Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What a great year in the life of Ridgeview Church! We baptized thirteen, gave over several thousand dollars to international missions, and continued to go about "bridging" in our community! It was great to cap off the last service of the year at the red barn where 300 people came to our Community Christmas eve service. It has been a great year!

I am so pumped about 2011! I look forward to our church wide time of prayer and fasting as we begin "Awakening" on January 9. We saw God move in our church this past year because of our obedience to the biblical practice of fasting. I can't wait to see what He does in 2011!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Pictured above is our first Christmas Eve service in the red barn back in 2005. In the beginning stages of Ridgeview Church, I spent considerable time crafting our church's purpose statement. I have asked several people from time to time at Ridgeview to repeat it after me. They usually start out strong and then taper at the end: "Seeking to be a bridge of God's love..." I then say, "so that they may experience His purpose for their lives." I recently read a book that said if you can boil down your organization's existence to a few words or just one word, it will be far more memorable. The more I thought about Ridgeview the more the word "bridging" kept coming to mind.

Everything we do at Ridgeview is about "bridging" people to Jesus who is the bridge to God. 1 Peter 3:18 states, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." Once we bridge them to Jesus we want to provide bridges of growth and service and give them opportunities to continue bridging out to others and do for others what was done for them.

I am proud of our church and how we've tried to maintain a bridging focus over these last 7 years. I have made a renewed commitment to step up our bridging efforts. It's called the Bridge 200 initiative. As Pastor, I have made a commitment to make 200 touches in our community each week myself. It's been said if you want to measure the temperature of a church, put a thermometer in the Pastor's mouth. I am excited about possibilities of what can happen in our community, in our church, and in our own lives if we make 200 bridge touches of God's love with people. We will not be the same!

We are already seeing fruit in our church because of the seeds we planting. Allow me to share some examples just from this week:

*9 kids came to Christ in our Good News Club.
*13 bridging with bread visits were made Monday night.
*13 stick signs were placed by Ridgeview volunteers in our community this week advertising our Community Christmas eve service.
*Over 300 Christmas eve invite door hangers were delivered to homes in our community.
*By Friday at 8:30 am we will have served hundreds of parents free coffee as they dropped their kids off at school.
*By Sunday after church we will have baptized at least 3 people! (13 for the year!)

I am so encouraged by the comments left on our Connection Cards this week on how our people are bridging:

"Gave a Ridgeview card and a tip to a lady at the drive through Friday."
"Shared my lunch with a co-worker."
"Met a hispanic lady whose husband had left her and she needed a twin bed. Texted my Growth Group and we are gathering items for her."
"Prayed with a lady that works at AT&T store who is suffering from depression."

In this newsletter there are some great opportunities to go about the task of "bridging." Jesus commands we go and bridge (Matthew 28:19-20). I am so blessed to partner alongside you this Christmas season in this most noble duty of bridging!

See you Sunday!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Christmas Bridging

If there is ever a season to seize the moments to show God's love to others it is during the Christmas season. It seems as though God just opens up the airwaves to his love and kindness during this time of year.

So, what can you do this season? Here are some quick ideas I have and some I gathered from

1) Invite them to our Community Christmas Eve Service
The photo above is the backside of the direct mail piece we're sending out to thousands in our community. We're providing air support for you as you invite those you know to this wonderful bridging event!

2) Bring Christmas goodies to your neighbors
It's a great conversation starter and can provide opening opportunities to tell your Jesus story.

3) Buy a Coke or candy bar for the cashier checking you out
People working cash registers around the holidays have a very high demand, low reward job. Surprise them by kindness and generosity.

4) Give 30% tip to your server
While you're out enjoying your shopping and enjoying your day, your waiter or waittress is working serving you. These are people that are so easily overlooked this time of year. A big tip is the perfect way to show them that God is a God who notices people.

5) See what God would say to you about you giving above and beyond in your time, talent, and treasure
Our annual Christmas missions offering is in full gear. We also have some great bridging opportunities available as a church (see the Bridge section). There are also opportunities in our community organizations to lend a hand as well.

6) Treat a coworker to lunch- boys with boys and girls with girls, please!

7) Take a poinsettia to work for your boss- if you are the boss, get one for your receptionist.

8) Take some Christmas goodies to the place you frequent
Every Monday I go to Moe's to eat after staff meeting. Last Monday my server Brian knew exactly what I wanted and what I wanted on it. (Joey bag of donuts!) Most likely these people "know you" even if you have never spoken to them before. This is a great way to break the ice and start having an actual relationship with them, even if it is just a small one.

Whatever you do this season, make sure that the people you serve know that God loves them. After all, the point of the season is, "For God so loved the world...that He gave His only Son."

See you Sunday!

Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Our Largest Attended Worship Service Each Year Is Held In A Cold, Drafty Barn!

Five or six years ago I drove by the red dutch barn on Gap Creek road and the thought hit me, "That would be a unique place to have a Christmas Eve service." That first year at the barn Jennifer White and myself put the service together. We had around 100 people show up. The rest is history: In 2006, we had 400 people. In 2007, we had 381 people. In 2008, we had 472 people. Last year we dropped a bit but still had 237 people.

Now, I know a great thing when I see it! It turns out the Christmas Eve service at the red dutch barn has been a great way to bridge out to our community with the love of Jesus. It's one of our most effective events. Each year, the gospel is clearly explained and we share the real meaning of Christmas. This year I am praying our Community Christmas Eve services are the biggest we've ever had. Why? Because I want people to hear about Jesus! I am praying 500 to 600 people come this year. In order to see that happen, we must do several things:

1) Pray for our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers; pray for our community that they would be receptive to an invite to the service.

2) Invite them!
We are sending a direct mail piece to over 15,000 homes in the area. We are also making 200 personal visits a week leading up to Christmas eve. We are running an ad in the Greer Citizen and will be putting stick signs in the community. All that is great but none is as effective as you personally inviting someone you know!

3) Volunteer
We have numerous teams that you can be a part of: parking, photography, greeting & registration, set-up, take-down, ushers, refreshments, media and sound. Much help is needed to pull this event off. Every job is important! Did you know by serving on the parking team you will assist a family in finding a parking space. They in turn will come to the service and will hear the gospel and respond and find a church home at Ridgeview. You had a part in changing a family's legacy by serving on the parking team. Each volunteer position is part of the chain in bridging people to Jesus.

There will be two Christmas Eve services at 6:00 pm & 8:00 pm. May we all be part of praying, inviting, and volunteering for this event. I believe there is no more important investment of your time this Christmas season.

See you Sunday!

Pastor Tommy