Last weekend blew my mind. In the history of Thousand Hills we never had this many people attending our services in one single weekend! 822 was the total count of all adults and children who came to our two Easter services on Sunday and the Good Friday Communion two days earlier.
Now you may think: it’s not about numbers. In one way, it’s not. Every single person matters to God. In another way, it is all about numbers: numbers of lives changed, marriages restored, people healed, etc. The more people we can reach, the more God’s glory will become visible in Hilversum and ‘t Gooi.
The water baptisms last Sunday proved to me what amazing things God is doing in our midst and the great number of lives he is impacting through us. Eleven people had indicated they wanted to be baptized… but after extending the invitation to everyone else who wanted to follow Jesus and make that public through baptism, ten more people came forward and were baptized too. Among them were many young people!
What made the Easter weekend great?
But what made this weekend so great? Here are a few ingredients I was able to identify:
- Prayer, prayer, prayer. Not only our individual prayers at home, but also the involvement of our Hour of Prayer group.
- Inviting. Many of you have invited your friends, family and neighbors maybe to witness your baptism or just so that they could be part of an amazing Easter service. Thank you! Keep doing this for every service and event in the church!
- Great leaders and volunteers. You know who you are! You’re making a big difference in the lives of others!
- Outreach. There was an amazing outreach to the poor and needy in our area on Saturday. When we care for the people God cares about, he will bless us!
- Expectation and faith. When we challenge ourselves to believe God for greater things for our church, our families and our lives, God will honor that. I noticed the spiritual thermostat last Sunday was turned up higher than ever before. It is because you came full of faith and expectation.
So thank you if you served last weekend! Thank you if you invited others! Thank you if you took that bold step to be baptized and make your faith public for all of us to see!
I have already heard some rumors that there were more people who are seriously considering water baptism after witnessing the baptisms last Sunday. I already know of one young guy who wants to take that step. So we’re planning our next baptism services on Sunday, June 10, and believe for many more people to join him. We’ll do baptisms in both our services.
Next year Easter?
So what about Easter next year? Yes, we’ll do water baptisms. Again, I believe it’s going to be an amazing weekend.
So today I met with our Pastoral Lead Team and I asked them the question: how many people do you believe God for in 2013? And the numbers that we felt God was giving us were quite a bit higher than last weekend’s numbers. In fact, when those people will actually come (and I believe when we believe God for that, he will surprise us with even more) two services won’t even be enough.
Here’s the challenge: there seems to be some kind of universal “prime time” for church services, which is between 10:00 and 12:00. Our English service is a prime time service because it starts at 11:15. But there is no way we can fit another full service in in prime time. And the English Easter service this year was already bursting out of its seams…
So we need extra services… we probably will need three services in total… but apart from that 11:15 service they can’t be held during prime time. We will have our regular 9:15 service time for the Dutch service, so if you understand Dutch we’ll be quite intentional in asking you to consider attending that service.
Why would we ask you to do such a thing? And why would you be willing to put up with this inconvenience? I believe that if you do, you make room for new people to come to the “prime time” service so that they can hopefully start a relationship with Jesus or at least come one step closer to knowing him. Are you willing to be inconvenienced so more people can find Christ?
And what’s a good moment for that third service? We’re not sure yet and would value your input! I’d also like to hear from you what you believe God for for Easter 2013. Be sure to leave a comment below!
Did you miss our Easter weekend? Be sure to watch the sermon videos (English first, then the Dutch one). At the beginning of those sermon videos you can see the video with the testimonies of the people who were baptized (the ones who signed up beforehand).