Daily we are beset with the news of another mass shooting, the rancor of political division, and studies that detail the devastating impact that social media and cell phones are having on families and teens. It seems as though the ground is giving way beneath us. When we were young we learned this children’s rhyme, “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put Humpty together again.” Who is going to mend what is broken in our families and community? Do you think the healing will come from the next election, Wall Street or our universities?
The healing will come from the church of Jesus Christ. In 2,000 years, the church has served as the spiritual and cultural anchor in the tempest of societal upheaval.
In Citrus County, Seven Rivers has been allowed to play this role. When tragedy struck (Phil Royal’s death), the community gathered here, when storms brought destruction, help went out from here, when lives are broken, healing emanates from here (Teen Mops, Grief Share, Divorce Recovery, post-abortion care, Disaster Relief Teams, The Path).
Seven Rivers isn’t great but our God is—we are an orchestra of broken instruments in which God can and does make a beautiful sound. Those who follow the music find their way to healing and wholeness in Jesus.
Seven Rivers has had a sweet 35 years of health and growth, but our attention is directed towards the future. All Things New is a call to our church to resolve by God’s grace to fill our church with young families, new converts, young staff, and gospel energy which will propel Camp Seven Rivers, Seven Rivers Christian School, Seven Rivers Student Ministry, Seven Rivers Children’s Ministry, and MOPS toward years of fruitfulness.
The world is dark, but God has raised us up for such a time as this. I’m asking each one of us to dedicate ourselves afresh to the work of Seven Rivers Church as we attempt to bring the sweet music of God’s grace to a world that desperately needs to be made new.
The Bible records numerous accounts of God giving his people renewed love for Him, renewed interest in His word, and renewed commitment to His mission. It’s wonderful when an individual experiences renewal, but it’s community-changing when a whole church experiences it simultaneously. This is our longing for All Things New.
In a big church, congregational participation can begin to lag as everyone thinks that someone else will do the work that needs to be done. All Things New is a clarion call for everyone at SRPC to renew their commitment to the mission of bringing the grace of God to broken people and broken places. Our longing is for 100% participation!
Add new staff, increase our outreach, reach young families and maintain all the ministries we currently have — SRCS, Camp Seven Rivers, Student Ministry, MOPS, Weekend Worship, Foreign Missions, etc.
Every church is in a battle to repopulate itself with young children and families or it will become obsolete. This is especially true in Citrus County. As a church, we must constantly be prioritizing the new, the young, the children. We must ever be growing young—young staff, young officers and young families.
At SRPC we love to watch the gospel transform people. Our priority has always been to grow by conversions, to reach people for Jesus who have never been in His family. This is what makes a church a vibrant mission.
When people move into a house that’s 15-20 years old, they often find they have to redo the kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, etc. to bring it up-to-date. So, SRPC has a sanctuary and narthex with timeless “bones” but it needs to be made new for the next 20 years.
The vision for Seven Rivers’ future has been steeped in prayer for God’s direction. God’s word and God’s spirit have led us to All Things New. Now we are asking God to make it all come to pass for His glory. “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
Yes, All Things New is a capital campaign but it is a different approach. Commitments to the First Love campaign were solely for capital improvements. Giving to the ongoing ministry of Seven Rivers was separate. In the All Things New campaign, we have combined the ministry fund and the capital fund into one fund. In other words, All Things New will fund everything in our ministry over the next two years.
At Seven Rivers, we have ONE MISSION — to bring the healing balm of the gospel to broken people and broken places. That’s why we are excited to introduce the ONE FUND approach, a single fund that unifies the generosity of everyone at Seven Rivers toward the totality of our mission. All Things New will support all our ministry efforts to our families, community, and world.
SRPC, in its 35-year history, has never asked its congregation to commit financial support for our ministry vision. We have asked for financial pledges to acquire land, build, and maintain buildings. Rapid facility expansion is not our greatest need. We need resources to advance our ministry and the One Fund asks our congregation, for the first time, to sacrificially and joyously fund the mission.
In the Bible, there are accounts of God visiting His people and bringing powerful corporate renewal. Very often, this involved people turning from their idols and giving God first place in their life. Corporate renewal comes when North Americans are taken with the beauty of Jesus and devote their resources to His work and His glory rather than their own comfort. Thus, our longing for All Things New is nothing less than revival and renewal at SRPC!
Of course! All of us are making the best commitment decision we can make based on what we know. Unforeseen circumstances may cause you to want to increase or decrease your giving commitment in the future. At any time during the 24 months, you can review or change your All Things New commitment online, or you can ask for another commitment card and turn it in as your revised commitment!
Even in times of scarcity, God wants our hearts. It is easier to give when there is abundance, but lean times prompt us to trust God at a greater level. The widow who gave her last mite did not make a very big financial contribution, but Jesus said she gave the largest gift of all. All Things New is about all of us coming together, giving generously, and trusting God to do the rest. It may mean that God is asking you to trust Him by making a faith commitment that you do not know how to fulfill right now. God has supplied our every need in Christ, and we trust that He will honor a heart that wants to give generously in response to the gospel. All Things New means all of us, together — for God’s glory, for our neighbors, and for our world.
There may also be ways to be sacrificial with your lifestyle to create margin for generosity in your life. Some will cancel cable, and some will ditch the smartphone plan and return to a basic mobile phone. Others will play a little less golf and still others will forego a few caramel macchiatos every week. Some families will buy a smaller home or rent a smaller apartment to be able to give generously for the progress of the gospel. Find ways to involve the entire family in the process of giving generously. Use this as an opportunity to teach children and grandchildren to obey the Lord with a generous heart and to trust Him. This is a great opportunity to take a look at our overall stewardship of all that God has entrusted to us.
Where are you now on your generosity journey?
Where is God calling you to be?
What would be needed for you to take the next step towards a more generous lifestyle?
We must always remember there is much more to generosity than just a financial transaction. In God’s eyes our growth in generosity is less about a financial transaction and more about a transformation. It is truly a matter of the heart!
The Generosity Journey can help us think about this transformation. Make no mistake; to move along this path requires a heart change. Moving along the path does not make us super Christians; it brings us to a greater understanding of God, not a greater view of ourselves. As you look and think about this journey, ask yourself, “What drives you to be generous?”
You can take your first step and emerge into giving.
You can take the next step to give intentionally and proportionally.
You can step up to honor God with your first 10%.
You can go the next step and give extravagantly for the Kingdom.
You can ask God to guide you into a new place of joyous generosity.
Six years ago, they signed their little girls up for Camp Seven Rivers, having no idea how God would change not only their girls but the whole family. The parents marveled at the joy, the energy, and the intentionality of the high school counselors. The dad later remarked, "I work with high school students and I have never seen students work with such maturity and poise." At the end of each day, their girls returned home more in love with Camp Seven Rivers. The parent's curiosity got the best of them, so they decided to visit SRPC as a family. Fast forward to the present: The girls are thriving as students of SRCS. They all work at camp each summer and the whole family has joined the church having been captured by the grace of God. The dad? Well, now he teaches at SRCS and this past summer took the job as our new Camp Director.
Families made new by God's grace.
Scripture speaks of those who sow and water: A high school teacher challenges a student's worldview, and days later, another teacher invites her to small group. The following week, the school chaplain brings the message of salvation and hope, of the Light that has come into the darkness. And on this day, yet another teacher weeps for joy as she commits her life to Christ. At SRCS, this is what it looks like to tend the land-to be a faculty whose greatest calling is to sow and water so that the field may be ripe for God's harvest.
Hearts and minds made new thru the sewing God's truths.
"I found and started attending a DC group within a couple of weeks of learning that my wife was seeking a divorce. I found a group that was full of love and concern. I was able to talk with others who have gone down this very path, and they helped me to see that there was hope and in time it will get better. If your friends or family haven't gone through divorce-despite their well intentions - they just can't comfort and support you like others who have gone through it. At the heart of DivorceCare is God's love for us, and the promise that He has a bright future in store."
"The friendship and camaraderie that the DivorceCare team imparts to the group, and to the experience, is one I am forever grateful for. Their gentle invitation provided me with the support I needed. It allowed me to hold steadfast to my faith. The program itself reminded me to continually anchor myself in Christ so as not to experience the spiritual drifting that often comes with the pain and anguish of this journey."
Making all things new in spite of the broken circumstances of life.
"Eight years ago, when I was pregnant with my first son, I was at a community event, called The World's Greatest Baby Shower, and I stopped by the Seven Rivers MOPS (MOTHERS OF PRESCHOOLERS) table. I had no idea what MOPS was and that it would be a place where my life would be changed. I was intrigued and looking for fellowship with other moms my age, I went and I haven't stopped coming. I was amazed that I was welcomed in so freely, even though I wasn't a believer. It was about four years into my attending MOPS and the church's events for kids that I met Jesus - He has changed my life and the lives of my two boys. For someone who never dreamed that I could be cherished and loved unconditionally, meeting Jesus and experiencing His forgiveness and acceptance has been life-changing! This year God has given me the humbling opportunity to be the coordinator of MOPS and I am so thankful to be a part of this ministry."
Making all things new for young moms through MOPS.
Seven Rivers Student Ministry (SRSM) believes that all students are lovable and movable through the gospel. SRSM wants students to become active church members that have been supported and equipped to lead, to serve and to make disciples that make disciples. We want to convince students through the gospel that they are lovable and that because of this love they can love others. Our hope is that through the ministry of the gospel we will see the students of Citrus County transformed and empowered to make all things new.
This year, a single mother showed up at the student ministry building looking for someone to help her. She said, "My son is angry, he won't talk to me, I don't know what to do." Her son began meeting with the student ministry staff after school. He got plugged into Real Life and he made friends. He was invited to middle school camp and decided to go. Then, at camp, he came to know Jesus. God transformed his life. This is one of the many stories that the student ministry gets to see every year and there is always a common theme: God making all things new.
Hurting teens made new through the body of Christ at SRSM.
February 17, 2019 | Nehemiah 1:1-11
February 24, 2019 | Luke 16:1-15
March 3, 2019 | Nehemiah 2:1-18
March 10, 2019 | Nehemiah 3:1-12; 4:1, 3, 6-8, 14, 20
March 17, 2019 | Nehemiah 3:1-12; 4:1, 3, 6-8, 14, 20