Let's Kick It

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I am one of the lead pastors at Experience Church. This week my 3 children started their school year. My daughter, being the youngest, just started Kindergarten.

I too remember as a child starting a new school year, with a new teacher, a new classroom, not knowing anyone and the unfortunate feeling that accompanied it. Often it left me feeling anxious about what it would be like, who I would meet…. and could I possibly make any new friends? Even trying to find the restroom seemed slightly overwhelming.  

As I think about our first and second time guests at church, they too may tend to experience these feelings of the unknown. Attending a new church for the first time should not have to feel intimidating.

That’s why we try our best to offer treat all guests with the utmost hospitality! We know that EVERYONE MATTERS and everyone means something to Jesus. If they’re important to God, then they’re important to us.

The scripture teaches us in Romans 12, that we should “seek to show hospitality”.

You may think, well I am just not a very talkative person, how could I greet a newcomer? The answer is easy. Even a simple gesture such as provide a warm handshake and a bright smile goes a long way. Asking them unthreatening questions, such as: Where are you from? What do you do for work? What do you like to do for fun? – expresses to others your genuine interest in getting to know them and making them feel comfortable.

When we remember that every person that walks through our church doors, is created by God, is valued, loved and made with purpose, we will see them in that light. The scripture says, in Ephesians 2:10 that “we are His workmanship, created to do good works”.

At EXP, our heart is to HELP: Help you get closer to, and become more like Jesus. That begins with assuring you that you are in a place where you are secure, accepted and celebrated.

YOU, my friend are a VERY IMPORTANT PERSON!

House to House

Hey church family! I have the privilege of serving on our awesome Dream Team as our Kids Church and Growth Track Director! My husband, Josh, and I moved to California three years ago, and one of the things we have valued is the community we get to be a part of! 

This past week God put the idea of "Community" on my heart. I have been thinking and praying about community, and more specifically Community Groups, which we will be launching in September. I was drawn to this verse:

“You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.” (Acts 20:20)

At Experience Church one of the repeating themes I’ve seen is that real life change happens in the context of authentic relationships. In the Bible they worshiped in the temple, but personal ministry happened house to house - in Community. 

I was talking this past week with a friend who has just recently started coming to church. Someone who has had a rough first 30+ years of life and is finally finding his identity in Christ. I asked him what he thought when he first came to a community group and his response was this; “The thing I loved the most about Community Group was that I had this idea that it wasn’t a safe place and my idea of what was going to happen was totally wrong. I was able to share exactly what was going on in my life, and there was no judgement. People really cared about what I had to say and wanted to be there for me.”

This is the real life change that happens from house to house. Community Groups are a place for healing. A place to connect with others. A place to love each other. A place to grow together. And, a place to protect. 

Community Groups are a place where spiritual growth happens. As much as I love Sunday’s and gathering as a whole for corporate worship, there is something really powerful and unique that happens when we gather in a small group. 

My prayer this week is this, that people who are part of the church and part of the community would come together and see that God intended us to do life together. That there would be open lines of communication and the freedom to speak into one another’s lives. That deeper relationships would grow and that people would make space for community. That community groups would be a priority instead of an afterthought. God, help us to shift our focus as a church and give us maximum participation in Community Groups this fall.