This weekend we celebrated our first anniversary as Elevate Church, Vancouver. It was an incredible occasion with great music, great words of encouragement and a lot of celebration for what God has done. We were graced with an amazing message from the founder of City Bible Church and Minister's Fellowship InternationalDick Iverson. To top it off, we had an incredible meal and gifts for everyone. You can check out photos from our big day here and here. There was also a fun video documenting the year that can be watched at the bottom of this page.
I was blown away by the special gifts given to me and Rowena!!! I can tell you, I wasn't home five minutes before I was formatting my new iPad! Thank you for loving us so tangibly!
Many thanks to those of you who made the day so incredible! Space doesn't permit me to thank everyone individually, but let me name a few... my appreciation to Jeremy Fick and Saxon Williams who serve so well as Elders and presented some great information documenting the last year! Many many many thanks to Pastor Nathan and Pastor Page who put in a lot of time with logistics and video... and so much more. Two thumbs up to Jason and Cathy Stonecipher and their crew who purchased, prepared and served an incredible meal! And Extra thanks to Chris Densmore who is a decorating genius! The day was special because of all of you!
The past year has been an incredible journey. While the gestational period for our church plant took place behind the scenes in many different ways over a number of years, we officially began our journey on Sunday May 8 with very little resources or equipment, but we did have a group of very excited people committed to one another. and the course ahead.
A great deal has happened in our first year. We received our non-profit status with the State of Washington and the Federal Government. We created and adopted Articles of Incorporation and Governing Bylaws. We articulated the mission that God has called us to. We established a mobile campus meeting in northern Vancouver at Chinook Elementary. We installed Elders and licensed/ordained staff. We established all of our current ministries and installed ministry leaders that operate each Sunday and throughout the month. Incredibly, we baptized 32 people, dedicated 11 babies and brought 126 people into church membership. None of this would be remotely possible without the Lord's help!
As far as ministry beyond our walls, we have helped to support two other church plants, Hope City Church in Portland Oregon and Repurpose Church in Brunswick Ohio. We have served on several occasion with Open House Ministry in Vancouver as they serve the homeless families of our area.
Behind the scenes we have worked many hours to establish standardized curriculum that speaks to our mission and allows for better training in all areas as people come through our church doors.
Financially, the Lord has helped us in incredible ways. Besides meeting the normal expenses of a church, our families gave an additional $40,000 for equipment necessary for our Sunday gatherings. We finish our first year with all bills paid. We are debt free with $13,000 in checking, $10,000 is savings, and $3600 in our church planting fund. The church gave over $36,000 to church planting and missions in the last 12 months, all while doing weekly ministry and paying three full time pastors. To God be the glory!
As we look to our next year and years to come, we will continue to pursue to mission God has called us to with a focus on establishing a budget that is highly intentional for our priority minded to accomplish our mission (June 2012), while creating a Building Fund earmarks 10% of monthly income for that purpose. We will begin to pray for God's direction for a permanent location. We will also continue to develop our training materials so that we can better develop our leaders.
I want to thank you for being a part of this journey! Understand, the victories above are nothing short of miraculous!!! Let's continue to follow Jesus together and help others to join us!