theQrtrly Update: 2nd Qtr 2018
An 8-minute ministry update and financial snapshot for theHeart through June 2018.
theHeart is called to reconcile people to God and each other through Christ's Love. During the second three months of 2018, we've continued to experience exciting momentum as we attempt to be and do church in a simple way. God is on the move within our community of faith.
He is providing us with many opportunities for growth, relational wholeness, and service to others. And while our efforts may seem simple, the results have been significant. Continue reading for more about some of the specific ways we've been living out our mission together as a church family.
Reaching the Next Generation
Our Next Generation Ministry, led by Next Generations Director Ethan Hardin, focuses on teaching kids, youth, and young adults through the Gospel. The opportunities are vast, and yet our singular aim is to build deep, lasting relationships with God and one another.
After spending the first part of the year journeying through the Exodus, we looked at two different responses by God's people to the way of life he gave them at Sinai.
The month of May was spent learning of Ruth and her exemplary faith, while June focused on Jonah's reluctant sharing of the same faith.
The big news with Kids Ministry is the July sabbatical. Having the kids in the auditorium for the month has been a joy and encouragement. It is good to do church life as family. As August comes with the return of our formal Kids Ministry, we look forward to every moment spent together sharing God's story.
The Youth Group spent this quarter studying our identity in Christ. The contours of the human-divine relationship in scripture remind us just how much we mean to God: we are made in his image, we are his missionary representatives, and we are his honored guests. We discussed, studied, and grew in understanding of the way God sees us.
We also got more involved in the community. The Hunger and Health Coalition presented us opportunities to help the needy in the High Country and our youth responded. We collected items, donated our time, and helped the food pantry sort supplies for those in need around us. It is a blessing to see young believers follow Christ in service. And of course, we played lots of foursquare.
After a short break in July, we're returning to our weekly group gatherings in August, welcoming a new group of middle-schoolers with warmth and excitement.
Our interns continue to bless this church family. Five veteran interns are returning in the fall in leadership capacities in communications, relational care, youth ministry, and stage crew.
theHeart has also have selected a team of 4 first-time interns for the Fall.
While the interns are taking the summer off at theHeart, some are serving as camp counselors, others as missionaries. We look forward to starting the fall with this amazing servant-hearted team of young leaders.
Caring for One Another
With an intentional focus on Relational Care, a ministry led by Relational Care Pastor Graham Aitken, we can better develop and nurture relational wholeness within theHeart. We want to ensure that we grow deeper with one another, not just wider in attendance.
Relationships Within theHeart
theHeart has built a Prayer Team of 18 individuals with a passion for prayer and a heart to serve the church in this capacity.
We will begin a new rhythm on Sunday, August 5, with a view to creating a safe space for people who would like prayer as part of our response time during the gatherings on Sunday mornings.
As part of our ongoing efforts to build deeper relationships, we're starting a weekly college small group on Sunday nights in the Fall. Graham has been meeting with students to identify felt needs and areas of interest. Additionally he has been researching available resources, compiling them, and adding some of his own insights and experiences to develop a tailored course of study.
theHeart is assembling a team that will travel to Badplaas, South Africa, November 14-25. Our goal is to continue in partnership with our friends at Emoyeni as we assist them in their efforts of restoring orphaned sons and daughters to our Heavenly Father. Graham will be leading the team.
Relationships Throughout the High Country
As part of the Relational Care Team, Garrett and Hannah Williams have been providing leadership in the area of hospital visitation and sick care as we seek to expand our ability to care well for those in our church facing health struggles. Garrett and Hannah have been attending planning meetings with the Director of Pastoral Care at AppFaith, Melanie Childers. AppFaith is a department within the Watauga Medical Center that assists with hospital visitations, provides effective training on short- and long-term sick care and ensures effective communication with our church leadership during any emergency situations.
Graham was asked to lead one of the committees underneath the Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative (WCCI), which will strengthen our ties with the social services community and deepen this symbiotic relationship.
In addition, Graham is working with the steering committee to develop a second Trauma In Congregations training for the faith community that will assist theHeart and other churches in the community in implementing effective trauma practices in the life of our body of believers.
Life in Community
theHeart is called to develop a healthy, robust community that loves like God. For this to happen, we need to be intentional about making genuine connections with each other. Headed up by Community Life Pastor Josh Anderson, theHeart is continually identifying and creating meaningful partnerships with organizations that are doing incredible things in our community, both locally and around the world. And through Love In Action, we're removing some of the barriers that come between us and those we can serve.
A group of 4-6 committed volunteers continue to prepare and serve a hot meal at Hospitality House the third Sunday of every month.
In May, 16 people identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and publicly demonstrated their new life in Christ by getting baptized.
We helped support a gathering of women at the end of June. Several attendees of theHeart served on the leadership team and worship team. And we provided them with use of our sound equipment.
In July, we introduced an eight-session course that explores how financial freedom can lead to living out your God-given dreams. There are still spots available for anyone who would like to attend.
In partnership with our Youth Group, several volunteers spent a couple hours in June helping our friends at the Hunger and Health Coalition unload and sort donated food items.
Throughout the month of July, we are making more time for friends on Sundays. From 9am-11am, you're invited to come be with others at theHeart, enjoy some homemade biscuits and fresh coffee, play some games, and meet some new people. If that intimidates you a bit, here are five ways you can make small talk a big deal.
We continued to serve theHeart community, as well as the community at large, through our Benevolence Fund. We worked with several families in the second quarter to provide financial assistance, pastoral counseling, and offered connections to other available resources in the community. In 2018 we increased this annual budget amount and implemented a more formalized approach to vetting requests that come our way in order to have a broader and more impactful reach.
THEHEART BLEND is on tap every Sunday morning during our community hour between gatherings. You can purchase your own from our friends at Hatchet Coffee. We receive $4 from every bag of THEHEART BLEND coffee sold. To date we have received more than $350 in donations.
In an effort to share more of the heart behind theHeart, we recently launched a blog. Our hope is that by sharing stories, our community will have another way to learn more about one another and find meaningful connections in the process. You can read more here.
Nurturing A Culture of Worship
At 9am and 11am on Sunday mornings theHeart gathers together at Watauga High School as a community of believers to worship God through worship and studying God's Word. Teaching and Vision Pastor Jason English and Worship Director Erin Deuel spend long hours each week planning and preparing for our simple expression of worship.
For about 8 months, Erin worked diligently to coordinate the collaboration and creation of theHeart's first-ever music album. "Heirloom: Reflections on the Psalms" is a labor of love that features 10 original songs, all of which were written, performed, and produced by members of our worship band. When it was first released, "Heirloom" reached #35 on iTunes for Christian/Gospel music.
Spotify and Apple Music Streams combined: >15K (that's an average of around 1,500 listens per song)
575 people have listened to at least one song on Spotify. In the last 28 days alone, we've had Spotify listeners from 13 different countries.
iTunes album sales: ~50 full albums
Amount earned to date: $604.36
Erin has committed to serving Operation Christmas Child as a worship leader on 2 international trips in 2018. She just returned from supporting a volunteer team to the Uganda just weeks after supporting another team traveling to the Ukraine. Read more about her experiences.
Under the leadership of team coordinator Scott Banks, the Stage Crew is an underserved volunteer opportunity on Sunday mornings. We're hoping to build a team of 12-15 volunteers, believing that there is strength in numbers. More people means there are more than enough volunteers committed to sharing the responsibility of pulling the trailer, unloading and loading the music equipment, helping the band set up, and running the projector. There are plenty of opportunities for you to be a part of this ministry. Email Scott (email@example.com) to learn how you can volunteer with this growing area of theHeart. No experience is required.
We are excited to have our first worship team dedicated intern this coming Fall. Evan will be joining us as the Stage Crew co-coordinator.
Teaching and Vision
We are currently in an extended teaching series called "SHE: The Biblical Narrative Through the Lives of Women." You can catch up on the past 26 weeks by listening to all the messages online: https://theheart.podbean.com/
Jason is in the process of writing a book. "The Whole Thing: Capturing the Story of the Bible in 6 Images" will help people understand the Bible in a clear and memorable way. Through a Kickstarter campaign, people who believe in the vision and importance of the project have made donations that help cover publishing and promoting the book. The cost of this project will not have an impact on theHeart's annual budget.
What Still Remains
As of June, we are currently running a shortage of $54,896.57.
God has made it possible for theHeart to responsibly steward the resources He has entrusted to us, similar to what was found in the first-century church: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had” (Acts 4:32).
Our core value of simplicity affords us the unique opportunity to use the majority of your financial gifts to more effectively offer assistance to individuals and families in need, give to local organizations that serve the High Country, and support efforts to make a difference globally.
More and more people have found a home at theHeart. With this growth comes the reality that our operating expenses have increased. And yet we consistently spend less than what has been budgeted each month. For us to meet and even exceed our obligations in 2018, your financial support and commitment is more important than ever.
In addition to the initiatives we've already put into action, your generosity has made it possible for us to offer two gatherings on Sundays. This opens up more seats for even more people to find a place at theHeart. And you've made it possible for us to add to our staff and implement ways that we support and further develop a vibrant church life. All of this is being done in an effort to help us grow deeper in our relationships with God and one another.
How You Might Respond
Regular and even increased contributions are essential as we plan and prepare for the future. Your financial gifts are especially important as we continue to find effective ways to reconcile people to God and each other through Christ's Love. Simple.
If you believe in theHeart and you support our mission , please consider giving as Paul instructed: "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
Whether you schedule regular donations online, give as an act of worship on Sundays, or simply give as you are able, your financial support will help theHeart navigate 2018 with strength and confidence.
3 Easy Ways to Give
Give online at theHeart.us anytime
Text to give at 828.848.4020
Make a donation as you feel led on Sundays
We look forward to the many ways God will continue to use theHeart for His purpose in the High Country and around the world. And we are eager to partner with you in furthering His Kingdom on earth.
—theHeart Leadership Team and Staff