This article is contributed by Lou Pizzichillo, lead planter of Community Church on Long Island.
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul wrote these words. If you stop and think about them for a minute, they’re pretty extreme. In Ephesians 3:20-21, he says...
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
In other words, we can’t even begin to dream up what God is willing to do in and through us to show people of all ages just how good he is.
For us, that’s the story of 2020.
We certainly wouldn’t have asked, and definitely couldn’t have imagined, all that 2020 would throw our way, but one thing is for sure—God has shown us once again just how good he is.
Before we launched last year, we set some goals for the year ahead. These were the things for which we were praying (asking) and hoping (imagining):
- With no idea what to expect, we were hoping to launch with 150 people. On launch day, over 350 showed up.
- After the excitement of opening Sunday, we were hoping to level our attendance out at around 80 people. For the ten weeks we were open, our Sunday in-person attendance average was over 260.
- We were hoping to start Community Groups, but weren’t sure any would be able to get off the ground during our first year. Now, we’ve have 8 different groups.
- We had plans to spend our Sunday mornings in a rented banquet hall. Instead, we were given a church building, debt free, on Main Street in Babylon Village. For real.
Same Mission. New Methods.
From the start, our mission has been to change the way people think about God. With the unforeseen challenges of 2020, our methods had to change, but our mission did not.
Since the shutdown, our people have been raising money for those who are struggling, delivering IHOP to homes of frontline workers, donating to the local food pantry, running errands for those who are high risk, and intentionally supporting local businesses affected by the pandemic.
One step at a time, through these small acts of love, these amazing people are changing the way people think about church, and ultimately, changing the way people think about God.
Months ago, we realized that our current meeting space (the basement of the building we had been given) was too small and tight to allow us to implement adequate measures of social distancing, so we began to dream about how we could affordably update the main auditorium of the building — a big project that we initially thought would be years in the future.
Four months later, a newly-formed, unbelievably selfless group of people (affectionately known as the “Re:Launch Team”), have almost completely transformed the space.
Now, on our first birthday, after a whirlwind year, we’re preparing to reopen in a totally updated space.
All that to say...
God has done immeasurably more than all we could have ever asked or imagined.
And if you’re on the other end of this message, it means he has worked through you to do it. Whether it was big ways or small ways—through work done, prayers spoken, money given, or services attended—God has worked through you to keep this new church alive.
And so, as we begin to see the first signs of light at the end of this COVID tunnel, let this story of Community Church remind you that God is using you to do amazing things, whether you can see it or not—and for that, we are so incredibly grateful.
Thank you for being part of Year One.
And now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!