Monday, October 10, 2005

Tender Tidings

Well, after four weeks we are happy to welcome the newest and youngest member of our rowdy group. Congratulations to Billy and Julie on thier new addition!

On the subject of small people, we are looking to further develop ministries to all ages at the church. Beginning this Saturday, a schedule will be available to sign up for nursury duty. If you have not had a background check done at Central within the last 5 years, we may ask you to complete an application. Please do not be offended by this. It is simply a task telling of our times and to protect you and your children from worry or accusation. Thanks in advance for helping us out in this department.

In other news, we continue to expand in accessibility. If you have not yet been added to our email news list, please send an email to our official church email address: renovatecharlotte@mac.com. Place "add me" in the subject line and you should receive confirmation.

As we continue to ask God to shape our identity as a church, we ask that you pray for wisdom and guidance in future plans. We see the need for our own facility to really do the kind of outreach we desire and to be shaped into the congregation we want to be, but we need to know that it is God's doing, not just our fancy planning. Please pray towards this end.

Thanks to all of our dear fellowship for your encouragement and faithfulness during this phase of our development. It is so encouraging to see people sit in their pews and talk long after the service is over, to know who's missing and welcome them back, to feel the importance of each person attending. That's what community is.


Thankful beyond measure,
Amanda

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Renovatus Online

Well, we are up and running, friends!

I apologize for the tardiness in updating our news blog! I promise to be a more faithful correspondant in the future!

FIRST, some news of note:

We now have an official church telephone number: 704-526-5119
If you would, please use this number for all church business.

Also, we have an official mailing address: Renovatus Church
P.O. Box 5349
Charlotte, NC 28299

For the time being, this is still the best location for news and updates.

Our first three meetings have been thrilling. The energy and warmth have been beyond what Jonathan and I could have ever hoped for. Thanks to all of you who have helped with worship, nursery, greeting, ushering, and all of the logistical details of making a church meeting happen.

If you have any interest in volunteering in ministries of children, greeting, ushering, or helps, or if you would simply like to be on our contact list, please contact us at jonathanm@u2.com . Include your first and last name, email address, and a phone number where you can be reached.

MEMBERSHIP NEWS:

We will soon be compiling our official church charter list of new members. If you would like your name to be included on that list, meaning that you intend to transfer your membership from another church to Renovatus or simply want to be a member, please contact me, Amanda Martin, at jonathanm@u2.com. Include in the email the first and last names of all family members you would like to be included on the list along with the age of each family member. Call or email for more information about this process. NOTE: Whether you have or have not contributed financially, you must specifically indicate whether or not you want your name to be included on the charter membership list.

BIBLE STUDY:

Our first Tuesday Bible study was an introduction to the book of Matthew, specifically focusing on what makes Matthew different from the other gospel accounts. Jonathan spent time with the geneology of Jesus, emphasizing Matthew's concern with the Jewish identity of Jesus. Jonathan talked about Matthew's concern with the phrase "the kingdom of heaven" verses Mark and Luke's use of the term "kingdom of God." Over the next few weeks, we will look specifically at Matthew's depiction of Jesus to inform our identity as Jesus' disciples. Copies of last week's outline will be available at the resource table in the lobby. Also, Bible studies will be taped beginning with this coming Tuesday's meeting. Copies of Saturday meetings are also available.

REFLECTION ON SATURDAY:

Jonathan has spent time at both of our Saturday meetings talking of the substance of our community. I say substance rather than appearance because Jonathan and I specifically feel the need to emphasize that we are not looking to be part of a hip, cool, post-modern social Christian club. We want this to be a community of believers with a passion for Christ's teachings and seeking His transforming, redemptive power. Specifically, we want to embrace the teachings of Jesus and take seriously his mantle of discipleship to inform our daily life.

Simultaneously, we want to love people in both our spiritual and physical community with ardor, confronting them with an unconditional love and acceptance that can only come from God our Father. We do not want you and anyone who comes into contact with Renovatus to feel like a project, but instead to feel the safety and peace of fellowship with Christ's people. IF that idea seems risky to you, you are fully grasping our vision. If that seems a little scandalous, you have perceived our ideology correctly.

We welcome you to what will be, with God's grace and direction, a place of grace and truth, peace and authenticity, love and conflict. It may get messy. It will certainly not always be nice. But as we grow to know one another more intimately, see the up and close and no make-up sides of one another's lives, we will learn to love one another as the Father loves all his children, proud and prodigal sons, warts and all.


-Amanda Martin

Monday, August 29, 2005

Community and Commissioning

Saturday night was a wonderful gathering at the Martin house. We wanted to say a special thanks to all who were able to attend. For some strange reason it was not as hot as the week before, even with over thirty people. Hmmmm . . .

After worship, Jonathan reiterated the main philosophy and purpose behind our adventure and gave notebooks to those who were absent the week prior. We then had a time of sharing and conversation about issues on all of out hearts. There were many expressions of gratitude for the emphasis on authenticity and intimacy that Jonathan has expressed.

Sunday evening, Pastor Loran Livingston of Central called those of us involved to the front of the church. We were commissioned, prayed for, and given a reception. Jonathan and I were so happy and proud to have all of our friends with us. Many Central members expressed a sincere desire to see God use us. There were lots of encouraging words and expressions of thanks for our time at Central. Many thanks to our Central friends for their support verbally, financially, and prayerfully.

Jonathan and are still on the lookout for a building. We looked with Dennis Donahue at a warehouse currently for sale but being rented by CAST (Carolina Actors Studio Theater). It is very close to the Family Dollar shopping center. It is one of the only locations we have found with adequate parking and lots of room for growth and multi-purpose use. Of course, we are not making any moves until we have clear direction.

Continue to pray for the transition in Central's youth department, that the right minister will become evident and the students will transition well.

Amanda

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

renovatus: (n.)

(1) latin term for renovation;(2) to be renewed; (3) to be made as good as new.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Welcome to the Renovatus Blog!

Hello everybody!

Welcome to the Renovatus Church blog of Charlotte, NC. If you can believe it, I actually had a hard time naming this blog - Renovatus was taken!

Well, hopefully if you are reading this you have either already committed to being part of the experiment known as Renovatus Church in Charlotte, NC or are considering joining our freaky fellowship. This has been a hectic but exciting past two weeks for the church, with Jonathan seeking out buildings, confirming the name, and getting information together for the core group and ministers.

We had a wonderful time on Saturday, August 20 at our home (Jonathan and Amanda Martin). Thanks to those of you who were able to attend. In addition to some incredible yummies contributed by my mother, we had a special time of intimate worship led by our music minister Grant Hopkins and our minister to youth Josh Spence. Afterwards, Jonathan gave out notebooks with our statement of faith and vision and some suggested readings to inform our future conversations as a community. If you did not receive one, please let Jonathan know by emailing him.

By the way, Jonathan and I are no longer giving out our church email addresses as they will be of no use after August 31, our last day in the office of Central Church of God. If you need to contact us via email, please use Jonathan's personal email at jonathanm@u2.com . We will have new email addresses as soon as we are able to secure a domain name a web site for the church.

In other exciting news, the first official meeting for the church will be September 10, 2005 at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Plaza Midwood. The church is located off Commonwealth Avenue and is invisible from the road except for the sign. Commonwealth runs parallel to Central Avenue. The Penguin Drive-In is on the corner of Thomas and Commonwealth, if that helps. The church is further east on Commonwealth from the Penguin (going towards Briar Creek). If you are coming from east Charlotte/Matthews area via Independance, you will want to take West 74 towards downtown, Exit on the Briar Creek exit. Turn left at the end of the ramp. Turn left on Commonwealth. The church will be on your left approximately a mile (?) down Commonwealth. Again, the church is difficult to see, so look for the sign. Our service will begin at 6:30 pm.

Services will continue to be at 7pm on Tuesdays and 6:30pm on Saturdays through December or until God helps us to find a more permanent location. We will meet in the Chapel at Resurrection, which is more intimate and traditional than their main santuary. (They have kneeling benches . . . ahhhhhhh.)

In other news, we have had an unexpected blessing. While Central is going to help support us, we are going to be an officially chartered church, independant of Central, from the very first meeting. This means that all tithes and offerings, contributions, banking information, etc. will be under the name Renovatus Church. We will be officially organized under the Church of God denominational umbrella.

Please continue to pray for God's favor and leading as we follow Him. Pray for unity of vision and generous spirits among all you dear pilgrims who venture this journey with us. We take very seriously the trust you are putting in God and us. Continue to pray for Jonathan as he is having some difficulty sleeping. There are many things to think about and do in three weeks time.

Please feel free to post your thoughts and reactions as we journal our journey. Glory to God for this beautiful experiment. May He remember us and give us success for the Glory of his son and the discovery of His kingdom on earth.

With an overwhelmed heart,

Amanda Martin