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Bottle Up Your Stories

I want to share with you a few responses from some our 1st time guests these past several weeks (as told by our lead pastor Jon Adams):

Couple #1 drove all the way from Lawrenceville to visit us. This is a very savvy churched couple. They have help plant 2-3 churches and have participated in church leadership for year. They told me that they are just looking to get 'filled up' as they have been in season of hard knocks at other churches. On Monday, I called this couple and didn't even have to ask the husband to tell me about his experience at Big Creek. He started gushing:

"We've never come to a more friendly church...ever. People were respectful, not pushy, but we had several different folks engage us in meaningful conversation. One couple asked us to their Life Group. Another couple asked us out to lunch. We were overwhelmed by the love and grace that they experienced at Big Creek."

Couple #2 had just bought a house in Windemere. They have young kids and are coming from a church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. and currently living in a corporate apartment in the Virginia area. They just happened to drive by our new property, saw our sign, and looked up on our website for directions to our Windward Ridge location. This couple has visited several local churches...both big and smaller in size. A guest at Big Creek (who sat next to this couple) followed up with them, patiently waited in the Welcome area while I was talking to another couple, and then introduced me to them. The husband's comment to me was this:

"We have been looking for a place where we can just plug in and serve and be fed. This is obviously a friendly place and we're coming back!"

Guest #3 is a single mom visited for the first time 2 weeks ago. She came with her freshmen in college aged son who is a follower of Jesus and went up to the communion line to an elder to receive communion. She was so moved by the words of the elder and the power of the gospel that with tears she opened her heart to the love of Jesus. In an email to me this week, she wrote me:

"Coming to Big Creek has really opened my eyes and my heart. I never knew a church could be this way and I know it will be a big part of my life. You are so inspirational in the services, willing to admit your flaws and that it's OK, Jesus loves us all the same."

Wow, what encouraging stories of lives being changed and touched by the gospel! People are meeting Jesus during the worship and seeing Jesus through our lives.

In sharing these stories I am not suggesting that everyone who visits Big Creek walks away with the same opinions. I am certainly not boasting or bragging, because in fact I know for certain that we fail people all the time. We are not a perfect church and we don't have all of our stuff together.

But that is the point of these stories. God has allowed us to hear from these people their stories. God let us hear these stories to be an encouragement. Too often in ministry it is easy to see all the stuff that we are not doing right. And isn't it true that when people are dissatisfied with you or your church that they aren't shy in letting you know. We can too often let the negative overshadow all the great things that God is doing in our midst.

So when God allows you to hear and see those stories of grace like I shared, bottle them up. Save them. Keep them. They become reminders and memorials to all that God has done and is continuing to do. And at any point someone comes up to you and dumps on you, you can always open up that bottle and be reminded that He is still at work and accomplishing great things in people's lives.


Good to pull out the stories when times are dry. Also great motivating material to share with the congregation. Sounds like you really have them aboard on hospitality and extending themselves.

It is always good to have those stories, because it isn't always all good. There are those disappointing stories I hear about - especially as people leave.

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