Our 217church service this Sunday in East Windsor has been moved to Etra Lake Park at 10:15am! But here is the really great news: We are taking advantage of this unexpected change and will be baptizing at least 1 person at Etra Lake on Sunday! You won’t want to miss this incredible turn of events. As a matter of fact, we have already had someone come to a relationship with Jesus before we have had a public worship service. This is pretty cool! After the service we will be doing a prayer walk through the Twin Rivers community and inviting people to a Twin Rivers family day at the park. (Just a reminder, normal services times at Hamilton, 9:30 & 11:00 am).
Arrive early as our teams will begin setting up at 8:00am. We will enjoy some bagels and coffee together, celebrating extending the Gospel to a new community.
Our first preview service will be under the sky at 10:15am at Etra Lake Park in East Windsor
Why the sudden move? Unfortunately, the school district changed it’s mind this week and is not allowing us to meet at Grace Rogers. We are still in communication with the East Windsor community school district and are hoping for a reconsideration in the future of our request to use the community facilities.
I don’t think it is a coincidence this happened. As a matter of fact, the main idea of last week’s sermon was, “God uses the unexpected to our advantage but He will test us.” So how should we deal with change? I want to take this opportunity and walk you through the last 48 hours for us as church leaders and how we dealt with the change.
How To Deal With Unexpected Change
1. Don’t Panic- Take a step back, a timeout.
It was Monday night when I got the first phone call from Pastor Justin. At first I was ticked, (wouldn’t you be?) then I had to have Justin repeat what he said, “We have been denied the use of Grace Rogers this Sunday.” Ok, I had heard him correctly. Then I told him this was going to be used for our advantage. But I assured him this would all work out. Freaking out will never solve the problem. It usually makes things worse and can cause unnecessary tension and even lead to more harm. Take a deep breath, go for a walk, get away for a second and try to focus.
2. Pray- Ask God what He is doing.
When I got off the phone I began to pray, and enlisted the prayers of a few others. The first person I texted was my mom :). It was evident we needed to pray. Tuesday morning first thing, the whole staff sat in our vision room and asked God for wisdom. We prayed together. When something happens that seems like it would hurt you, you can’t let the enemy get you sidetracked. You have to go to God and say, “I still trust you!”
3. Get Unity – Assemble the team and get on the same page.
Shortly after this, the 4 pastors sat in my office and we got all our “stuff” out on the table. We told each other how we felt, established what we thought we needed to do and had our, “Let’s do this together moment.” We knew this week was going to be one that challenged us. We needed to communicate well, work together, and it was evident there was much work to be done. Whenever you have a change in your family, at work, in your marriage, you need to all get together and establish unity. When you go through challenges, it is always a test of your unity. Be strong, and pass the test.
4. Go back to the Vision – Let the vision drive your decisions.
Back in the vision room, all the possible meeting places for Sunday began to appear on the board. We got good old fashioned google maps out and began to look where we could possibly meet. We were just getting all the ideas out on the table. Everyone’s opinion mattered and the conversation began to go in lots of different directions. We became the, “what if” church again. I loved this. At one point during the conversation, we came back to how we started in Hamilton; serving the community and doing a prayer walk. This is the vision, “Rebuilding lives one person at a time.” We all agreed, let’s use this as an opportunity to do a prayer walk and come back in two weeks and serve the community. In addition: “Hey, there is a lake, let’s do a baptism!” So there it was right in front of us, worship, baptism, then prayer walk! When things get scary, remember what the vision is to begin with.
5. Start Implementing – Over communicate everyone’s roles and responsibilities.
Today we visited the park, made the final plan and are gathering all the resources. We changed the web, are sending out the newsletter and still asking people to partner with us in prayer! God has our best interest in mind. We know God has called us to this and the bible says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
You should join us at the Amc24 theater in Hamilton at 9:30 or 11:00am or at Etra Lake Park at 10:00am. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on what God wants to do! If you want to be baptized, just bring a change of clothes.
It’s going to be an INCREDIBLE weekend!
217church is a multi-site church in Mercer County NJ with small groups for families in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater. Our new East Windsor Campus is meeting this Sunday October 13 at Etra Lake Park. If you are looking for a church in Mercer County NJ, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services in Hamilton at 9:30 or 11 am! Visit www.217church.com. If you want to be in on the ground floor of a new exciting church plant, contact our East Windsor Campus Pastor Justin Bronson at firstname.lastname@example.org.