Relentless

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9

The Rest of the Story

In July of 2016, a team from LCC headed to our nation's capital to gather with thousands of others at one-day event called TOGETHER. During the week leading up to the event, our team served in various ministries around Washington, D.C. Those ministries included Martha's Table, Central Union Mission, and the Capital Area Food Bank. Our team had the honor of preparing meals for the homeless, packing boxes, and baking meals for the elderly and homebound. While serving at Central Union Mission, Steven Bell, our Missions & Outreach Coordinator, had the opportunity to sit down with a gentleman from West Africa named Noel. Steven was able to spend time talking and praying with Noel, learning more about his story and his struggle to find work due to visa issues.

Now a year later, Steven and a different team returned to Washington, D.C. and again worked with Central Union Mission, preparing meals and feeding the homeless. Steven was able to see Noel again and learn that while he is still staying at the center, he's successfully working for a company in the area on their marketing team. His plan is to save his money to start his own business and then move home to West Africa. 

From Steven, "Noel immediately teared up when he saw him, because he said I had such an impact on his life. He says he refers to LowCountry (LCC) all the time when he is telling people about volunteering, because we do it right." 

There are times when we think that a simple conversation and act can get someone through tough times, and maybe even change a person's life. How can your daily conversations do the same? What would happen if we actually saw each other as we are supposed to see each other? What would happen if we truly cared about others? What would happen if we lived as forgiven people? What would happen if we valued people over our opinions? This could change everything.

And now you know a little bit about the rest of the story. How can you show up for those in your life today?

Relentless in Reaching the Next Generation

by Jason Best, Executive Pastor at LowCountry Community Church

It is wonderful to see so many young families attending LCC. Every week there are new children and students experiencing church at their level in dynamic programs with our caring and well-trained leaders.

Statistics say that the older a person gets, the less likely they are to make a decision to follow Jesus. Therefore, we take our ministry to children and students very seriously. We want to make the most of every opportunity for them to begin growing in wisdom & knowledge in their relationship with God. As they grow, they begin putting their faith into practice. Can young people actually do this? Emphatically, YES!

Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me” and that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:14 & 15) This is a great challenge from God. You could argue that other ministries are just as important as kids and student ministries, but there are no ministries more important! Did you know that our weekly attendance in LCC Kids and Middle and High School gatherings is larger than most entire churches in America? However, as big as our LCC Kids and LCC Students ministries are, we aren’t even making a dent in the large number of children who live in our area that have never heard the name Jesus—except as a profanity.

That is why we are saying yes to being relentless in reaching the next generation. We’re saying yes to expanding our commitment to be there for our community’s children and students. We’re saying yes to helping families navigate some of the most difficult phases of life. The timing couldn’t be more critical and the need couldn’t be greater.  By saying yes and fostering a culture of positive, biblical growth, we are not only helping our students in the short-term, but all those who may be impacted by your legacy on their lives in the future.

Saying yes is possible because of your prayers. It's possible through your faithful giving to the LCC Relentless generosity initiative. By taking an eternal mindset, you are literally training and equipping the “heroes” that are now reaching the youngest generation. The new building’s construction is on schedule, and when finished, will be a God-given opportunity to reach even more families. Thank you!

As we move through the remainder of the summer, would you please join me in praying for our children, students, and their families? God is calling us to be relentlessly raising the next generation of leaders. How will you join in with LCC to be relentless? Also, please pray for Pastor Jeff as he spends the final weeks of his sabbatical renewing his energy, his call, and his mission as our senior pastor.

LCC Building Update

This summer we have ton of things happening on our campus! We have crews in multiple areas that are beginning work and starting the final phase/push for the summer and our opening in the fall. It's hard to believe that nearly five years ago we started this process and we are at the stage where we have electricians and framers finishing the final interior portions of the new building.  Insulation is going up, the connector between the two buildings is being worked on, and the plumbing will soon be completed!

While it can be an inconvenience, as with any construction project, we are already making accommodations for the work. Our foot traffic flow to get in and out of the current building will be affected, but it is also something to celebrate. It means we have been relentless in our mission, our community, and our world. It means that we started this movement to expand and gain momentum to reach our dreams of becoming a regional, multi-ethnic church with thousands of people from all backgrounds and experiences—and that dream is being fulfilled. It means we are developing and encouraging fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, learning to live in the security of His unconditional love. We know that we will provide multiple weekend services that offer a contemporary format, practical Bible teaching, and a safe place for people to come and bring their friends to discover and develop an authentic relationship with Jesus. We have faced many obstacles, but we have stayed true to who we are and watched God do the impossible.

Two years ago, we stated that we wanted to step out and fearlessly follow after God’s call. This fall's Grand Opening is going to be a truly special time to celebrate all that God has done for us. If you haven't already, be sure to sign up for the monthly Relentless newsletter and our weekly updates at lowcountrycc.org. We are going to be making a lot of adjustments to traffic flow over the summer and we want keep everyone updated when those changes take place.

Get ready—we are going to have fun this summer preparing for a fall like no other!

LCC Kids Serve Day & Game Night

by Vinnie Emery, Children's Pastor at LowCountry Community Church

Just like the other ministries at LCC, LCC Kids is continually striving to be relentless in the different endeavors that we take up as we partner with parents and build meaningful relationships with kids. We organize two or three different avenues a year where we give parents an opportunity to do ministry with their kids or allow kids to have some fun with their Sunday morning Life Group leaders. This spring we hosted two events to meet that goal.

The first was our LCC Kids Family Serve Day on Saturday, February 18th. Parents and their kids came to LCC and spent a morning serving two of our LCC ministry partners. First, parents and kids packed materials for Cru Military to share with those in the military in need of a helping hand spiritually. Second, the parent and kids, along with their life group leaders, constructed salvation bracelets for Hope Ministry. These bracelets will be taken to communities in Africa to be distributed to children as they attend educational opportunities run by the Hope Ministry volunteers.

We also hosted our Spring Life Group Game Night this past Friday, April 21st. Over 120 kids showed up to play five minute-to-win-it games, share ice cream, and get a little wet with some fun outdoor games. But most importantly, kids and their life group leaders got to spend some fun time together bonding and getting to know each other better. 

We know that it is vital that we be relentless in helping parents find ways to do ministry with their kids. Parents want to do more and help build their child’s faith; we just need to give them the avenues to do so. We also know that it is important that we widen the circle of voices that a child hears concerning God and His role in their lives. By hosting events like the game night, we allow kids to build a bond with their life group leader and then use that connection to have more meaningful conversations about faith on Sunday mornings.

Venit Hospes, Venit Christus

by Lisa Lewellen, Director of Membership & Volunteers

If you are like me, the first time I read this statement, I wasn’t sure what it meant—and I certainly didn't know how to pronounce it! The Latin quote Venit hospes, venit Christus by St. Benedict has a simple translation with a powerful meaning:

“When a guest comes, Christ comes.”

I would love to say that as I heard the translation, my mind connected quickly to its meaning and purpose and I was forever changed in that moment. Not exactly. The quote was one that I very much needed to hear—it gave me that feeling that I didn’t want to overlook it. As the Director of Membership & Volunteers, I certainly didn’t want to miss a message regarding guests! I reread it several times, but still found myself wondering what it meant. So I set out as most do, and began some Google-driven research.

Venit hospes, venit Christus was part of a lesson in hospitality taught by Saint Benedict (480-547 AD). His monks and priests were known throughout the centuries for providing warm welcomes to many strangers and travelers in their monasteries. They focused on what we would call today a "Hospitality 101" lesson: when we receive a guest, we should receive them as if they were Jesus Himself, directly in front of us. I’m sure you are shaking your head as I did, saying, “Absolutely! Oh, I totally do!” But do we, really?

In my role at LCC, I am always reviewing how we can continue to make others feel welcome, like a part of the family, and find ways to make a deep impact by being the hands and feet of Jesus to them. In my research, I wanted to find the true motive behind it. Was it to help others feel warm and fuzzy with a cheerful hello, or simply answer questions? Was it to give directions to the Café,
or a firm handshake to welcome a guest—almost a surface level of hospitality? Was there something deeper?

Let me introduce you to radical hospitality.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’”
- Matthew 25:34-35 (ESV)

Radical hospitality takes our serving to an even deeper level; think of it as an add-on to what we do as we serve guests. It’s a heart-depth investment. It’s hospitality from the inside of us that shows just how much we value and care for a guest, with one glaring difference: treating them as if they were Jesus...right in front of us.

In Luke 24: 13-16, we find the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who although were so saddened about Jesus’ crucifixion, did not notice who was walking alongside them. Verse 16 says, “But their eyes didn’t even recognize Him.” They had traveled, learned, and lived life with Him, yet were so distracted with grief that they failed to see Him. Many times, we too can fail to see Jesus in those right in front of us, especially when we choose to focus on ourselves.

I quickly realized that I needed to work on inviting the Holy Spirit to give me eyes and ears like Jesus, and the courage to act like Him. I knew this would help me take serving to that deeper, heart-depth level. It’s a level that I believe we, both as believers and volunteers at LCC, have truly been called to experience and be forever changed. What we are gifted to see and be part of is what so many other churches and communities pray to even glimpse. As His chosen people, we are called to be more than great hosts. We are called to actually be Christ to all and see all as Christ. We are called to be difference-makers; clothed in tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3: 10-17 NLT)

My prayer is that our eyes will see all the places Christ is in our world. And more so, that we would see the opportunity we have to view each guest as Christ and act on it, walking through any aspect of our lives with a venit hospes, venit Christus mindset. Seeing people as Jesus Himself.

That’s radical hospitality.

Compassion International

LCC is working to be relentless in our world. Read on to learn about our Director of Missions & Outreach, Benedette McGuire's recent vision trip to the country of Colombia with Compassion International:

I recently was invited to go on a vision trip with Compassion International to get a behind-the-scenes look at how they operate and strive to release children from poverty in Jesus' name.

I made the journey to Colombia, South America, at the end of January and was accompanied by Jessie Shrieve, our LCC High School & College Coordinator. We were joined by another 25 pastors and leaders from around the US and Canada. We also had the great privilege of having the President Emeritus, Wess Stafford and current President Jimmy Mellado with us for the week.

We were able to really understand what the entire Compassion International process looks like and how real connections are made through the local church in the village we visited. Compassion's child development approach helps meet the spiritual, economic, social, and physical needs of the child, enabling him or her to rise above the challenges of extreme poverty and grow into a fulfilled Christian adult. The local church is responsible for discipling these children and their families. It's an amazing journey to see first hand—these children and their families are truly experiencing life change!

One very special highlight was when Jessie and I were able to visit with our sponsored children for the day. There are no words to describe how impactful this was for us, the children, their moms, and mentors. We cannot wait to go back and visit with them again!

Another significant reason for making this journey was to see if we, as a church, wanted to officially partner with Compassion International. I do believe that this will make for an amazing partnership. We plan to launch our partnership by kicking off LCC's Missions Month the first weekend in November by hosting the Compassion Experience. This event will give everyone in the community a first-hand look at a day in the life of a sponsored Compassion child, and how vital it is for each child in need to receive a sponsor.

I cannot wait for our church family and the community to experience this. Please save the dates, November 3rd - 6th—you don't want to miss it! More details to follow.

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