This past Sunday, Engedi Church celebrated its tenth birthday! We used the opportunity to throw a giant party as we celebrate God’s faithfulness over the years.
- Read 2 Samuel 6.14-22.
David recognized God’s faithfulness in his life. He knew that it was God, and not himself, that brought victory to David and to the people of Israel. In response, David threw a grand celebration to thank God for all that He’d done. David danced so hard that some questioned his dignity. Did David tune it down for the sake of his reputation? No! Instead, he declared that he’d become even more undignified for the glory of God.
Like King David, we want to celebrate well all that God has done through Engedi. We want to take time to reflect and thank God for His faithful provision over the past 10 years.
Question: How has God impacted you through Engedi over the years? How has He been moving in your life? Take a few minutes to thank Him for these things.
We have a multitude of things to thank God for. Over the years, He’s provided us great leadership through our elders, board members, and staff. He’s moved in such a way that the outside community has noticed and asked to support us. Perhaps the most evident part of God’s faithfulness over the years is found in Engedi’s congregation.
When Brian Aulick, Engedi’s lead pastor, left the business world to pursue ministry, some questioned his decision. Why? Because being a pastor is hard! Though Pastor Brian admits to having some hard days, he loves having the privilege of pastoring our church because of the people who attend it.
Though we may not immediately recognize it, Engedi is kind of an unusual, strange church. Here’s why:
We live in a day and age in which it’s all too common for churches to become country clubs for Christians. Engedi doesn’t fit this mold. Instead of living in an isolated bubble, we’re passionate about those who are far from God. We’re praying and building relationships with and inviting those who don’t have a relationship with God to come ask questions and explore Christianity. Not all churches do this.
We’re also weird because we’re passionate about crossing cultural boundaries and building multicultural friendships. Though human nature pushes us to hang out with people who are just like us, we refuse to be limited in such a way. Rather than demanding that everything is done our way, we’re glad to be stretched and challenged when it comes to our own cultural preferences in order to better reach out to our community.
We’re strange because, while it’s easy to long for church to be a place where everything is predictable, consistent, and comfortable, we want so much more than this. We have a heart to take risks, embrace change and sacrifice in order to do everything possible to reach people who are far from God.
Question: What makes Engedi unique for you? How have you been a part of our odd church in reaching out to those who are far from Christ, crossing cultural boundaries, and moving beyond what is predictable, consistent, and comfortable?
While we praise God for all that He’s done in, with, and through us over the past ten years, we also thank Him as we anticipate what’s to come. Reading through 1 and 2 Chronicles, we see a disturbing pattern: after intense battles and being showering with God’s provision and protection, often Israel’s kings would be begin to coast in life and leadership. Even King David was guilty of this when he was lazily staying at home, falling into all sorts of sin, rather than leading in battle.
We don’t want to be that kind of church. While God has worked in incredible ways over the past ten years, we’re not willing to coast. We’re not willing to say, “good enough” and begin to slip into cultural norms. We embrace the urgency of the New Testament as it speaks of looking forward to the day of God and speeding its coming (2 Peter 3.11-12) and praying that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly (2 Thessalonians 3.1).
Why the urgency? Because human lives are at stake! There’s too much at stake to sit back and relax. Now is the time for the church to aggressively push forward in its mission.
Question: Do you feel yourself spiritually coasting or urgently moving forward? How is God calling you to move in response to His faithfulness and mission? How are you responding to His call?
A few weeks ago, Pastor Brian shared Engedi’s vision for the next five years. One of the areas that we’re going to focus on is deployment. In the next five years, we plan to plant 2 new Engedi campuses within a 30 minute drive from our current location—campuses that will share Engedi’s name, message, values, practices, and mission topics.
We also believe that God is calling us to launch two new churches in strategic cities within a five hour drive of our current location. For us, strategic cities mean those with a larger population that have a major college or university in them. These churches won’t be called Engedi and won’t necessarily look the same but will have the same heartbeat for people who are far from God, for diversity and for the urgent spiritual and physical needs in their city and around the world.
Finally, we believe that God is calling us to send out sixty people internationally on mid and long term assignments to places of urgent physical and/or spiritual need. We believe that there are crucial humanitarian and justice issues around the world that must be addressed. We refuse to sit by while people go without food, clean water, safe housing, and families. Further, we’re are moved to action by the injustice that 3,000 people groups have never heard of Jesus.
Some would say this goal is impossible. Our response? Awesome, our God specializes in the impossible (Luke 1.37)! In fact, from our Unfinished conference alone, almost 30 people feel that God is leading them to a mid or long term assignment. God’s placed this goal on our hearts, and we thoroughly believe that if God wants to send sixty people, He’ll send sixty people.
Question: How is God moving you in regard to these deployment goals? What part is He calling you to play in them (pray, give, go, etc)?
As we look back on God’s faithfulness, we rest assured that He will remain faithful. We praise Him for how He’s been at work in and through our church and can’t wait to see where He’ll take us during the next 10 years.