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2016 Second Quarter Update

We’ve had an amazing start to 2016! Our missions teams have done great work all over the world in places like Arlington, St. Louis, Hawaii, Trinidad, Brazil, Tanzania, Kenya, Haiti, Thailand, Brazil and Colorado. Forest Park North has moved into their new and improved Forest Park Kids space and had more than 100 children in VBS. VBS at Forest Park Joplin was simply amazing!

We took more than three dozen students to Awana camp where some became Christians and others grew greatly in their faith. Some of our elementary-age kids are at CentriKid at Southwest Baptist University this week.

None of this could happen without the faithful prayers and generous gifts of people like you. God is using you to extend His Kingdom and touch thousands of lives with the gospel.

I’m excited about the rest of the summer. Each Forest Park campus has some new staff with fresh ideas and a strong commitment to help people take their next step toward God. We continue to improve our kids environments and provide experiences and training that will help them reach their generation for Christ.

Giving always drops off a bit in the summer so we could use your help. We’ve managed expenses so as to stay in the black, but receipts have fallen below budget needs.

I promise you that your gifts are being used to impact lives for eternity. Many of us know from our own experience that you can’t outgive God. When we shovel some His way, he shovels blessings our way: and He has a bigger shovel. Thanks for investing in His work!

 

P.S. Sheri and I enjoy using our online giving system. Check it out at forestpark.church/give.

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Posted

July 27, 2016

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John Swadley

Next Steps: July 2016 Update

The summer Olympics are just days away from starting, and one of my favorite events is the marathon. The marathon is a 26-mile race that has its origins all the way back to ancient Greece and is an incredible event to watch. The winner is usually the runner that is able to maintain their pace throughout the race and then finish strong. Paul, the great missionary to the Gentiles, referenced this same event numerous times in his letters to the new church. Paul urged his fellow believers in Christ to “...run with perseverance the race marked out before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

Here at Forest Park, we are so excited to announce that we are running our own race with equal endurance as well. With 55% of the time in our three-year building program elapsed, we already have over 64% of the pledges ($1,693,925) received ($1,090,320). WOW!!! We serve a mighty God, and He is so good to bless our church with such faithful givers who want to finish this race.

Forest Park North recently celebrated the grand opening of the enlarged and improved Forest Park Kids space. The 4,000+ square feet of new space looks awesome, and the kids and volunteers are so thankful for your giving that made it possible. Last week during VBS, Forest Park North set a record for VBS attendance with more than 100 children attending, and we had three children receive Christ as their Savior. The new space made the week much better than last year’s crowded conditions.

Our next project is to upgrade the 6th grade Forest Park Kids space (The Warehouse) at Forest Park Joplin. We hope to finish that work this fall. Under Greg Walker’s leadership, Forest Park Carthage is changing some of the proposed layout to make the Forest Park Kids and Students environments more functional. Work will begin there following the completion of the 6th grade room at Forest Park Joplin.

The bottom line is that giving remains strong, our kids environments are being improved, and we are very thankful for those of you who continue to support our Next Steps projects with your prayers and giving. The race is not finished yet. Stay faithful, and please help Forest Park run the race with perseverance. We will celebrate the victory together with God’s blessing!

On behalf of the Next Steps Follow-Up Team, thank you!

Richard and Michelle O’Hare (Forest Park North)
Todd and Alaina Yockey (Forest Park Carthage)
Rick and Kathy Griffith (Forest Park Joplin)

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Posted

July 27, 2016

Author

John Swadley

2016 First Quarter Update

On May 26, 1996, I preached my first message as the new pastor of Forest Park. I cannot thank God enough for all He has done. I’m thankful for the staff that has served alongside me through the years. Some left us to serve in other ministries. All of them helped us advance the work of God.

I’m thankful for those of you who pray, give and serve. I’ve been inspired by your willingness to work hard and sacrifice to help people take their next step toward God. I’m thankful for my family, and especially my wife, who has led our Awana ministry these 20 years helping thousands of children grow in their relationship with the Lord.

I’m also thankful for the opportunities ahead of us. We’ve grown from one campus to three, from 500 in a single worship service to about 1,800 in six services, but God’s plans for us include SO MUCH MORE! We need to be our very best for Jesus more than ever before.

The changes in our world have made our work more difficult. I’m thankful that most of you are ready to join me in doing whatever God leads us to do reach people with the gospel.

The trustees encouraged me to take a 30-day sabbatical to refresh and spend time with my family and with the Lord. When I return, I’m looking forward to our future together. God is bringing us some new leaders who are ready to make a difference. We’re improving our kids venues and expanding for growth. God is using us to make an eternal difference in more people than you can imagine. Thank you for 20 great years!

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Posted

May 05, 2016

Author

John Swadley

Next Steps: April 2016 Update

Happy Spring to our amazing church family! We are Todd and Alaina Yockey, and we have some exciting updates on behalf of the Next Steps Follow-Up Team to share with you:

  • With 48% of the three-year time commitment elapsed, we’ve received 59% of the pledges made to Next Steps. That’s $1,005,817 received of the $1,693,925 pledged (as of April 23).
  • The expansion of the Forest Park Kids area at North is going well. We’ve moved into 4,000+ sq. ft. of new space, and the original space is currently being remodeled. When completed, we’ll have much more capacity to reach kids who need Jesus.
  • We are working with a company called Worlds of Wow to upgrade the kids space at Forest Park Carthage. Construction and improvements will begin as soon as the project at North is completed. The goal is to have the work done at Carthage by September 2016.

God is working in our church in a wonderful way. We rejoice, as we know you do, in the many ways in which that is happening! We believe in God’s abundance and our ability through that trust to provide the resources that will empower us to provide a fun, exciting, and irresistible environment for kids to connect with God.

If you have not had a chance to get involved yet, please pray about joining us! Just pick up a Next Steps packet in the Lobby or see your campus pastor. Information is also available online at forestpark.church/next-steps. It is our hope and prayer that you will help us in this effort to bring the love of Jesus to our children. Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

On behalf of the Next Steps Follow-Up Team, thank you!

Todd and Alaina Yockey (Forest Park Carthage)
Rick and Kathy Griffith (Forest Park Joplin)
Richard and Michelle O’Hare (Forest Park North)

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Posted

May 05, 2016

Author

John Swadley

Next Steps: January 2016 Update

We are Rick and Kathy Griffith, and we are excited to be a part of the Next Steps Follow-Up Team. We would like to share an update on the Next Steps campaign.

  • As of January 16, 2016, we have received 53% of the pledges made to Next Steps ($859,022 has been received of the $1,693,925 pledged), and that is only with 39% of the three-year time commitment elapsed!
  • During the first year of Next Steps we paid back our reserves for the overage on remodeling our Worship Center at Joplin, purchased a vehicle to provide transportation for missions trips, student events, etc.
  • We have also started construction at Forest Park North to expand the Forest Park Kids area. The 4,500 sq. ft. addition should be finished sometime this spring and will allow North to start an Awana program next fall.
  • Funds from Next Steps will also allow us to upgrade the children’s space at Forest Park Carthage.

In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus discusses the parable of the talents. We don’t usually think of this scripture when we talk about giving money, but we believe there is a parallel here. We all have talents, and we are accountable for what we do with them. Good stewardship is a talent. Being conservative and disciplined in our spending habits allows us to give generously to God’s church and others. When we show we are good stewards in all areas, even in small giving, our horizons are expanded and enriched. By continually being disciplined and faithful, we can give more and bless others more. By doing this we are following the scriptures and adding to our original talents.

If you haven’t already pledged to the Next Steps campaign, it is not too late. You can use the Next Steps giving box on the giving envelopes or go to forestpark.church/give and choose the Next Steps giving option. We encourage you to pray about giving to Next Steps to help reach more people for Christ.

We personally are blessed to be a part of the Forest Park family. It has also been a blessing to us to participate in the Next Steps campaign to see God’s Kingdom enriched and growing. Giving feels good and is good!

On behalf of the Next Steps Follow-Up Team, thank you!

Rick and Kathy Griffith (Forest Park Joplin)
Todd and Alaina Yockey (Forest Park Carthage)
Richard and Michelle O’Hare (Forest Park North)

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Posted

January 29, 2016

Author

John Swadley

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