Summer is drawing to a close. As we prepare for what we’re praying will be a big fall at Pleasant Valley, let’s take a minute to look back on some of the exciting things God has done this summer.
Summer is typically an unusual time for churches as many people are out of town traveling and vacationing. Despite the different rhythm, we saw many new faces around the church as God has continued to be kind in sending new people our way. In addition to all of the new people who have been worshipping with us on Sunday mornings, we saw 26 people go through the New Member Class and be added to our covenant membership. Most of all, we were excited to celebrate over 15 baptisms as God saved people who were far from him and gave them new life.
This summer we took a break from our Missional Communities and gathered on Wednesday nights for a series entitled “Deeper”. Each Wednesday we came together to wrestle through many of the deeper and more difficult issues of the Christian faith, including such things as election, spiritual warfare, the revelation and authority of Scripture, and a number of other topics. These gatherings led to great conversations as people from different churches and theological backgrounds came together to discuss these issues. While this series is ending with the summer and our Missional Communities will resume, we hope that these conversations will go on as we continue to think through these questions together in community.
In July we had Love Loud, a yearly service event where hundreds of people came together to serve less-fortunate families and children in our community. We saw tons of people come through to receive school supplies, dental check-ups, haircuts, back-to-school clothes, and to have other physical needs met. Most importantly, each family heard the Gospel clearly and built a relationship with a family from our church who was able to show them the love of Christ tangibly. Many of the families who were served at Love Loud have become a part of the Pleasant Valley family and continue to attend here regularly. It was great to see God move in our community through Love Loud, and we look forward to seeing how it continues to bear fruit in the coming months.
Our Student Ministry had a big summer as our new Director of Student Ministries, Aaron Grant, hit the ground running. On Wednesday nights, we launched a new student worship service that has grown very quickly. Each Wednesday, nearly 50 students gathered to walk through a series entitled, “What is the Gospel?” as Aaron sought to establish a biblical foundation from which to empower teenagers to live missionally and engage our city with the Gospel. Through regular discipleship, community-building activities, and trips like summer camp, the summer months have seen growth and maturity in the lives of many students. We are really excited to see how God uses the foundation built in these initial months to grow our students and to see teenagers in our community come to know Jesus.
In August, we partnered with Heartland Worship Center in Paducah to send another team to Thailand to work with the Thai Nyaw people, the unreached people group that we have adopted. This trip was the final planning trip before we begin to send larger teams from our church, and it was very productive in finalizing our short and long-term strategies in Thailand. Most importantly, for the first time in history, on this trip the Gospel was preached in two Nyaw villages where the name of Jesus had never before been spoken. It was an extremely humbling and exciting experience, and many Nyaw people were very interested in the Gospel and wanted to know more. In God’s providence, we identified some nearby Thai Christians who are not Nyaw, but can work with a local missionary on the ground there to follow up with these people. Taking the Gospel into a place for the first time is a very difficult task, but is equally exciting, and we can’t wait to see how God uses our efforts there over the next few years to save the Nyaw people.
As summer is ending and we look forward to the fall, it’s clear that God has been very good to us at Pleasant Valley. We have much for which to be thankful and to celebrate as we’ve seen him move in big ways within our church, around our city, and even on the other side of the world. God is working in a unique way at Pleasant Valley, and we’re so thankful and excited to be a part of what he’s doing as we glorify God, grow, and go for the Gospel.