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February 2018 Building Update

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By: Jeremy Young

Back in May of last year, we started a 2-year initiative called Multiply. We believed God was asking us to:

  1. Multiply generosity in us
  2. Multiply Equippers among us
  3. Reach Families

We set a goal for the people of our church to generously give $2 million BUT Multiply was never meant to be an end in itself. With about a year remaining if we meet our $$ goal we will not have necessarily arrived. Multiply has always been a means to accomplish our goal of “Multiplying Gospel Change. For Broken People. On Purpose.”

And Praise God, we do see the generosity of the people of our church further enabling us to accomplish the vision that God has given to our church.

One of the components of Multiply was to find a larger gathering space for our church, specifically a larger space for CityKids. We’ve been working with a realtor for over a year and together we’ve kicked over a lot of stones but we’ve not found anything that has fit us.

Additionally, some of you might have heard that our neighbor, Gold’s Gym, is trying to move and have asked if we’ve considered that location. Yes, we have considered it and we are asking questions about it but it looks like it would only be a short-term solution given the price of the space and the age of the building.

Since there are many of you we thought it would be a good idea to give you an idea of what we’re looking for in case you see something or know someone who is thinking about selling/donating their building/land.

Space requirements:

  • Size of building- At least 15,000 sq ft.
  • 5-10 acres
  • Enough parking for 250 cars (2-3 acres)
  • Within approximately 3 miles from our current location
  • We’d prefer to buy over lease

We’re trusting God to grow us and lead us wherever He will. Regardless of our space, we want to delight in Him and not fear that our kid’s space is not ideal.

Please pray with us that the way we love God and love one another would bring us deep joy and contentment that far outweighs what we think is not comfortable or ideal.

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Three Powerful Ways to Help Sexual Abuse Survivors Feel Safe

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By: Debi Russell
 
Like so many, I have read with sadness, outrage and disgust the proceedings for the trial of Larry Nassar, the US Olympic Gymnast doctor who recently plead guilty to 10 counts of sexual abuse of children and was sentenced to 175 years in prison.
 
The most significant emotions for me came from reading transcripts of victim impact statements that the judge allowed at sentencing. 
 
As a counselor who works with trauma, I have listened to many “victim impact statements” in the form of therapy in my office. The raw pain and devastating damage caused by sexual abuse is enormous.
 
One passion I have developed through listening to men and women share their abuse stories is educating Christians in how to respond. So many times the courage to speak gets squashed by insensitive or outright harmful remarks from others in the church. In an article in Christianity
 
Rachel Denhollander, who was the first to read her impact statement at Larry Nassar’s trial, expressed the belief that many times the church is the least safe place for a victim to go for help in disclosing abuse. (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/january-web-only/rachael-denhollander-larry-nassar-forgiveness-gospel.html)
 
And in my experience, she is correct.
 
So what can we do to personally make the church a safer place for people to share about abuse? 
 

Believe them.

 
One of the most difficult things to imagine is that people who look otherwise “normal” to us, have sexually assaulted children. But perpetrators are doctors, pastors, coaches, politicians, construction workers, teachers, neighbors, business owners and yes, even friends and family.
 
When someone who has been abused finds the courage to speak, believe them. It seems unbelievable because it is evil. But our horror needs to be directed to support, not doubt and questioning quickly.
 
Tell the person you are glad they shared their story with you, you are so sorry for the suffering they have endured, and you want to support them as they work through the healing process. 
 

Listen patiently.

 
Recovering from sexual abuse is a slow process. It involves great pain. The person may express doubts about God, fears that seem irrational, have extreme guardedness.
 
Often we want to jump in and fix those symptoms quickly. But what is needed is patience and kindness in the form of good listening. Sometimes, the biggest effect is not being able to trust others. Reassure the person you care about them, you are willing to listen, and you are not going to gossip about them.
 
Fragile people need calm, predictable, persistent care from their community and most of the time, a counselor trained in working with trauma to recover. 
 

Follow the law.

 
Churches are notorious for not getting law enforcement involved even when the law requires abuse of a child to be reported. This is both tragic for victims and wrong.
 
Allowing consequences to be enforced is a deterrent to predators seeking churches as a place to find new victims. It honors God when we seek justice.
 
It sends a message to victims that the person guilty of abusing them is wrong and responsible for their actions. And it creates accountability to prevent a pattern of behaviors to be covered up over the years- thus preventing further abuse. 
 
As with all suffering, Christians need to be lights in this dark world pointing to Christ. Christ focused most of his practical ministry on people who were fragile, outcast, underserved and without advocates.
 
We represent him well to others, both in and out of the church, when we offer loving, patient support to victims of sexual abuse and when we seek to protect and prevent others from being abused. 
Posted by Debi Russell with

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