Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Great Christmas Eve Service!

ChristmasEve 09


It was a great way to close out the year with two Christmas Eve services at the red barn. Milo and his dad Marvin did a great job leading us in Christmas worship songs. Several commented to me this was one of our best services we have had at the barn.

I heard CJ Cauble did a great job in my absence last Sunday. I am grateful for him and his family and what they mean to our church. I also am excited to have Jim Crittendum speak this Sunday. Jim works for our International Mission Board responding to counseling needs to our missionaries. You will get to hear firsthand how the money you have given this Christmas for the Christmas offering is making a difference globally.

I look forward to being with you January 10 as I share my state of the church address. I can't wait to share with you what God is stirring in my heart.


Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve at red barn!

I am looking forward to our two Community Christmas Eve services at the red barn (6 pm & 8 pm). This has quickly become a tradition for many not only in our church, but also in our community. Don't forget to bring your "Christmas Offering" with you. No greater gift can you give this Christmas than the financial gift that will enable many people to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.

Don't let all the commercialism of the season keep you from the reason of the season.
Hope to see you and your family this Christmas eve!
Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Former University of South Carolina Quarterback Garry Harper To Speak This Sunday: "Husbands Who Love & Lead"

Don't miss this Sunday as we conclude our message series, The Perfect Family Christmas, with guest speaker Garry Harper. Garry played for the Gamecocks from 1977 - 1980. During his senior year in 1980, he was the QB who handed the ball off to the eventual winner of the Heisman trophy that year, running back George Rogers (see above reunion picture). Garry had many accomplishments on the field, such as leading South Carolina over Michigan; it was one of  the biggest victories in school history. They went on the Gator bowl that season.
In spite of his success on the football field, Garry is most proud of his family. His wife of 27 years, Karen, will also be with us Sunday. He is the proud father of Shane, Daniel, and Kara. All three kids are in their twenties and are passionate about Jesus Christ. Garry has an incredible testimony of how he came to know Christ by a fellow teammate. His life has never been the same! I came to know Garry as a middle school student at Taylors First Baptist where Garry was a member at the time. He and Karen were my discipleship teachers and they were great models for me of a Christian marriage. They will be great models for you as well.
After graduating from USC, Garry spent 12 years with IBM and resigned in 1992 to attend New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He majored in Old Testament/Hebrew. He spent 10 years as a full-time Baptist minister. In 1999 he entered back into the business world and became a VP for one of the largest Auto ID industry distributors in the US. He is now a Client Exec for Agilysys in Greenville. He is a member of the Spartanburg School District 5 School Board and is a Chaplain for the Spartanburg County Sheriffs office. He is a member of NewSpring Church Greenville.
Garry says his purpose in life is to "Cause God joy and to point people to Jesus where I am every day and in every way. I love to be prepared at all times to give a defense for the hope that is within me, yet with fear and reverence.  I love ALL people because of the love of Jesus that is in me."
You don't want to miss this Sunday! We have a special treat for a lucky Clemson fan. Bring a friend!
Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

This Sunday "Christmas Offering" Live Chat With SBC International Missionaries Tim & Anna N. Stationed Off African Coast

This week you will be receiving your Christmas offering letter in the mail. For the last two Sundays we have shown videos of how your offering goes directly to support over 5,000 Southern Baptist missionaries who are all over the world. Did you know that Southern Baptists, through our annual (Lottie Moon)l Christmas offering, are able raise support for our missionaries so that they can go to the field without having to raise their own support. One such couple on the field is Tim, Anna, and Judah (last name withheld). They have been an active part of our church over the last year and a half. They are now on the field and are at language school. We are going to call them Sunday morning using Skype and hear firsthand how God is at work. Remember, you judge a church not by it's seating capacity but by it's sending capacity. So, I will see you Sunday. Please give prayerful consideration how much God would have you give for this year's Christmas offering.    
Red Barn Christmas Eve Services
Last year over 300 people attended our Christmas eve services at the Red Barn. Like last year, we will be offering two services at the same time: 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. I am excited about this year as we have worked to really simplify the evening. In fact, Milo Wilson has made an instrument he will be playing that night. You don't want to miss it! Please bring family and friends!
See you Sunday!
Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Parents Who Guide This Sunday at Ridgeview

Pictured above is our family's dinner table. We bought it at Wal-Mart 10 years ago. It is certainly not the most expensive piece of furniture we own (have you checked out the prices on Pottery Barn furniture?) but it is certainly the most important, especially as it relates to Parents Who Guide. Ephesians 6:4 states, "And fathers, don't stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." I look forward to seeing you this Sunday at Ridgeview as I co-teach with my wife Tanya principles from God's Word on training and instructing children. Are we the experts? No, certainly not! We are on this parenting journey like many of you. We simply want to share some things we've learned from God's Word and some ideas for implementing His principles in teaching our two boys. I know you will take away at least one thing this Sunday to help you guide your kids in the way in which they should go.
See you Sunday! 
Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend at Ridgeview!

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday for what is one of the special Sundays in the life of our church. It is unlike most Sundays we have, so let me fill you in on the plan:
a) All Growth Groups will be cancelled this Sunday.
b) Our morning gathering will begin at normal time (10:30 a.m.).
c) We will have a brunch in the cafetorium from 10:30 a.m. -11:15 a.m. You are encouraged to bring left-overs from Thanksgiving, pastries, etc. You also are encouraged to come even if you do not have any food to bring. We will have plenty of food. Remember, this is a brunch, not a full-fledged meal.
d) We will have the morning worship officially beginning at 11:15 a.m. The preschoolers will then be taken to their classrooms for an abbreviated teaching time.
e) We will have a time for you to share the things you are grateful for in your life (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
f) We will light the Advent candle to usher in the Christmas season.
g) I will share a short message on "Families that show gratitude" and then we will conclude with the Lord's Supper as we reflect on the greatest reason we have to be thankful this season: Jesus Christ.
Ridgeview receives 135 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child!
Thank you Ridgeview Church for your generosity in donating shoe boxes filled with gifts for children that will go literally around the globe. It is a great way for you to be a bridge of God's love to kids who will experience the love of Christ in a practical way and they will have an opportunity to come to know Jesus as their Savior this Christmas. According to our records, we received 135 total shoe boxes! It has been a great lesson for all of us. Christmas isn't about getting, it's about giving! Special thanks go out to Liz Niles and Lainey Lee who made Operation Christmas Child at Ridgeview Church a success. I believe one day we will meet people in heaven who will thank us for the shoe box we sent to them and they were able to hear about the good news of Jesus Christ. That will be a wonderful day!
Ridgeview Christmas Offering
Did you know millions around the world have never heard the name Jesus? Did you know thousands around our community know about Jesus but do not know Him in a personal relationship? This year Ridgeview will receive the annual Christmas offering on Christmas eve at the Red Barn. During the 6:00 p.m. and the 8:00 p.m. services there will be a time for you and your family to come forward and give your offering. Fifty-percent of the offering will go to international missions through the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. The other fifty-percent of the offering will go to support local bridge events in our community (i.e. four single mom free oil changes, Good News Club, many servant evangelism projects, benevolence, community Easter egg hunt, mega sports camp, etc.). Please understand the nature of an offering. Many special offerings were held in the Old Testament. They were to be given over and above one's tithe to the Lord. You are asked to begin praying now how much the Lord would have you give this year. One rule of thumb our family keeps is this: we always give our biggest gift to Jesus during Christmas. After all, it's all about Him anyway.
See you Sunday!
Pastor Tommy

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Health & Wealth Gospel
I am currently reading a great (but long) book by Randy Alcorn entitled, If God is Good: Faith in the midst of evil and suffering. Sooner or later every person who calls himself or herself a Christian will face suffering and adversity. It is not a sign of one's lack of faith in God- it's called life on earth that has been tainted by sin. Randy Alcorn says that prosperity theology teaches that God will bless with material abundance and good health those who obey him and lay claim to his promises. There are an abundance of tv preachers who espouse that theology every day. Just one problem: it wasn't the case in the life of Paul, who was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, prayed 3 times for healing, and eventually was beheaded by emperor Nero. Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and nearly all the prophets suffered "because they were righteous." John the Baptist was beheaded. Jesus was crucified.
If you are suffering (and you know it's not due to unconfessed sin in your life) take comfort in that you are in good company. They endured to the end. You can too. Compared to eternity, it will all be over in just a little while. Persevere!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Marriage & Family Therapist Jim Harbin To Speak This Sunday

Marriage & Family Therapist Jim Harbin To Speak This Sunday on "Husbands & Wives Who Relate Intimately" 

I am pumped about "The Perfect Family Christmas" message series and this Sunday's guest speaker, Jim Harbin. Jim is a marriage and family therapist at Piedmont Psychiatry. Recently, he has led seminars at Brookwood Church, First Presbyterian Greenville, and Taylors First Baptist. He brings years of expertise to the topic Sunday. I will be in the front row taking good notes. Bring a friend! 

Operation Christmas Child Collection This Sunday 

Last Sunday we addressed the topic "Families Who Serve." I shared with you how important it is to serve one another in your family as well as serving the Lord. I shared the importance of instilling in your children the value of service. Operation Christmas Child is a great way for you to teach your children the value of service and of giving. Last Saturday night my family went out to buy items for our shoeboxes. We sought to teach our boys why we were doing it. Please bring your boxes THIS SUNDAY as we collect them on the stage in the worship center. We will pray over these boxes and ask God to use them to connect many kids to Christ. What an opportunity! 

Thanksgiving Sunday: Brunch, Lord's Supper, No student and adult Growth Groups or Ridgekidz for grade school 

Thanksgiving weekend at Ridgeview is a very special Sunday in the life of our church. Please bring a small dish to share for brunch. We will  meet at 10:30 am- no Growth Groups at 9:30 am or Ridgekidz. Our preschool kids will gather with us at 10:30 am for brunch and then will be dismissed around 11:15 am for the rest of the service. I will share a message entitled "Families that show gratitude." We will also partake of the Lord's Supper. It will be a time for you to share how grateful you are for the Lord's blessings in your life.  

See you Sunday! 

Pastor Tommy 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This Sunday is a Big Day!

This Thursday through Saturday thousands of direct mail pieces from Ridgeview Church will be landing in mailboxes all over northern Greenville County. We are inviting the community to come to our church for what promises to be a great marriage and family message series. I do not have to tell you the trouble families are going through in our community. You see it everywhere and many of you have experienced pain in your own family. I believe God's Word can help! I am burdened by the crisis I see in families and as we go into the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, the problems will only be magnified for many. We have help available through God's Word and through His church like Ridgeview. It's one of many ways we want to bridge people to Jesus and the hope He brings this season.

So, with that in mind, Sunday is a Big Day! Guests will be arriving in our parking lot not knowing where to go. They will walk through the doors of Mountain View Elementary School with the number one emotion of fear. They will be wondering, "Where do I take my kids?" "Where do I go for the worship service?" "What kind of church is this?" "Do they handle snakes here?" "Am I going to be made to look stupid?" "Are they going to put me on the spot and embarrass me?" Many of these questions will be going through the minds of guests Sunday. We must be a bridge of God's love to them and make them feel welcome and comfortable.

How? How do we do that? Well, what if you had dinner guests at your home Friday night? The same principle applies. We need to warmly welcome them as they arrive in the parking lot. We need to have greeters at all entry points showing and walking with them to where they take their kids and the worship center. We must be more concerned in talking and welcoming our guests than our own church friends on Sunday morning. We must pray today, tomorrow, Friday, Saturday, and especially Sunday that God's Holy Spirit would not only bring those who need to be there, but their hearts would be open. We must smile!

I am excited about our message series. I promise you I have worked hard on the message Sunday and the message series to get everyone who walks through our doors the best help possible to improve their marriage and family. God's Word has the answers. Please pray He would use me and our guest speakers to clearly present it to every person present.

See you Sunday!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Perfect Family Christmas

I want to give you a heads up about our new message series that begins
Sunday, November 15 entitled, The Perfect Family Christmas. With the
approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays at hand, many families
will be spending more time together. For some families these will be
sweet times of fun, joy, laughter, and wonderful memory making
opportunities. For others, it will be a dreaded nightmare. I am
burdened about marriage and families in our culture today. They are
under attack. The Perfect Family Christmas message series can't
promise to deliver you a perfect family, but I guarantee if you build
your family on the building block principles I will share each Sunday
from the Bible, you will see a dramatic improvement this season!

Here's the schedule. Please make plans to be here each Sunday and
invite those family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to what
promises to be an incredible message series!

November 15 - Families Who Serve
November 22 - Husbands And Wives Who Relate Intimately (Guest speaker:
Jim Harbin, Marriage and Family Therapist, Piedmont Psychiatry)
November 29 - Families That Show Gratitude (Thanksgiving Brunch)
December 6 - Parents Who Guide
December 13 - Children Who Obey And Honor Parents

Got a Refrigerator?

Bridge opportunity in our Community: A family using an ice-chest because of no refrigerator
There is a family that just moved in our community Pastor Tommy met in "Bridging with Bread" visitation night. They have four kids and no refrigerator. They have been using an ice-chest. If you have an old refrigerator you would like to donate or if you would like to buy them one, please contact Pastor Tommy (, 630-9459). Because of the faithful giving of the Ridgeview family, we were able to pay their utility bill.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clergy Appreciation Month

Pastors Tommy and Milo are presented appreciation notes and gift cards for "Clergy Appreciation Month" from Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Milo and me were pleasantly surprised Sunday night at the Fall Festival by your kindness in recognizing us and showing us your appreciation of our ministry at Ridgeview Church. There is nothing like being in full-time Christian ministry working in a church like Ridgeview. We get to experience the highs of life with you (baptisms, weddings, births of new family members, graduation, service projects, mission trips). We get to experience the lows of life with you (funerals, marriage problems, school issues, health issues/hospital, loss of job). We've prayed for you, encouraged you, challenged you, and sought to help you experience the abundant life Christ has promised (John 10:10). At times, ministry can take a toll on Pastors. I read a survey a while back done by the Barna research group and Focus on the Family that relayed some sobering statistics:
  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  • Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression
  • Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
  • Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.
Those are sobering statistics! We are both grateful to be serving in a church like Ridgeview. This is an incredible church family! We both are giving God our best by serving alongside you. First Thessalonians 5:12-13 from the Message states, "And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!" Your encouragement last Sunday night was most appreciated and means a lot to both of us. We'll continue to do our best with God's help to lead Ridgeview to maximize her potential to bring God the greatest glory!
Pastor Tommy 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall Festival Fellowship This Sunday!

Fall Festival Fellowship This Sunday!
This is my favorite run of the year- the trifecta of Halloween/Fall Festivals, Thanksgiving, & Christimas! We kick it off this Sunday for our Fall Festival fellowship at the home of Sandee Stroud from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. There will be good food (potluck), games, a bonfire to make smores, all culminating in trunk or treat. So, bring some candy, dress up your trunk, and be prepared to scare little children. See you then!
Earthmovers series continues this Sunday with "4 keys to a life of miracles"
Last Sunday, a first time guest shared with me how excited he was about this message series we've started. This Sunday I will share four essential keys to living a life of miracles. I look forward to sharing with you some stories on how God has been working through these principles in my own life and in the lives of people I know.
See you Sunday!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Earth movers: You were born for this" message series begins this Sunday!

"Earth movers: You were born for this" message series begins this Sunday!
Recently, I read Bruce Wilkinson's latest book entitled, You were born for this: 7 keys to a life of predictable miracles. It impacted me greatly. This Sunday we are going to base our new message series from the principles of this book which bases its principles from the Bible. Our series is based on the premise that God wants to work through (a "Special Delivery Agent") you to accomplish only what He can do to significantly change someone's life for the better.
Imagine if you will a lifestyle of where God works through you in unexplainable ways to do miracles on a regular basis. God is waiting for obedient people to say "here I am" to move on this earth what He wants done. You were born to live a supernatural life doing God's work by God's power.You were born to walk out of your door each morning believing God will use you to deliver a necessary miracle today. This message series will show you how!
I will see you Sunday!
Pastor Tommy

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Ridgeview Church Health Summary Results: The good and the areas of improvement

This summer over fifty people from Ridgeview Church participated in a
survey administered by the church health department of the South
Carolina Baptist Convention. I received the results from our church
consultant, Dennis Lynn, who went over them personally with me. We
then met with our Advisory Team two weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon to
go over the results with them. I'd like to share some of these results
with you. We scored strongest in worship, followed by ministry, and
then fellowship. Our lowest areas were: evangelism, followed by
prayer, and our lowest category we scored in was that of discipleship.
You can see our actual results from the bar graph above.

What does this reveal to me? It confirms what I already knew about our
church and has made me aware of the things we need to work on. It has
given me great hope and optimism. We have already begun working on
areas we need improvement in (i.e. evangelism and discipleship) and
will continue to do so during this Fall season. The next step for our
church is what is known as a collaborative workshop. It will be a
Friday night and Saturday morning time for us to meet with our other
church consultant, Don Matthews. We will come together to seek input
and more solutions on how our church can maximize our fullest
potential. We will see ways we can better fulfill our purpose to be a
bridge of God's love to all people so they may experience His purpose
for their lives. I will be getting dates to you soon on when this
workshop will be conducted. Due to the busyness of the season, our
Advisory team has recommended it be held in the first quarter of 2010.

God is at work at Ridgeview Church! There are exciting things planned
this month and next for all six of the categories measured from the
survey. It is a joy to be on this journey with you!

In Christ,

Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A bridge story

This summer I began making visits in our community to new homeowners
and new movers. I have been delivering fresh Panera sourdough bread
bowls. I'd like to share with you how God has used those visits to
impact a family...

This summer as I was making those bread visits, I came to a home off
of Groce Meadow Road. A guy named John Williams came to the door. I
told him who I was and that I was from Ridgeview Church. I told him
our church wants to be a bridge of God's love to all people and I
brought his family some bread as a way of blessing them and as a way
to let them know God loved them. He was appreciative of my visit.
Well, the next day (Sunday) guess who came through the doors of our
church? John and his family! They have been coming faithfully ever
since! Pictured above is John and Lisa on the right with his two
daughters and their newest family member: John Thomas Williams. John
Jr was born Monday night at Greenville Memorial hospital weighing in
at 7 lbs even. He is adorable!

I was talking with John recently about how we met, and he told me he
and Lisa had been talking about getting back involved in a church .
And then I came to their door. I don't believe that was by accident.
As I shot some video footage of their baby in the hospital room Monday
night, John shared that his son would be a "church going son." You
see, all it took was for me to step out, show a little kindness, and
their family is now connected to the loving care of a church like
Ridgeview. John shared how touched he was when some ladies in our
church presented them with some baby gifts in a large basket Sunday.
They have been blown over by our church's kindness.

I believe there are opportunities every week to be a bridge of God's
love to all people. All you have to do is make yourself available. We
provide every Monday night an opportunity to go out and take bread to
new movers, new homeowners, first time guests, people we've touched
through sports camps, single mom free oil changes, etc. Unfortunately,
many people in our church are missing that opportunity. I'd like to
invite you to give of your time to make a difference in the lives of
people by coming Monday night to our "Bridging with Bread" visitation
night. All I'm asking is that you give one Monday night a month. We
will pair you up with a partner and you can go out and bless people.
If everyone in our church came once a month, think of the impact that
could make! We would have bridge stories every week to celebrate. I
don't know about you, but I like celebrating.

If you would like to get in on this amazing opportunity, please call
or email me (630-9459, with the Monday
night you'd like to come. Is it easy for everyone to do this? No!
Nothing worth doing for the Kingdom is always easy. But the rewards of
seeing a family connected to Christ and His Church are always worth

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chris Crist to speak this Sunday on "What are you afraid of?" A don't miss event!

Exactly one year ago Chris Crist received the worst news of his life
at the doctor's office. It was discovered "almost" accidentally he had
kidney cancer. I'll never forget the day I found out. Many who know
him remember exactly where they were as well. I was out of town
sitting in a McDonalds. My wife Tanya was with me when I received the
call from Erin Wilson. I was in shock. News quickly spread not only in
our community, but literally throughout the southeast. Chris and
Tonya's life had intersected with many people and many people began to
pray. Surgery was scheduled in November at Duke. Still more and more
people prayed and read the journal updates from the
website. God answered those prayers!  The surgery was a success!

Fast forward to about two months ago. Chris and myself got together to
have lunch. In our conversation, Chris shared with me that God had
laid on his heart a message that he wanted to share at Ridgeview. I
told him I would be glad for him to speak. As I went back to look at
my preaching calender to find a date that would work, Sunday,
September 27, was a good date. Little did I know at the time the
significance of that date for Chris.

Chris will be sharing a message entitled, "What are you afraid of?"
Chris has a message God has laid on his heart. It will be a powerful
Sunday because he has a powerful story of the power of God at work in
his life. I would like for you to do two things before this Sunday.
First, pray for Chris. As he jokingly stated on his journal blog,
"come and watch me crash and burn." Please pray not that he would
crash but that he would burn with the passion of God's Holy Spirit
speaking through him. Secondly, I would ask of you to invite someone
to church this Sunday that does not know the grace and mercy of Jesus
Christ. Andrew brought his brother Peter to see this Jesus everyone
was talking about. Who can you bring this Sunday? I believe lives are
going to be changed by the power of Christ!

Expectantly looking to Sunday!

Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fall Sunday Morning Growth Groups Underway!

Pictured above are two of our Growth Groups from last Sunday (Cauble Group and College Group). Notice the smiles on their faces. I am happy to report to you that we had a great start to this experiment of having our Growth Groups meeting on Sunday morning. Many people shared with me they liked the change. In fact, I received an email this week that stated, "I just wanted to let you know how much I loved being at Ridgeview last Sunday. I really liked having the growth groups before the service – I felt so much more connected to the others in our group and to the sermon." Another person shared with me after the service Sunday that she had been attending Ridgeview for five years. She shared that she had gotten to know more people on Sunday because of attending the Growth Group than she had gotten to know in the previous five years. That's awesome to hear!
Many thanks go out to those who showed up at 7:30 am to help set up "church" due to the new schedule. Because of your commitment to come early, 76 total people were involved in Bible study groups from preschool to adults. Because you showed up early our people were able to connect with one another in fellowship, grow closer to God and one another in the study of His Word, and have an opportunity to pray for one another- all before the 10:30 am worship service! Special thanks go out to Paul Eill who has been working with me to form these Groups. He called many families on Saturday reminding them of the new schedule. Paul and Paula Eill are the newest members of our church and have been a tremendous blessing to our church family. I would also like to thank Shelley Thompson. She lined up people to come and help set up at 7:30 am. She made it possible for a stress free morning for all of us and allowed us to focus on the main thing.
Where to Groups go from here?
This Fall semester (September 13 - December 13) our Growth Groups will meet each Sunday morning at 9:30 am - 10:15 am. They are open Groups and if you were unable to attend Sunday, then rest assured we have a seat waiting for you! Each Growth Group will be asked once a month to serve on Sunday morning with set up and take down along with participating in our Greeters ministry on their Sunday. We are also encouraging each Group to get involved in our various Bridge projects by serving once a month in these incredible opportunities for outreach (i.e., Bridge for Bread, Single Mom's Free oil change, etc). Just because we have moved our Growth Groups on Sunday morning in no way means our vision has changed. We have always stressed that small groups are incredibly important. We are just moving them to Sunday mornings as opposed to during the week. If you would like to get involved in a Group, please call or email me or Paul Eill (, 630-9459 or, 877-6227).
I am looking forward to this Sunday as we open Psalm 51. We will examine it not only in our Growth Groups but it will also be the text I will be preaching from. I will be sharing three things to do for restoration when you have sinned. My guess you will have dealt with that sin thing before Sunday, so come prepared to hear what God's Word has to say and receive some help.
See you Sunday,

Tommy Hargrove
864 630 9459

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunday School Versus Off-Campus Groups
This Sunday we kicked off our Fall Growth Group semester doing something we've never done before at Ridgeview Church: Growth Groups on Sunday morning. Okay, call it what you want- we have Sunday School for adults at Ridgeview Church now. You know what? I really liked it! For the last 5 years we have had our Growth Groups meet off campus in homes. I've enjoyed those times too! But, we thought we'd try an experiment for the semester. There was a buzz in the air Sunday as people made there way into church an hour earlier and found a Grouth. One advantage I saw was it allowed us to fellowship with another, study the Scripture text that I would preaching from together in a smaller setting, and pray for one another- all before worship. I'm really not an either or guy- Sunday School small groups or off-campus groups. Actually, I'm a both/and. I'd like to see our church offer them both this coming Spring. Would love to get your thoughts.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Positive Attitude!
I've read a little over the last couple of months on attitude. I had noticed that mine had begun to drop a bit. I didn't like that at all! Over vacation this summer I read Jeffrey Gitomer's book entitled: Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude: How to find, build, and keep a Yes! Attitude for a lifetime of success. I also read some weeks ago Wayne Cordero's book entitled Attitudes That Attract Success. Then, I came across two excellent podcasts on itunes (which are also free) from Zig Ziglar and Jon Gordon. They are packed with great advice on keeping a positive attitude. I have numerous quotes I've collected over the years and a few pertain to attitude. Two of my favorite are, "Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% on how you react to it" (Chuck Swindoll) and "The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude (William James).
One thing I've begun doing is something Zig Ziglar highly recommends called "self talk." Before I go to bed and when I get up I speak positive affirmations. He actually has a self talk card on his website ( Life will always be filled with challenges and there is always something that we can gripe and complain about. Many of those things we have no control over. But, there is one thing we do have control over and that is our attitude to the stuff of life. So, get up out of bed and say, "It's going to be a great day!" It's amazing when you speak positive affirmations you actually start believing them and it changes your whole day. Try it. It's made a difference in my life.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Fall Growth Group Schedule

Dear Friend,


I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend. I also hope for many of you the new school year has gotten your family off to a great start! I am excited about the fall season at Ridgeview Church and some upcoming changes I would like to share with you.



Last Spring, our Advisory team began to dialogue on various areas of our church ministries. Out of those meetings I felt led to implement some changes in our small group ministry. We have always emphasized that small groups are important at Ridgeview. That hasn't changed. What will be changing is when we offer those groups (we call them Growth Groups). Changes coming this Sunday will be that all of our Growth Groups will be meeting Sunday morning before the worship service.



There are several reasons why these changes are being made:


1) Connection/Fellowship- this opportunity will enable us to meet for Bible study and worship for a longer period on Sunday morning. Built in to this schedule will be opportunities for connecting with your church family. I also believe this provides an easier way for newer people in our church to get involved in a Growth Group.
2) Unity- This schedule allows for more of our church family to meet together during the worship service. I think this allows for greater unity when more people are able to attend worship and hear announcements, and just "be together."

3) Discipleship- Was discipleship happening off campus in Growth Groups? Yes! But, one advantage of Sunday morning Growth Groups will be the opportunity for you to find a Life Transformation Group (LTG) partner during the week for greater spiritual growth. I know you are busy and this maximizes your time on Sunday morning.




This is an experiment. If we find it isn't working for us as a church, then we will look at other solutions. The key to all of this is flexibility. So, here is the plan of action:


9:30 am -10:15 am - Growth Groups (parents to sign kids in to Ridgekidz that meet during this time).

10:15 am -10:30 am – Break (coffee, restroom, fellowship, etc).

10:30 am – 11:00 am – Worship (Ridgekidz will attend worship in cafeteria and then go back to gym for second half of their program).

11:00 am – 11:30 – Worship (message, invitation, offering).

11:30 am – Worship service over. Parents sign out kids in preschool and children's areas of Ridgekidz.

*Preschoolers will stay in their classroom for the entirety of the morning.


This is the schedule our church felt they were most comfortable. Please let me know if you have any questions about these changes.


What now? Get involved in a Growth Group!


Okay, now that all of our Groups are meeting on Sunday morning, why don't you give Growth Groups a shot? Here are the Growth Group leaders for the fall.
*Students Group - Tim Camilletti & Milo Wilson
*College Group - Alison Kernell & Brandon Graves
*Women's Group - Paula Eill
*Eill Group - Paul Eill
*Cauble Group - CJ Cauble
*Pastor's Group - Tommy Hargrove
These Growth Groups will have discussion questions on the Bible text for the morning's message. Most of the Groups will meet in the cafetorium. Please report to the cafetorium and we will find you your Group.


We will have a few adjustments this Sunday. It will take a Sunday or two to get used to but I believe it's going to go well. I will see you this Sunday!
Pastor Tommy


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Welcome Back, NGU students!

Tim, Anna, & Judah Norton Update (He's another NGU graduate!)
Welcome Back, NGU students!
It was great to have North Greenville University students with us in worship last Sunday. They are back for the Fall semester. They have been a wonderful part of our church the last five years. They bring an energy to our worship services just by their presence. They are an integral part of our church! In fact, our entire brass instrument team is composed of three NGU guys: Brandon Graves, Jon Haney, and Austin Blake. We have one NGU student who will be working in our Good News Club. We will also be having a college Growth Group this semester led by a NGU student. It is encouraging when I read their Connection cards and the question that asks how they heard about Ridgeview. Many say they heard about us from friends on campus. Our church has had a great relationship with the school for the last five years as we have hosted their sports teams for worship and lunch. We have also provided commuter luncheons for them on campus. We have helped freshman move in. I have had the opportunity to speak on campus for their chapel service. Our own Worship and Student Pastor Milo Wilson is a graduate of that fine instution. Let me encourage our entire church to pray for these precious students. Maybe offer to take them to lunch. Befriend them! They are some of the finest young men and women you will ever meet. It is an honor for many of them to call Ridgeview their church home away from home!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunday morning Growth Groups. Fall change is in the air!

This past Spring, after hearing from some leaders in our church and exploring some options, I felt led to explore Sunday morning Growth Groups. It was too quick to implement this summer. I believe the timing is right as we go into the Fall. Our Fall Growth Groups semester will be from September 13 - December 13. I am meeting with our leadership team tonight and we are flexible on many aspects of this change. Paul Eill is working closely with me in helping to plan for this semester. I am simply requesting we offer Groups on Sunday morning before the worship service and that we allow our kids to worship together with our families during the worship time (babies and toddlers would be the exception and we would provide childcare for them). I believe this offers many benefits: 1) It will allow our church to better connect with one another. Currently, on Sunday mornings we rush to set up, have our worship service, and then rush to take down. I believe by having Groups on Sunday morning we will add more fellowship time along with Bible study and this will help close our back door. 2) I believe it will enable us to better connect newer people to our church in Groups by having the advantage of them meeting on Sunday morning before the worship service. This will also help us better connect people who begin attending Ridgeview but drop out after a month or two because they never connected with anyone. 3) I believe this will bring even more unity in our church. Currently, if a volunteer is serving in our preschool or children's areas, they miss the worship service. Many times when they serve for a month they feel out of the loop and uninformed. I believe this will help alleviate that. 4) I see a value in families worshiping together. We as a parents need to model for our kids and I believe a great way we can do that for them is in the worship service. 5) I see this as freeing up the week to enable more and more people to find a Life Transformation Group (LTG) for deeper discipleship. They can meet anywhere or anytime.
I have said for many years that people are not looking for a friendly church, they are looking for friends. Ridgeview Church is a friendly church. We consistently get them in feedback from first timers. But, one area we can improve upon is helping people connect more at Ridgeview. If  they don't do that, they will eventually leave. I believe this is a step in the right direction. We don't have all the answers yet, and I would love to hear your feedback. We simply are trying this experiment for the Fall. If we find it isn't working for us we will reevaluate it for the new year. Rest assured, our purpose will never change: To be a bridge of God's love to all people so they may experience His purpose for their lives.
See you Sunday!
Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Show Me Your Faith!

Show Me Your Faith!
I look forward to sharing with you a very important message this Sunday from James 2:14-26 entitled, "Show me your faith." I encourage you to read this passage beforehand. I believe it sums up why Ridgeview Church seeks to be a bridge of God's love to all people so they can experience His purpose for their lives. We have been saved from our sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. As a result, the fruit of our salvation translates into good deeds we do for one another and for our community. It naturally flows out of us because of our faith in Christ.
One way our church displayed our faith recently was the bookbag giveaway last Sunday night. Pictured above is the event at Century Park. It was organized by Freedom Fellowship and several churches joined in like Ridgeview. Many of you donated money to buy bookbags for kids. Well, Sunday night around 1,400 people showed up and around 725 bookbags were given away with school supplies! Thank you Chris Crist,Tonya Crist, Bill Howell, and Debbie Howell for coming out Sunday night and working the balloon stand. As kids and parents waited in line sometimes twenty to thirty deep to get a balloon animal, the joy and fruit of your salvation was awesome to see! What I love about Ridgeview is that we have many in our church who are showing their faith by their deeds. We received great compliments from Northwood Baptist on how our people were enthusiastic and just loved on the kids who showed up at the Mega Sports Camp.
So, again, the question and also challenge I will lay before us is, "Show me your faith!" James challenges us all in chapter two verse fourteen, "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can his faith save him?" This is a tough verse and one of the most controversial in Scripture. I'll unpack it Sunday and you will see there really is no controversy at all. It makes perfect sense.
See you Sunday!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


I've been reflecting this week on some of the ways our church has been partnering with other churches and organizations this year. Maybe that's on my mind because we are in the middle of our Mega Sports Camp that is being held at Northwood Baptist Church in Greer. It is a beautiful sight to see: people from Ridgeview and Northwood coming together and pulling off a great sports camp. No matter if our membership is at Ridgeview or Northwood, all of us claim our allegiance to Christ and citizenship in Heaven.
I thought about how our church will partner with Freedom Fellowship, Springwell, and Living Way Community Church this Sunday night. We have helped to provide six hundred book bags with school supplies for the community that will be given away at Century Park. I thought about how our church partnered with Taylors First Baptist and Habitat for Humanity to help build a house off Edwards Street in Taylors. I thought about the six Friday nights we were downtown Greer hosting the Kidszone for the Tunes on Trade Greer Idol. (I just received an email today thanking our church for our involvement in that event and asking us to come back next summer.) I thought about how our Good News Club partners with Mtn View Elementary and Child Evangelism Fellowship to provide an after school program for kids on Thursdays during the school year. I thought about how our church partnered with Crossroads Church in Staten Island, New York to host a sports camp and how we helped them paint several rooms of a school. I thought about how our church partners with thousands of Southern Baptist churches by pooling our money with them and giving to the Cooperative Program. We give to the Cooperative Program so people from our church like Tim and Anna Norton can go to places like Madagascar and stay for four years and share the love of Jesus. I thought about churches that have partnered together in praying, in giving financially, and providing housing for the Wilson family as they care for Josiah at the Medical University hospital. Finally, I thought about the three year partnership between Ridgeview, Taylors First Baptist, and the South Carolina Baptist Convention over five years ago to start a new church. That new church today is called Ridgeview. Thank God for that partnership!
Ultimately, we must partner with Jesus to see any good done in this world. Jesus said in John 15;5, "...apart from me you can do nothing." Secondly, we must understand that partnership among other churches is essential in reaching the world for Christ. Thirdly, we must understand that partnering with our brothers and sisters in Christ in our local church is essential not only for the health of the church but for the health of us as Christ-followers.
You can partner with Ridgeview Church each week by:
1) Having an attitude of a servant and find out how you can get involved. Please see the weekly Ridgeview email and your program on Sunday for numerous opportunities.
2) Giving financially- When you are faithful in your giving you enable your church to extend the reach of its arm of outreach through great bridge events like Mega Sports Camp we are involved in this week.
3) Prayer- You can pray weekly for your church and the various ministries it supports. Linda Smith is our God's Power prayer ministry director. You can sign up for her weekly prayer emails at
I enjoy being a partner with you in ministry. We're all on the same team serving the same Lord. If there are areas in your partnership that are weak whether you are involved at Ridgeview or a member of another church, would you pray and ask God to help you step up to the plate (sorry for the analogy, been at sports camp all week doing baseball). Life is too short and fragile to waste the partnership opportunities God gives each one of us.
In Christ,
Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How our last message series on Galatians and our current series in James should compel all of us to be involved with Mega Sports Camp next week!

Okay, that's probably the longest title for my article I've ever had! Nevertheless, I would like to make my case why you should be involved with Mega Sports camp next week. In our last message series in Galatians we read chapter 6 verse 10 which states, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith." Here is an incredible opportunity we have to work for the good of over one hundred kids at sports camp. The opportunity we will use in sharing the gospel is the platform of sports. Did you know sports touches about 90% of our population? What an opportunity to mix sports + evangelism to = kids coming to Christ! Also, did you know over 80% of people come to Christ before the age of twelve? We must make wise use of the opportunity we have with the kids God will bring our way next week!
In our current series in the book of James, Milo Wilson, our Worship and Student Pastor, will be preaching this Sunday in James 1. One of my favorite verses in that chapter states in verse 22, "But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." Mega Sports camp will provide all of us an opportunity to be "doers of the word..." It will be a fun way to play sports, share God's Word with kids, sing and get excited in the worship rally, and to present the good news of Jesus. Again, what an opportunity to be a doer of the word!
So, how can you be involved in Mega Sports camp? There are several ways: First of all, we need people to pray. If you can't come for one reason or another, would you commit to pray daily for the kids and coaches and that the gospel would take root in the hearts of many kids? Secondly, would you give financially? There is a large upfront cost to getting ready for camp such as purchasing Bible study materials, t-shirts and backpacks, snacks, publicity materials, etc. Would you be willing to make a financial donation to help see kids come to Christ? You can give online at or send a gift in by mail at our church mailing address (PO Box 1077, Taylors SC 29687). Thirdly, you can serve each night. We already have head coaches in place but could always use more huddle coaches, registration greeters, snack helpers, nursery workers, etc. If you haven't signed up to help but feel it would be the best investment of your time next week for five nights, please contact our Mega Sports camp director Beth Farmer at 918-8278 or .
Kids will come to Christ next week through Mega Sports camp. I can't think of a more important way to spend my five nights next week being a part of that experience. Let me know how you'd like to be involved. I would love to hear from you!
Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

C.H.A.M.P.S. This Sunday!

C.H.A.M.P.S. This Sunday!
I am looking forward to being with you this Sunday as we will have with us Don Matthews, director of the Church Health & Revitalization office with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Don will be preaching Sunday morning and will stay with us after church for a light meal. Afterwards, he will administer a church health survey that is about one hundred questions. If you are unable to be here we will have extra surveys you can fill out when you return. This survey/tool will help our church realize where we are and what is necessary to move to the next level of health and growth for the purpose of expanding the Kingdom. I would like to thank John Mauldin for making many phone calls to our people inviting them to attend. I would also like to thank you in advance for coming this Sunday and sharing your thoughts. I believe the input we receive from this survey will help our church make giant leaps in fulfilling our purpose of being a bridge of God's love to all people so they may experience His purpose for their lives.
See you Sunday! 
Pastor Tommy

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Two days ago I stopped by the local home improvement store. It's orange on the outside. I was looking for a lawn mower part. The guy in lawn and garden didn't have it but radioed to another co-worker in another department. Coming from the other end of the radio I heard, "Can't help him. I'm on break." The guy in lawn and garden looked at me sheepishly and said, "Sorry sir." I'm sorry too! I couln't find the part I was looking for in there. I promptly went across the street to another home improvement store. It's blue on the outside. Much better help there. There's a reason there's more cars in their parking lot.

When someone new comes through the doors of the churches we call home, do we do the same thing? "Find the worship, kid's area, bathroom, etc yourself." I hope not! Sometimes it means you leave that conversation with an old friend in the hallway when someone new walks through the doors and looks like they're totally clueless where to go. If we don't do that, they'll do what I did at the home improvement store. Walk out and probably won't return.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tim, Anna, & Judah Norton- Internation Mission Board appointees to Madagascar

Did you know that when you give each Sunday a portion of your offering goes to what is known as the "Cooperative Program?" Ridgeview Church contributes financially with thousands of other Southern Baptist Churches in pooling our resources together. We are able to send people like the Norton family from our church to take the gospel to unreach people groups all over the world. Please be in prayer for the Nortons as they will soon be working with the Tenali people of Madagascar. Many have never heard the good news of Jesus.To stay posted on their work you can check out . Their email address is


Are you tired of work?

Pictured above is our church trailer. Probably 10 1/2 months out of the year that trailer arrives at the back of Mountain View Elementary and a team of five to eight people arrive at 8 am to unload it. Items unloaded are: sound equipment, media projectors, children's ministry equipment (chairs, tables, bouncy seats, toys), banners, cleaning supplies, offering baskets, literature for the different tables we set up, and on and on it goes. It takes a lot of work just to be ready by 10:30 a.m. for our morning worship. On more than one occasion I have been physically drained from set up on Sunday and the worship service had not even begun.
Where am I going with this? Well, this Sunday we will finish up this great book of the Bible known as Galatians. Let me encourage you to read the sixth chapter for this Sunday. When I am physically tired and weary at times from the demands of ministry, I recall Galatians 6:9-10 which states, 9) So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up. 10) Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.    
Three words stick out to me: tired, reap, and work. Being a bridge of God's love to all people is work. When we work at being a bridge of God's love to all people we will get tired. Yet, here's the promise; "we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up." In the context of this verse it ultimately points to our salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Ultimately, we will reap eternal life. But also, I believe when we tirelessly work for the good of all sharing the grace of Christ and the truth of Christ, we will reap a harvest of people that will ultimately share that eternal life with Christ along with us. That's what keeps me going. That's what keeps you going. I cannot thank the tireless "workers" at Ridgeview who are all playing a part to bridge people to Jesus Christ.
I'd like to close with an email I received from a preschool Sunday School teacher in our church. Recently, because our church was a bridge of God's love to the community, some kids were in her Sunday School class we had reached. Here's what she wrote: 
I just wanted to tell you what a "high" I experienced yesterday as I spent an hour with (some guest children) our pre-school class for the morning.  They had not heard the story of Noah's Ark (I still can't get over that)!  I was so amazed at the attention they gave as I told the story and then they actually asked questions (what happened to all the other people that weren't on the ark?).  It was exciting to be a small part of their exposure to a glimpse of God's love for His people and His faithfulness to our obedience.  They are great kids...Before church yesterday morning I prayed that God would use me as His instrument and the kids would see Him in a real way.  I really think God revealed Himself to those kids yesterday.  It was awesome!  I'm praying they will come back for more!                                                                                                                                
When you volunteer your time and talents at a Tunes on Trade, a free single mom's oil change, a preschool, children, or student minstry event, or come set up at 8 a.m. you are a link in the chain. When you give financially your tithe and even above the tithe for the offering, you are a link in the chain. You are linked together with others of us at Ridgeview and the larger body of Christ to change the world one life at a time. So, let's not become weary in doing good. People matter to God and He's called us to reach out to them and share about His Son, Jesus. I am so glad to be on this mission with you, Ridgeview Church!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Greetings From New York!

Our Ridgeview mission team arrived here in Staten Island Sunday
morning after traveling all night in our rented Kia mini van. We
attended worship at Crossroads Church. They meet in a school like us.
We've been working with them this week to build bridges here on the
island. Monday morning we met a bus stop and passsed out several dozen
bottled waters to travelers. Actually, I found more favor giving it to
the actual bus drivers as they stopped! We kicked off the sports camp
with an amazing 130 kids this week and our numbers are climibing. Last
year the most we had was 80. We've spent the rest of the afternoon
painting the third floor of the school on behalf of Crossroads. It
really does make a difference when you serve the community. Many doors
have opend for Pastor Ray (seen above with us) with school officials
to share the gospel because of his church having painted many
classrooms. Good deeds become the bridge upon which the good news can


Many thanks to Sean Brady for securing an ice-cream truck last
Saturday for our Saturday service. Sean, Beth Farmer. Sandee Stroud,
myself, and Sean's friend and ice-cream truck owner drove around the
community passing out ice-cream and water: all free. Several people
wanted to know more about Ridgeview and where we meet. It was one of
the most unique outreaches we've done!

Renee Smith
This past Saturday before we left for New York I received the news
Renee Smith had passed away from Lou Gehrig's disease. I was able to
meet with the family that afternoon and express my love and
appreciation for their beloved daughter and sister. Did you know Renee
attended our very first mission trip as a church to Augusta, Maine?
She was one of the very first to start attending the "First Saturday
of Service" bridge projects we began. She had such a tender heart and
will be greatly missed. Please pray for her parents, Joe & Terry,
along with her brother Ronnie.

Governor Sanford & Sermon this Sunday
As I was on the subway in the city this week I overheard two men
speaking about our Governor, Mark Sanford. They were laughing at his
infidelity and what he has said he represents as a Christian. This is
such a shock to me and the actions our Governor has taken. As we
continue our series in Galatians this Sunday, one thing that jumps out
to me concerning this life of following Christ. Galatains 5:16 states,
"I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire
of the flesh." Too many Christians have fallen because they have not
been walking by the Spirit. They have been yielding to their flesh and
sinful desires. I look forward to opening Galatians to show you how
you can walk by the Spirit and starve your flesh. It's a timely
message for the days in which we live and what we all face on a daily
basis. I look forward to being with you again Sunday!

Pastor Tommy

Friday, June 26, 2009

Reminded today with the sad passing of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson: "Only one life, will soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bridging Nationally

Bridging Nationally
I am looking forward to our church's summer mission trip to Staten Island, New York. Please pray for us as we leave out Saturday and travel all night to get there Sunday. We will be bridging there for the third summer in a row on behalf of Crossroads Church and Pastor Ray. Crossroads is a Southern Baptist church plant that meets in a school like us. We will be doing lots of painting in the school in which they meet. This act of service has opened many doors for Pastor Ray with school Principals and school administration. He was able to be the graduation speaker at one of the schools as a direct result of painting their school. Let me remind all of us whether we go to Staten Island and paint a school or go across the street and give some Panera Bread to a neighbor, good deeds become the bridge upon which we can share the gospel with people. We do not do good deeds and stop at that. We do good deeds in order for opportunities to share what we've been preaching on the last few weeks in Galatians: salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Please be prepared this Sunday as Tim Norton will be preaching from Galatians 5:1-15. Tim and his wife Anna have been attending Ridgeview for some time now. They have a young son named Judah. They have just been appointed by the International Mission Board and will be going as our Southern Baptist missionaries to Madagascar by the end of the year. You will be blessed this Sunday as Tim opens the Word and shares it with you!
Pastor Tommy

Whole Lotta Bridging Going On!

Whole Lotta Bridging Going On!
This week I have been listening to an audio teaching from a Pastor mentor of mine, Nelson Searcy. His topic was on ministry and serving. He said, "Serving is the act of putting the needs of others before my needs." That's what Jesus did! Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, "For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many." Being a Christ-follower is about being selfless. Being the Church is all about selflessness. One of the most unselfish things a church like ours can do is grow. One of the most selfish things we can do as a church is not to grow!
Well, although the summer attendance numbers are lower there is a "whole lotta bridging going on" at Ridgeview Church. There are lots of unselfish people who are serving both inside our church and outside the walls of our church to be a bridge of God's love to people. Did you know we are making almost one hundred touches a week with Panera Bread visits? It's great to meet people through these visits and to see them worship with us on Sunday. I even received a call this morning from an older gentleman who received bread at his door a few weeks ago but he was out of town. He is out of church but wants to come Ridgeview this Sunday and "give it a try." 
God is blessing our going out! Our first Tunes on Trade Kidszone went great last Friday night. We saw a number of kids come by with their parents. I personally had an opportunity to invite an unchurched young couple who lives close to the school in which we meet. Another person in our church Friday night at Tunes on Trade had a great conversation with a lady about the Lord and invited her to Ridgeview. On top of all this, we will again be downtown Greer Friday for Tunes on Trade. Also, on Saturday our church will be out in a "real deal" ice-cream truck passing out free water and ice-cream to our community. Thank you Sean Brady for making that happen! Lots of great touches we are making in our community. Let me remind all of you that as we are working our way through Galatians this summer, it says in chapter six verse nine: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I am currently listening to an audiobook by Dr. Gary Chapman on anger. Helpful practical advice for me in this book. Common sense I know, but when someone angers you he advises walking away and counting to 10, 100, or maybe a 1,000. I wish I could say I've always followed this advice but I haven't. It feels so good to fire back; but then I've made a mess of things. Leaders are learners. I am learning to put more of this into practice. If you see me walking around counting I am practicing Paul's advice in Ephesians 4:26, "In your anger do not sin..."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tunes on Trade 09

Tunes on Trade is finally here! This Friday night we will be at thriving downtown Greer hosting the Kidzone. We will be setting up at 6:30 pm and will be done by 9:30 pm . Several thousand people will be there enjoying the music and food. Many will come by and see us with their kids to the Kidzone. It will be a great opportunity to meet people and build more bridges in our community. Allow me to share some of the materials we will be using to build bridges Friday night: two inflatables, face painting, street chalk art, and a table set up for kids to make Father's day cards. Many of you have signed up on your Connection Cards from Sunday to help. We will be there for the next six Friday nights. If you could give us one Friday night that would be awesome! There's still an opportunity to get in on the fun. Please contact Shelley Thompson at and let her know you're in!
By the way, one of the sponsors of the event, as you can see from the logo, is Budweiser. Our church, by participating in Tunes on Trade, is not endorsing alcohol consumption. I personally do not drink alcohol but I believe if it is taken in moderation it is not a sin. If you are uncomfortable working in an event where alcohol will be served (down the street some yards away from our Kidzone), I understand. But, I like what Christian author Neal Cole said in one of his books: "If you want to reach people you've got to sit in the smoking section." We'll be in the smoking section Friday night!

Good News Club

Good News Club
I received a letter this week from B.J. Bateman, district director for the Good News Clubs. She reported to me that our club had an enrollment of 187 children for the 2008-2009 school year. Most exciting to me was that 14 children received Jesus as their Savior this year in club. Since the beginning of our church beginning a Good News Club five years ago at Mountain View elementary, 87 children have made their decision to become a child of God! I am so grateful for the leadership Liz Niles has given to the club these last couple of years and for those who have given their time to serve every Thursday. You have made an eternal difference!
Pastor Tommy

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I think all of us struggle from time to time with procrastination. There are some things in life we just want to put off and not deal with because they may be hard, boring, not any fun, etc. That includes areas in our work life and areas of our personal life. Psychologist Henry Cloud says in battling procrastination one should "play the movie." Fast forward a week, a month, a year- imagine if what you need to do isn't done. Consider the consequences. That should help motivate you. Also, he recommends invoking some discipline and accountability in your life. For example, meet with someone and lay out some items you want to have completed by next week. When next week arrives if any of those items are not done you "pay up" financially to the other person an amount that can cause a financial sting. It's a grown up way of being sent to time out. Some good thoughts that I will seek to implement in my life someday when I get around to it- ha!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We're Fulfilling Our Purpose!

We're Fulfilling Our Purpose!
This past weekend I believe our church hit the "sweet spot" of what it means to be a missional church. Last Saturday from 10 am to 12 pm, we held a free single mom's oil change at O'Neal Village. We were able to change their oil, sit and listen to them as they waited on their cars, take down prayer requests and pray with them, and share the gospel with them. Their kids had a blast jumping to their heart's content in the inflatable. One lady named "Cissy" showed up with three kids. She told us she was homeless. Someone from our church felt compelled to give me $20 to pass on to her as her car was finished. As I gave it to her, tears began streaming down her face and she said, "Thank you!" That is being the church of Jesus Christ!
We received a card in the mail this week at the church office from Teresa Cheeks, one of the single moms from the oil change. She stated, "Church family, people like you keep hope and faith alive knowing there's still (the) love of God (from) people still loving and helping others. You really touch my heart. Thank you so much." 
On Sunday, I challenged people who were at our worship service to take a Panera sourdough bread bowl with them and go "bless" someone with it. Bill & Debbie Howell took two. With her permission, I'd like to share her story that she emailed to me Monday. It fired me up!
I officially met my neighbors across the street and one house down today - Patrick and Shirley H. They're a recently retired couple. Bill had met them quite a while ago and I have said "hi" to Pat a few times when I've been walking and he was out in his yard. Shortly after we moved in, Shirley issued a standing invitation to Bill to walk through their yard and use their dock for lake access anytime we want. Nice people.
A few weeks ago, our next door neighbor had told me that Shirley had recently been diagnosed with renal cancer and is in an experimental cancer program. Since that time, they've been on my heart and mind a lot. When I walk past their house on my evening walks, I pray for Shirley. I wanted to do something nice to show her I cared, but I'd never met her, hadn't seen them out for several weeks and didn't want to go knocking on their door to disturb them... yeah, I'm a coward!
Today at church, Pastor Tommy had a bunch of Panera Bread bowls wrapped with cellophane on a table by the door. He urged us to take one and give it to someone with no strings attached - just to show them God's love in a practical way - in keeping with our mission to be a bridge of God's love to all people.
Bill and I left at different times and each of us picked up a loaf of bread, not realizing the other had picked one up. I had in my mind to give it to one of Zach's friend's parents who spend every weekend sailing. I asked Bill to drive by their house on the way home so I could drop it on their doorstep and they would be surprised when they came home later today. As we neared their house, we could see that both cars were there. They had not gone to the lake this weekend and I got to personally deliver the bread - they were appreciative and pleased that we thought of them.
Now who to give the second loaf to? Bill had taken his with no person in mind and we had already delivered to the persons I thought of. As we neared our house, Bill saw Pat and Shirley out doing some yard work. Bingo... we had our person(s)! As soon as the car was parked in our driveway, we made a beeline.
Not only did I meet Pat and Shirley, but was able to tell her I had been praying for her as I walked in the evening. She hugged me.  What a blessing we got today... Shirley's attitude is the best I've ever seen for a person with terminal cancer. The cancer has metastasized to several places in her body, yet she is smiling and feeling good. Her experimental chemotherapy is not making her sick, yet has shrunk several of the tumors by 50%. She knows that even if the chemo kills all the cancer cells, this form is so aggressive that it will mutate itself into another form and pop up somewhere else. Yet I could see the hope in her eyes - she was not at all giving up. Wow - what a lesson for Bill and I when something in life gets us down. I believe God arranged for both Shirley and Pat to be outside today at just the time we came home. Perhaps if we had not stopped at our friend's house first and spent some time chatting with them, we would have missed Pat and Shirley. If Bill and I had left the church together, I know we would have taken only one loaf of bread and given it away before we got home.  Because of God's perfect timing and awesome planning, I made a new and wonderful friend today.
Thank you Debbie, for sharing your story. And thanks to all of you who gave of your time to serve single moms last Saturday. I look forward to hearing many more stories of God's people on mission with Him this summer. Oh, by the way, I'll have more bread waiting on you Sunday!
See you then!
Pastor Tommy