Monday, February 1, 2010

A Symphony of Wows!

What a fabulous day of worship we had at our Grand Opening worship service yesterday. Because it’s such an important day a Grand Opening service should be remembered throughout the history of the church—and I believe that years from now people will still talk about what we experienced yesterday in worship at Chain of Lakes.

Numbers matter to me—mainly because numbers signify something deeper. Here are the numbers from yesterday’s service:
Over 100 people attended. The usher told me 101. We encouraged everyone to sign a communication card, but there was so much going on that everyone didn’t fill out a card. If we took the time to scan our memories, I’m sure that many more than 100 people attended. The attendance was so large that we had to open the back walls to our sanctuary. Some people sat in the hallway because the sanctuary was full.
Forty-three adults and children attended from Chain of Lakes Church. This was the most we’ve ever had attend worship from our own faith community on a Sunday morning.
Seven new families came to check us out. I’m going to have to figure out when I’ll have the time to deliver coffee mugs to each of those seven families this week.
Approximately twenty-five children came up for the time for children.
Seventeen Presbyterian churches sent representatives to support us. I think we should just declare yesterday’s meeting the second Presbytery meeting of the year. We had churches from three different Presbyteries attend, so I guess it could be called a Synod meeting too!
We collected 58 Haiti Hygiene bags which will be sent to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
A large number of people shared their hopes and prayers for Chain of Lakes by filling out a card and pinning them to the cross we made for the service. I counted approximately 50 cards in the above picture.
Fifty-seven people voted for the topic of the next sermon series. This coming Sunday, I am starting a three-week sermon series called, “Mythbusters.” For three weeks I am going to explore the myths that prevent people from having a deeper relationship with God and with the church. On the Communication card I shared eight myths about God and the church and asked people to vote on three. The results are now tabulated. The myth that we will be exploring in worship next Sunday is-------------I can’t tell you. It’s a secret. You’ll have to come to worship next Sunday, February 7 to find out which myth we will explore.

Even more important than the numbers was how the Spirit was present in worship yesterday. The music shared by Richard and Melinda Marshall and Sue Ruby was fantastic. My daughter, Hannah, caused many of us to choke up with her song. Chaz Ruark shared a powerful message about being connected as Presbyterians. John Ivers shared his passion for Chain of Lakes when he shared the history of our new congregation. As an aside, John gently teases his wife, Gloria, about how she cries in public. When he spoke yesterday, John appropriately choked up twice. As he did the second time Gloria shouted out, “he’s put a lot of work into this project.” That was beautiful on many different levels!! Many people complimented the sermon. And the singing—wow! When Presbyterians are inspired we sure can sing! One person from Chain of Lakes decided to accept the invitation I had previously extended her to serve on our Steering Committee as she sang the final hymn, “Here I Am, Lord.” Never underestimate the power of singing!

The Scripture we heard in worship yesterday was the story in Acts 2 of the birth of the church. That story shares that “awe” came upon the group as many wonders and signs were performed. In my sermon I shared that a three-letter synonym for awe is “wow.” I believe that when we say the word, “wow” we are expressing the movement of the Spirit. Yesterday at Chain of Lakes we experienced a symphony of “wows.”

Thanks to all of the Presbyterian Churches who sent representatives. From my memory the following churches were represented at our Grand Opening.
Bloomington, Oak Grove
Buffalo, Buffalo
Chaska, Shepherd of the Hill
Columbia Heights, Church of All Nations
Coon Rapids, Church of the Master
Eden Prairie, Eden Prairie
Golden Valley, Valley
Hudson, First
Jackson, First
Minneapolis, Aldrich
Minneapolis, Lake Nokomis
Minneapolis, Westminster
Redwood Falls, First
Rochester, Community
St. Louis Park, Peace
St. Paul, Central
St. Paul, Macalester-Plymouth
Shoreview, Presbyterian Church of the Way
Waukon, Waukon


Duane said...

Way to go Chain of Lakes. You are taking the first steps of a long journey. Sandy and I are often surprised by the way God looks out for us. Remember, too, that God looks out for you.

Neal Lloyd said...

Paul, Carole and I could not be happier for you and the people of Chain of Lakes. Keep the fireball of God's Spirit rolling there!!!

Dennis Sanders said...


Is it possible you could edit this post for publication in EMerge?