Both of you faithful KarisBlog readers :) might be wondering, "So what's up with Karis right now?" So I thought I would take some time to fill you in on what the Lord has been doing in our midst. This Sunday we're officially hitting the summer season, and with it will come many challenges, but it's time to sit back and praise God for what He has done in our midst this past "semester" (after all, we are in a college town).
- We have added some amazing members who love our vision and want to see it flourish in downtown Columbia.
- We have begun ministering to more and more college students, which is close to my heart, and a big reason why I love being in Columbia.
- We are having new visitors join us all the time, several of which are interested in hopping on board.
- We constituted officially as a church, and ordained our first leaders. I am humbled and grateful to the Lord for the amazing people God has brought. It has exceeded my wildest dreams. Karis now has three elders (me, Scott Ratliff, and Luke Daugherty), as well as two deacons (Troy Gaines and Brandon Wright).
- We are becoming more and more known in our community. Our name change back many months ago has been blessed by God. We are now bearing the fruits of that.
- We have received much media coverage (see the front page of karischurch.org) that can only be explained by God, which gives us free publicity and credibility.
- We have seen much ground made in becoming interwoven into our people group God has called us to reach-- Columbia's downtown "District."
- We now have 3 Community Groups that meet on Wednesday nights and are a blessing to all involved, helping us fulfill our desire to be a relational church.
- We have had as many as 66 in worship on Sundays. In the past month or so, we have averaged right around 50.
- We have launched Katalyst, a men's theology/discipleship group which, Lord willing, will become the Karis Institute in the fall.
- We have an excellent weekly Gathering (worship service) that is being known for its quality, God-centered music, as well as for in-depth, challenging (yet not always "polished") teaching.
- We have the most amazing sense of community I have ever experienced, and this is continually confirmed by those that join us.
- We have people that have as much invested in this ministry as I do, and that is incredible.
- We are on the way to adding to our staff in the fall.
- We have the "dream" location for what we're trying to do downtown.
- We have an amazing network of support churches and friends who remain faithful to us.
Words can't express how grateful I am to the Lord for Karis and for those that He is using to make it happen. Pray for us this summer as we undoubtedly feel the lack of students in our midst. Pray that God would send us more people that want to redeem the city of Columbia for Christ. Pray for Amy and me as we continue to strive to be faithful to God's call on our lives. Soli deo gloria!