What does it feel like when the big party is over? After the cleanup of the streamers and the leftover food, when the wedding guests have returned home or the graduating senior has left for college, and the laughter of friends no longer echoes through the halls. Do you have moments when you replay the conversations, chuckle at a funny memory, smile with surprise that someone unexpected came?
The days after Easter feel a bit like that at Orchard Group. Even as the “big party” celebration of Easter winds down, we still rejoice as good news pours in. Many of our churches reported record attendance, and we celebrate with news of every baptism. Behind each number is a story of God at work in a person’s life - to renew and restore hope to His people.
This Easter thirty-three people were baptized into Christ at one of our churches. Sixteen of those people made decisions at Mosaic Christian Church near Baltimore, MD, including Rick, pictured above. A growing network of Christ-following communities is being established in cities across our nation and in global cities. The excitement of Kingdom growth in the book of Acts is still happening today.
Attendance at Orchard Group church plants has doubled in the past four years!
Over 18,500 people attended a service at one of our churches on Easter Sunday. Revolution Christian Church in Annapolis, three years old, celebrated the baptisms of six new believers. The staff responded to a record number of first time guests with hand-written postcards.
New City Church in Phoenix held one large gathering outdoors and 1,175 came to hear the good news of the resurrection. New City is growing rapidly and recently purchased a building to renovate for worship space. Before the church started lead planter Brian Kruckenberg prayed over this empty building just north of downtown - centrally located to the places where people work, live and play. Four years later, God has answered that prayer!
100 people came to each of the Mustard Seed Churches in Nagoya & Osaka Japan. Each month at these churches, people are committing their lives to Jesus and, in turn, reaching out to friends and family.
While the Easter party may be over, the celebration continues. Many of our churches show the life, health and vibrancy that makes the gospel evident in their cities. They are growing numerically, but also developing future leaders. Our churches are reproducing by supporting new churches.
New churches will start later this year in Chicago, Philadelphia, Harlem and Miami, and we are blessed to be a part of the work God is doing in these great cities.
Bill Hybels recently shared, â€œNothing in this world compares to witnessing the power of our God transforming a human life.â€ We agree! Church planting is beautiful work, and Orchard Group is privileged to play a part.
Thank you for the part you play in making this possible. Each one of these churches, and the individual lives that are changed, are a direct result of your prayers, support, and the power of God at work.