STORIES OF 2016 PT 3
My name is Faith and I am the Worship Pastor at The Garden. I can honestly say that the last year in the Worship Community at the Garden has been one marked by God’s presence moving powerfully. Every week, when we come together on Sunday mornings and Sunday nights, God meets us exactly where we are and keeps reminding us that His kingdom is come here and now. He heals. He loves. He cares. He moves. It is a privilege to get to do what I do and serve this amazing community.
With that being said, one of the coolest things that I have gotten to be a part of in this last year has been hosting our first Worship Central Course. This is a ministry out of the same Church in London who created the “Alpha Course” that we participate in at The Garden.
Over 9 weeks, we got to educate a large part of our worship community as well as people from other Churches in a variety of topics ranging from the theology of our worship, how we can release creativity in our worship, and how to continue to make the Holy Spirit central in our worship. We came together with the purpose of simply growing in our understanding and gaining practical insights and what actually happened as a result was so beautiful and beyond expectations. Every week we began with worship and prayer, and the depth of what we encountered together was powerful. People began to prophesy, give words of knowledge, and sing together a beautiful sound of praise to our Father in Heaven. I am learning so much of God’s grace as we step out in risking and in obedience. He always shows up, always is faithful, and never stops being creative in the ways that He works.
Meet Tom. We met Tom through a partnership we have with the Multi-Service Center here in Long Beach. They help those who are chronically homeless to get an apartment of their own and we help furnish it with all the essentials, from the fridge to the dining table. We helped move him in and found out more about his story. Ten years ago, Tom was the owner of a publishing company in New York city. He drove a Cadillac Escalade and traveled all over the country entertaining clients. Business was good. Then the recession hit and after some unfortunate business decisions, the company folded. He tried to stay afloat, but was soon living on the streets. His son passed away a few years back and it really took a toll on him. Life was hard for Tom, but this act of kindness, of moving him into this apartment, was a turning point in his life. We invited him to the Garden and he started coming. He said he was looking for meaning and purpose in his life, but wasn’t sure how God fit into it all. It was soon after that we launched our Alpha Course. The question, “Is there more to life than this?” got him curious and so he decided to sign up. Tom came week after week, with questions, doubts, and a bit of uncertainty about this whole “God” thing. Then, Tom came on the Alpha Weekend. Tom had an experience with God over the Alpha Weekend that changed his life. For the first time in his life he said he felt the love of God. He calls himself a Christian now and says that there is more direction and purpose in his life than ever before. We saw Tom change before our eyes. He was like a new man. It was like a curtain had been pulled back to reveal the real Tom. It was amazing. The simple act of helping someone move in to their apartment produced a life that is now dedicated to God. The best part is, Tom will be helping us with our next Alpha course, and will be helping others on their journey to find meaning and purpose in their life.
These stories are part of a bigger story God is writing in our city and beyond.
We continue to see God bring his way of life “in Long Beach as it is in heaven.”
If you are interested in supporting the work we are doing as a church this year, please consider giving to our general fund here.
Thank you for your continued prayer and support as we pursue bringing life where ever we go.
If you are already giving and want to join us in our Vision Builder Campaign, please consider giving above and beyond this year here.