Though it hardly seems like it, we are already halfway through 2017. As a church, this has been a unique year as we have been without a lead pastor for the first time in over eighteen years, but we are thankful for all the blessings and ways we have seen God at work. As our interim time comes to a close with Pastor Brian arriving in July, we want to look back and celebrate all the things that God has been up to in our church.
No Shortage of Leadership
We have seen so many people step up in this interim time, from volunteers, to consistory and leadership team, to staff, to those on the search team. It's been especially great to see the ways that the newly formed care team has come together to help us better know how to care for the needs of an ever growing congregation, even in a season without a lead pastor. Thank you Julie Andersen, Ben Vos, Art Van Riesen, Cam Riibe, Stan Vandersall, and Sandi Carlson for the ways you have been caring for those in our church and being the hands and feet of Jesus to so many in our congregation.
We also have been blessed by phenomenal preaching during this interim time that has continuously been inspiring and challenging. What a blessing to have the ability to hear from great "in house" people like Michelle Christy, Jim Mead, John Vonder Bruegge, Michael Andres, and Troy Van Beek, as well as wonderful guest speakers like Tim Brown, Dave Bartlett, and Aaron Baart. So many of you have mentioned how God has used these sermons to really speak into this moment of your life.
No Shortage of Mission
Missions always has and always will be a core value of Trinity. We see this in the many dollars that are given to missions, as well as the many people that go and participate in mission opportunities each year. In 2017 there have already been a number of global and national projects that we have led and supported including a large number of SSP and PLIA students and adults, as well as supporting the Northwestern men's basketball team in their mission trip to Haiti. Speaking of Haiti, the people of Trinity were extremely generous in the recent supply drive that filled a school bus with needed items for our mission partners in Haiti.
2017 has also seen the local and regional mission of the church expanding. Our outdoor spaces, including our soccer fields, are being used for ministry. Trinity has continued to be a training ground for young leaders, as internships have allowed many to get experience in different ministry areas, some of whom are on staff at other churches. Trinity has also been assisting churches in our region, coming along side other ministries and helping them better reach their communities. In fact, we have received a $5000 grant to allow us go and regularly lead worship in some of the churches in our region. We have also seen Trinity come along side and train churches in the area of discipleship as we have already hosted two discipleship learning collaboratives for regional churches this year.
No Shortage on Discipleship
We have seen some really great examples of discipleship in 2017. Of course we see this happening in our school year in ministries like Lighthouse Kids, Ignite, and Collide, but even this summer has a plethora of discipleship opportunities. Whether it's larger events like our summer VBS and Rocky Mountain High, or more intimate times like a gathering of 3rd- 5th graders for "Wednesday's in the Word", our kids and teenagers continue to get a chance to learn more and practice what it means to follow Christ.
But it's not just in our kids and youth that we see discipleship happening. This year we have been able to plug a number of new people to the church into small groups and help them in their own spiritual growth. Another awesome example, is how our Elders have started mentoring some of the newest people in our church, showing them not only what it means to be a part of Trinity, but what it means to follow Christ. Several others have stepped up and just started meeting together and studying God's Word such as the "Living as Women of God Bible Study" for 5th Grade girls, and several women's Bible studies.
Thank you for all the ways that you are the church. None of this ministry could happen without the many people who give of their time, their resources, and their gifts. So we thank God for what he has done in and through us this first half of 2017 and we ask that you would continue to support and work alongside us the rest of the year and going forward. We believe that God has far more in store for Trinity, and many more things that we are called to do that we need your help in accomplishing. We truly believe that Trinity is, and can be, a church that connects people to God, to others, and to God's work in the world, in the region of Northwest Iowa, and that our best days as a church are still in front of us.