go Reedy Fork Baptist Church!
Our church had a larger than normal crowd this weekend. It was not a record, but it was above average. We had a women’s group on retreat and several other families who were out for known reasons and yet we still had the largest crowd in months. What was cool about it is that our people stepped up to fill gaps in every area that was lacking and no one complained. Just smiles and friendly serving of those who were attending. Our music was, although always good, incredible, the crowd was clapping and enjoying worship and we had a bunch of guests…Way to go, The Body, A Church for Anybody!
We always welcome and ask for feedback and I heard some amazing stuff. Stuff like, this is the friendliest church I have ever been in, I felt like I was at home here, and I am not a member but I felt like one. This is what happens when the hypocrites at my church get a chance to try to act like Jesus. They do a great job. Not perfect, but getting closer all the time.
I have been preaching a hard-hitting series on truth and propaganda and it has challenged folks to re-examine a few things. The response has been incredible and some people are making some very tough decisions about changing their lifestyles. That only confirms to me that the truth is powerful and God is the author of the truth. But most incredible is the fact the we saw 3 people make a profession of faith. Not the 500 of the other church mentioned, but we are much smaller and there is never a number, other than zero, that disappoints when people come to know Jesus. But when you add the number of people at our church alone that have met Jesus for the first time this year, it is pretty amazing.
Jesus changes lives. He never refuses anyone who calls on Him. He uses messed up people to do a divine work and I am so thrilled to see how it works when a church gets close to getting it right.
So if you go to church, get involved and watch what God is doing. If you don’t, check out a few churches and find one where the people are more like Jesus than the hypocrites you think we are. You won’t be sorry when you find it and you won’t forget Jesus when you meet Him or His people who understand who they are truly supposed to be. Why? Because God is truly awesome His love is amazing!

July 28, 2011

It Is Not The Quotations Marks

by pastortimfowler

Lately I have had this feeling that something “big” was going to happen soon at my church. I have always felt that our church was special, and not just because most of the people who make up our church are “special” (please notice the quotation marks). I hope that I don’t have to explain what I mean by that. We are called The Body, A Church for Anybody, and, wow, we have gotten the “anybodys” (notice quotation marks again). I really don’t know why quotation marks make things mean something different, but it does.

 I have never had the feeling of our church growing into a “mega” church in the sense of building a place that seats thousands. I have always felt that it would be more in the lines of several worship times, all of them not being more that 200-300 people. This keeps it intimate and allows for us to really know the folks we worship with. My ultimate dream is to have to pick a day to close the church. If you think about it, we really have it backwards. We pick one day a week to open the church. In today’s busy world, there are some folks who just can’t come on Sunday at 11am. And, there are certainly enough people in Rock Hill SC to fill my church with a different group several times a day, several days a week.
As of right now, we are only at the point of our 10:30am Sunday morning worship time being almost full and talking about our next time that we will need. I believe that once we get past the second meeting time that things will accelerate and we will add new times more often. I am not convinced that starting the new worship time is the “big thing” that is going to happen soon. I do believe that it is going to happen and that our vision is a good one.
I visited several churches on the past year that are using multiple locations. I love the idea because they first used the multiple time idea and outgrew what they do in one location. Some of them are meeting on Saturday and Thursday in addition to the Sunday times, but no one has gone to the point of having to pick a day to close the church because they need a day off. That might be a “fantasy” and too big of a dream, but I was always told to dream and dream so that it could only happen if God was in it.
There are many churches today who are realizing that “typical” church activities are not what we need. They are doing what is needed to reach the younger generation and are doing it well. I hear some folks talking down about how they have gone overboard and are acting like “the world” in order to fill their churches. Sadly, those who are complaining have very few young people in their churches and probably never will. I have a saying when I counsel couples that I like to use to help them not argue as much. I tell them that “different” is not wrong. It can be, but usually isn’t. Jesus was very different and the “religious” crowd did not like Him, so these churches that I see growing with young people in explosive ways should feel pretty good.
So what is this “big” thing that I feel that God is doing? I wish I could say I was 100% sure, but I am not. But here is what I think it is. God is working inside me, not just around me. He is showing me truths that allow me to see Him and not just the things He does. There is nothing wrong about telling people about what God is doing, but too often they forget about what He did and therefore forget about God. When we see Him with everything that happens, we begin to look for Him in everything else that happens. Our goal as Christians is to see Him face to face one day, not only to see what God is doing. If we see Him, we will not only see what He is doing, but we are likely to be doing it with Him. That is exciting!
To all you “special” people at The Body, hang on! God has something in store. I see Him when I see you guys loving folks the way you do. I see Him when I read your facebook posts and tweets. I see Him when you welcome our guests and they come back. I see Him when you meet the needs of someone who is without and encourage those who are down. The “big thing” that will happen will happen because God is “in the house” not just because we are. So thanks to you all for showing God in what you do.
I am waiting eagerly to see how thing progress. If you are not part of a church somewhere that you can see God when you attend, or if you are not part of a church at all, I encourage you to find that place where He is there and “jump in with both feet”. Nothing is more exciting than “hanging out” with God!
Thanks for reading this. I hope you understood and enjoyed the use of “quotation marks” today. They just seemed to add something special. But in life it is God, not the “quotation marks”, that make things special.

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