Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ridgeview Church Membership

This past Sunday we had a membership class after church. I am pleased to share with you that Brian & Kerri Timms, along with Dillon and Kim Key, have agreed to live by our membership covenant and desire to unite with our church through formal church membership. I believe that joining a church is very important. I picked up a brochure some time ago from our parent church that lays out nicely why they encourage people to unite officially in membership. Allow me to share them with you:

1. Joining a church helps one identify with a body of believers
In the New Testament, when the apostles would go from town to town, they always sought out a group of believers with whom to identify. It gave them a sense of belonging as they joined together with their Christian family in the local towns. When you join a church you are saying, "I belong here; this is my family."

2. It is important to join a church in order to have a relationship of accountability
One of the most important reasons for joining a church is that it puts you in a position where you can be accountable by others. The Bible talks about this accountability in Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5. 

At Ridgeview, we recognize the need for a formal membership. We teach in our membership class to commit to membership for four reasons:

1. A Biblical reason
Christ is committed to the Church- "...Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..." Ephesians 5:25
Christ expects us to be committed to His Church- "Consequently you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household."       
Ephesians 2:19

2. A Cultural reason
Membership swims against the current of America's "consumer religion." Commitment always builds character.

3. A practical reason: It defines who can be counted on
Every team has a roster. Every school an enrollment. Every business has a payroll. Every army an enlistment. Even our country takes a census and requires voter registration. Membership identifies our family.

4. A personal reason- It produces spiritual growth
Accountability to the body will produce growth.

When someone joins Ridgeview church, they agree to the membership covenant. Here is what they are agreeing to:

"Having received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and been baptized, and being in agreement with what we believe and what we practice, I now feel led by the Holy Spirit to unite with the Ridgeview Church family. In doing so, I commit myself to God and to the other members to do the following:

1. I will protect the unity of my church
*By acting in love toward other members
*By refusing to gossip and resolving conflicts using Matthew 18:15-17
*By following the leaders
(Romans 15:5,19,1 Peter 1:22, Ephesians 4:29, Hebrews 13:17)

2. I will share the responsibility of my church
*By praying for its growth
*By inviting the unchurched to attend
*By warmly welcoming those who visit
(Luke 14:23, Romans 15:7, 1 Thessalonians 1:2)

3. I will serve the ministry of my church
*By discovering my gifts and talents
*By being equipped to serve by my pastors
*By developing a servant's heart
(1 Peter 4:10, Ephesians 4:11-12, Philippians 2:3-4,7)

4. I will support the testimony of my church
*By attending faithfully
*By living a growing and godly life
*By giving regularly
(Hebrews 10:25, Philippians 1:27, 1 Corinthians 16:2, Leviticus 27:30)

Let me again welcome our newest members! It is not only exciting to see them unite with our church through formal membership but also to see both families involved in the Eill Growth Group and serving Christ at Ridgeview. They are growing as disciples of Christ. That's a goal for all of us!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Growth Groups Rooted Strong

I had the opportunity to visit each of our Growth Groups during our kick off week. It was great to see the groups filled with people studying the stories in God's Word. As we have entered week two, we are seeing the power of Growth Groups. God's Word is alive and we are seeing discipleship occur in our church through our groups. I am delighted to see new people are in Growth Groups this semester. I am thrilled to hear each week new people are sharing the Bible story or facilitating the group. Our goal is to see disciples made who in turn will make more disciples. 

I have two challenges for those who call Ridgeview their church home:

1) Join a Growth Group this summer. Do the things needed to become a disciple of Jesus Christ.

2) If you are in a Growth Group, consider now the possibility of leading one in the Fall. Start asking to share the Bible story for the next week. Start asking now to help co-facilitate with your Growth Group leader.

Growth Groups are the primary way we make disciples at Ridgeview. Join one; look to leading one in the future. You'll be glad you did!

In Christ,

Pastor Tommy

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Growth Groups: Here we go!

We've gotten off to a great start to our summer Growth Groups semester. Our Growth Groups are meeting each week during this summer up to August 14. They are open groups. If you would like to jump in on one of them, I promise you will enjoy your experience. Also, because each week we will be taking a story from the Gospels, you can jump in at anytime and not be behind. As I shared Sunday, there is no discipleship without relationships. We want to see people at Ridgeview become disciples!

I'm looking forward to this Sunday as we begin a new message series on Father's Day entitled "Man 2 Man." Men, I will unpack for you what it means to be a shepherd warrior. We are going to look to God's Word and the model of Jesus to help us become better men, better husbands,
better fathers, better leaders, better co-workers, better Christ-followers.

See you Sunday!

Pastor Tommy

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Are we making disciples at Ridgeview who are making disciples?

That question above has convicted me deeply as a Pastor. There are many things a church can be busy doing; good things. But, are we doing the main thing? Jesus gives us the main thing in His Great Commission. He says in Matthew 29:19-20, "19) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20) and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." 
I believe we are doing a good job in the "going" part of the Great Commission, at least in our community. I believe there are a few minor tweaks we will be making for this summer Growth Group semester that will improve the "making disciples" part of Jesus' command. At Ridgeview, we have people at all different levels of spiritual maturity. We have new Christians (infants) who are just learning the truth of the Bible. We have Christians in our church who are on the child level who are coming out of the infant stage of Christianity and are growing spiritually, developing habits of Bible study and prayer, and giving of their time and money to God, and are building relationships with God's people. We have people who are young adults in their spiritual journey. Just like natural children, spiritual children do go into things with the attitude of "it's more about me." Christians who are young adults in their faith move into more of an attitude of becoming less self-centered and more others centered. They begin to see themselves as a minister. They tithe and give their time not out of duty or sense of obligation, but out of a sense of thankfulness and love. Then, there are those who are spiritual parents. They have not arrived spiritually but they are growing and serving. They see themselves as one who intentionally needs to invest in others so they can make disciples who are making disciples. Parents reproduce and make babies! 

My question is where are you? Are you at the infant level in your discipleship stage? The child level? The young adult level? The parent level? There is nothing wrong about being at the infant or child level in your Christian faith. But, God does not want you to stay in that stage. I recently saw a documentary on television about a thirty year old man who is known as an adult baby. He had the capacity to feed himself but chose as he came home at the end of the day a caretaker to feed him, put diapers on him, wear kid's pajamas, and tuck him in his adult sized crib at night. He even built an adult high chair. It was the strangest thing I'd ever seen in my life because that is not normal! It is not normal, or it should not be normal, nor is it God's will for Christians to stay stuck in the child level. The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:2-3, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."

Here's my challenge. We are beginning our summer Growth Groups semester starting this Sunday, June 12. We are not doing any topical type studies by a popular Christian author or going to go through a Christian devotional book. Nothing wrong with them. But, we are simply going to go through the Gospels this summer and take one story each week from the Bible and go on this journey of "Following Jesus Together." MY CHALLENGE FOR YOU IS TO JOIN A GROWTH GROUP THIS SUMMER! Why? BECAUSE I BELIEVE THEY ARE THE BEST TOOLS WE HAVE IN THE CHURCH WHEN COMBINED WITH THE BIBLE & THE HOLY SPIRIT TO MAKE DISICIPLES WHO MAKE DISCIPLES! The Bible says in Hebrews 3:12-13, "See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." You cannot make disciples in the church without being in relationship with other believers who are open and transparent with one another around the Word of God.

When we combine Growth Groups (people who are in a relational environment with one another) who are taking the stories in the Bible and in cooperation with the Holy Spirit are open and honest with one another, we will see disciples made. We will see disciples who follow Christ, are being changed by Christ, and are committed to the mission of Christ.We will see people move from the infant stage of Christianity to the parent stage where they are investing in others to raise others up to become spiritual parents  themselves. Listed below are the Growth Groups we are offering this summer. You can sign up for them Sunday on your Connection Card or at the Growth Groups table, or you can contact Paul Eill ( to find a Growth Group for you. Make the choice today. God has called you to be a disciple who makes disciples!

In Christ,

Pastor Tommy

*Brown Growth Group: Sundays, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the home of Gloria Bupp (10 Windward Peak Ct, Greer)
*Hargrove Growth Group: Sundays, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the home of Tommy & Tanya Hargrove (14 Swenson Ct, Taylors)
*Eill Growth Group: Tuesdays, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the home of Paul & Paula Eill (21 Cottage Ln, Taylors)
*Culbertson Growth Group: Wednesdays, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the home of Rex & Carolyn Culbertson (4476 Hawkins Rd, Greer)

Friday, June 03, 2011

Please welcome our new worship leader!

This Sunday will mark the first official Sunday our new part-time worship leader begins. His name is Taylor Strutton. He is pictured above in the middle. Taylor is a North Greenville University student working towards his Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance. He is going into his senior year. Taylor loves the Lord and is excited about leading Ridgeview in worship through music. He is a very talented young man with the ability to play a variety of instruments such as piano, guitar, and any form of percussion. Vocally, he is top notch! Please make a point of welcoming his this Sunday as he makes this transition to Ridgeview!

Also, I would like to thank those who have taken the mantle of leadership on the worship team during this time of transition. Jenny Dunster was a huge help and did an excellent job after our worship leader left for Buffalo, NY. Most recently, Jennifer White stepped in and led us in sweet times of worship. I appreciated how both ladies gave their very best to God in leading worship. There's a lesson for all of us, no matter what we do to serve Christ. Scripture says in Colossians 3:23-24, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." When we all have that mindset, we realize we must give our best for God. To this end we labor!

See you Sunday!