I am so excited to share our new Genesis 5020 with you.
For the next few weeks we will hear from my dear friend, Jolene Nofzinger.
I met Jolene when we started attending elem3nt church. She was on worship team when I joined and I soon discovered she was an avid reader as well:)
Although I met Jolene in 2000, it wasn’t until about four years ago that our relationship grew deeper when I joined the lifegroup she was in. She was one of the first people to hear my Genesis 5020 as God had commanded me to share with our lifegroup in 2010.
As I stated last week her story is very different from what you have heard so far and I am so glad for that. I hope it will spark a fire in you to share your story on this blog.
Read on and be blessed.
Growing up in the church we would periodically have “testimony time” where people would be asked to share their story of how God saved them or how He was working in their lives. While I enjoyed hearing other people’s stories, I feared being asked to share mine, because I didn’t feel like I had a story that was good enough or dramatic enough to share.
Well, God has been writing a whole new chapter in my walk with Him and it has taken some dramatic turns. It was not exactly what I had in mind… But God has showed up in an incredible way!
I have attended the same church for most of my life – A church that my grandparents, parents and siblings have also attended. A church that my husband’s grandfather pastored at one time. The church that brought my husband and me together, where we were married, dedicated our children and call our spiritual home.
Our church has grown and evolved over the years through God’s faithfulness and blessing. We have had wonderful pastors with visionary leadership and skilled teachers of God’s Word.
Several years ago we were at what I thought was the top – Our attendance was growing, we had a dynamic teaching pastor, a great worship experience (something near and dear to my heart), the biggest youth program in town – our church had it going on!
And then God decided our church needed a little pruning…
That began a turbulent time in our church life. We went through a change in name and became multi-site, which caused some folks to leave. Over the course of about a year we lost several key pastoral staff for various reasons – with many in our church body following them to their new ministries.
We lost volunteers for ministry and we were struggling. We had no youth program, something that was of great concern as my daughter was quickly approaching the age where she could be a part of youth group. Both my husband and I grew up in wonderful youth programs with great leaders and I never, ever imagined that wouldn’t be a big part of my kids’ church experience.
Our tight-knit life group was impacted through these losses as well and faced a difficult season of adjustment.
I don’t want to dwell on the details of this painful time of “pruning” for our church. Nor do I want to point fingers or come off as judgmental of those who chose to worship elsewhere during this time. I had many conversations with dear friends and even some family members who left. They felt God telling them to move and they obeyed – and that was the right thing for them.
They will always be treasured brothers and sisters in Christ. However, it did not make the parting any less painful.
He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. John 15:2-4 NLT