On Sunday night I pulled into the church parking lot. There was a kind guy, smiling at me, as he directed me where to park. I waved to him and went into the lot. I parked my car and began up the steps. See it's always a bit weird when a person first walks onto a church campus but there were friendly people everywhere... I mean everywhere!
There were kids running around
There were young adults in conversation
There were people laughing and smiling
There was a donut wall
There was a station for getting water
The courtyard was great for conversation
Overall, I knew this was a church full of joy and excitement
I saw some of the people I was looking for and began talking. It was a joyful night. It was the first church service for Anthem Church. It had been years in the making. I remember driving with Chase Feindel years ago in Vegas. We went to lunch together and were talking about our future. He told me his desire to lead a church one day and I knew it would happen. Chase is such a talented leader who loves the Lord with all his heart!
We walked into the worship room and the music was great! The atmosphere was even better. People were singing to the Lord. You could literally feel the joy in the room. I wanted to take more pictures but didn't want to miss this time with God, see I didn't drive three hours to take pictures. I was there to worship, pray for and encourage.
Instead of giving you a play by play of the service let me share some pictures I snapped and their importance
This first picture is of Lauren Feindel hosting for the night. When Chase and Lauren announced that God was calling them to start a church it was thrilling. Chase shared the video with me and I watched to hear the plan. The sucky news came to me days later when Chase texted me telling me Lauren had breast cancer. I was in shock... We prayed a TON for Lauren so when she walked on stage it was thrilling to see her up there. Lauren had such a loud applause that I'm not sure if it was for her or for the start of the church. I can tell Chase and Lauren are loved in this community!
This picture was tough for me to take. Not because of the content but because I wanted to worship. The worship team was engaging and passionate. The music was great, song selection was fun and I enjoyed having some time to worship. As a pastor there are times that I don't get to engage in worship. It's not all the time but just some of the times. So a night like this was good for my soul.
My next picture was when Chase started preaching. I remember the first sermon I saw Chase preach. Chase and I used to serve on the pastoral staff of South Hills Church in Henderson, NV. Chase and I used to share an office. Then we shared a wall and had offices next door. We shared a student ministry room. We shared a lot in our time in Vegas. When I heard Chase preach I was reminded of his passion, knowledge and love for God.
I love how he encouraged everyone to bring their Bible and get familiar with God's word. I had my brought my Bible but I left it in my car! So I was convicted and encouraged by Chase's message. Chase preached on John 4 and the woman at the well.
My final picture of the night was when Chase shared the mission of Anthem Church. I loved that he came right out of the shoot and talked about what the church will be about. There are too many Churches in America (maybe the world) with no intentional mission. Anthem has a mission statement. It's short, memorable and repeatable. The mission statement is poignant and will no doubt be remembered by many as they reach people who are far from God.
I left so excited about what God will do with this new church. Please be praying for Chase, Lauren and the Anthem team.
One more thing. My old pastor, Jason Graves, leads Daybreak Church (where Anthem is being launched from). I was able to see him and his wife Corrie while there. It was so good to be with them. I was reminded of how healthy a leader Jason is. Jason took a risk on me when I was a young pastor. I love seeing his passion for reaching people who are far from God!