I am deeply thankful for how you are letting God use you to touch lives all over the world. It is a rare privilege to be part of a church where God is doing so much. This year we baptized 170 people and averaged 1,907 in worship services. God used us to plant and strengthen churches in Thailand, Brazil, Haiti, Mexico, as well as various mission points here in America. God is answering your prayers to increase the impact of your church!
I’m very excited about the dreams God has given us for the next three years. We have church approval to move forward with purchasing the strip-mall where our North Campus is located. Finishing the work of updating our Worship Center in Joplin and providing more space for children at Carthage will help us reach more people and grow their faith.
Next Steps is a three-year initiative that will strengthen all three Forest Park campuses. For the next 36 months, we need everyone to make a special commitment in addition to our regular giving. If we all pull in the same direction, God is going to use us like never before.
Our theme is “NOT EQUAL GIFTS, BUT EQUAL SACRIFICE.” Sacrifice makes us like Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. God will impress a specific amount on your heart if you ask Him to speak to you. Don't be surprised if the amount requires both sacrifice and faith. Giving by faith happens when we decide to give an amount that will require God’s help to fulfill.
November 15/16 is the weekend when we will receive both a cash offering and 36-month giving commitments for this great work. Ten percent of these gifts will be set aside to spread the Gospel through missions. We will build our church and mission churches at the same time.
You’ve heard me say before that when it comes to money, we can’t take it with us, but we can send it on ahead. When we invest in God’s work, we are investing for eternity. I would not dare take this step without God. Neither do I want to take it without you—every one of you. I am trusting in God and counting on you. Thanks for investing in eternity and trusting God for a miracle!
We're getting so close to the completion of both the Worship Center and the Welcome Center remodels. It's very exciting to see it all coming together!
This week in the Worship Center, curtains and lighting were hung, carpeting was installed in front of the stage, paint was touched up, and the clean up process began.
In the Welcome Center the painting was finished, cabinets were installed and flooring was completed. Check out the photos below to see our progress.
Construction on the Worship Center progressed nicely this week. The stage floor was painted, the front of the stage was completed, and the ceiling panels were hung. We even got a chance to fire up some of the effects lighting.
The remodel of the Welcome Center commenced this week as well. New flooring and paint began. Check out the photos below to see the progress.
Our One Church campaign is in its final months and it has been a huge success. As of June 30, $2,239,274 of the $2,701,853 pledged to One Church has been given (83% of the pledges have been received with 87% of the time elapsed). This is an awesome follow-through on our commitments.
One of our favorite parts of the One Church campaign is that 10% of all we give to the building fund is set aside for missions. A team of nine high school students and eight adults just returned from a 12-day mission trip to Thailand – a portion of which is funded through One Church donations. Individuals pay their own travel expenses on Forest Park mission trips, but medicines, supplies, and missionary support provided by One Church allow teams to make a huge difference as they travel around the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Our team was able to share with over 800 students using English camps as the tool to open the door as well as a medical clinic that saw around 120 patients, with five people accepting Jesus as their Savior. Praise God! To see our students step out and lead in the worship, in the English camps, and share their faith was just a tremendous blessing. There’s little doubt that our students’ lives were forever changed as a result of this experience, not to mention the Thais whose eternity was changed because of our student team. Thank you, Forest Park, for making this possible.
Work is happening at the Joplin Campus as well. The phase one remodel of the Worship Center is progressing well and should be finished by September 21. The update will provide a better atmosphere for worship and presenting the Gospel to the Joplin area.
Thank you for your support and faithfulness in giving over the last three years. Let’s finish the race strong and continue to give generously as we come to the close of this giving season.
Derek and Sheri Towery on behalf of Your One Church Follow-Up Team,
Jef and Misty Frost (Joplin)
Dexter and Donna Friesen (Carthage)
Derek and Sheri Towery (North)
A woman who lost her home in the tornado and suffers with health problems, which prevent her from getting back on her feet, came by our WMU House and Mission Joplin. Our volunteers shared the Gospel with her and invited her to Forest Park. She enjoyed our worship service and asked to meet with me explaining that though her father was an atheist, she has studied all the world religions and believes in God, but not that Jesus is the Son of God. She wondered if she would be welcome. I assured her that we love everyone, even those who don’t agree with us, and gave her some books to read. On May 24, she put a note in the offering plate that said:
“Thank you so much for taking the time to teach what I have needed to learn my whole life. It all makes sense now and it is OK within my heart to believe and follow both God and Jesus Christ as the Son of God. I finally understand what my mother tried to teach me but my father kept me from believing. I have had a chance to see it at work in my life on a daily basis.” In June I baptized her.
Through the ministries supported by your giving, we’re seeing many come to know Jesus. Already this year we have passed the 100 baptisms mark (that’s the 11th consecutive year). In addition to what God is doing at Joplin, North and Carthage, our mission teams have seen people in Thailand, Colorado, Texas and Haiti trust the Lord to save them.
God is also using your church to help the next generation know and love the Lord. Our VBS introduced a good number of children to our faith, and some of them prayed to receive Christ. Lives are being changed for eternity through your prayers, giving, and service. Thank you for helping us touch lives for eternity.
I love you,
P.S. Sheri and I love our online giving system. Check it out on our website, forestpark.tv/give.