I was just reflecting on the end of summer. It could not have ended better for the Bryant family. A sweet former GS family allowed us to stay at their home in Bend for the week, and my family had a great time. We boated Lake Billy Chinook, hung out in Old Mill District, floated the Deschutes River, and hiked the Tam MacArthur Rim, Tumalo Falls and Smith Rock. Needless to say, we were exhausted at the end of that vacation. Had I only anticipated all that would be going on at Good Shepherd in September and October, I would have slept in a few more days (or maybe at least one day!)
Last week, our 8-week groups launched. Many of the groups are digging in to the Makings series about our mission, vision and core values. This week, men’s and women’s ministries begin. I’m personally excited to get plugged in and get to know more of our men over breakfast, in the Word, all while building new friendships. Our kids’ pastor, Daniel Carnahan, is launching a parenting discipleship pathway with Father-Daughter Date Night. My 9-year old daughter is geared up for this Western hoedown! Our marriage pastor, Alan Hlavka, is launching a marriage discipleship pathway with the Stronger Together event. And that’s just the tip of all that’s happening around here in the fall.
This weekend, Pastor Justin will be introducing our new GS app that can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play Store. Our goal is to make all of our GS resources l easily accessible in one place through this app. I hope you have noticed that we have committed time and energy to continue to build better communication with our church. Another new communication method that we introduced over the summer is our GS Podcast. I’m so thankful for my friend Sean Campbell who is hosting the podcast. Sean has been attending GS for nearly fifteen years, and we’ve been meeting weekly for many months now. Sean is a gift to our church.
More will be shared this weekend, but now that many people are back in a regular rhythm at GS, it’s time to give an update on our budget. Last year, God generously worked through His people to give $4.6M in offerings. This was a wonderful increase in giving from the previous year. As the elders and staff prayed and planned, we asked if the Lord desired us to place a faith element in our budget. We believed that a faith amount of $200,000 or 4.4% growth in giving was what was on our hearts. While summer giving often is seasonally lower, we would like to invite you to join us in giving faithfully to what the Lord lays on your heart.
As you pray for Good Shepherd daily, I hope the Lord fills you with a similar joy and anticipation as what He is giving many of us. And be sure to say a quick hello to one of pastors this weekend. I know I truly enjoy the conversations I have in the lobby.