Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, to give you a future and a hope”
What comforting words our God has given us to hold onto during times of change, our future and our hope lie’ in him.
It’s with a mixture of that same hope and with incredible sadness that Pastor Paul Schindler, the staff and eldership of Living Hope Church announces it will be no longer be holding services. Effective August 24th, 2014 we will be meeting as Calvary Chapel International Worship Center, under the leadership and pastoral direction of Shawn Murphy.
There are many factors that played into this difficult decision and know that we did not come to this conclusion lightly. For the past year we have been watching our spiritual growth and noticed something was not working. We noticed attendance was trending in the wrong direction, that small groups were not forming and that new leaders were not being developed.
Yet with all those atypical struggles our church encountered moments of God’s spirit that was amazing. He moved in our Sunday services and in our individual lives. It was that refreshing of God that got us thinking “what is God doing?” We know He has a place and a purpose for us and we know as His disciples we must make certain our effectiveness. So what is He doing?
We concluded He was and is moving us to change, to seek Him and not the answers to our problems. As the leadership of LHC sought out the Lord He was clearly telling us it was time to move. Move to a more possible future and move that next step towards His will. Thus our time as Living Hope Church has concluded.
We want to apologize for what pain and possible discouragement this might bring in your lives. We in no way desire that for anyone in our church. Please understand that we did everything we knew possible to avoid this moment. But it was not man’s ways we where trying to circumvent, but God’s movement. And when God moves there is little one can do but simply obey.
We realize this is difficult on you and your family and we want to help in what manner we can. We also know this will generate questions, comments and even moments of grief and loss. We want to speak with you and help you through the process. There are two ways to do this:
- We have setup an email address firstname.lastname@example.org You can email your thoughts and we will respond to you personally.
- Lastly we have setup an online form you can fill out at http://livinghopechurch.tv/questionanswer/ and we will get back to you personally.
Finally, we want to communicate the next steps for us as believers. We are Christians, committed first to Christ and His church. For that reason we will take the opportunity to hold a “Celebration of God’s Stories in our lives” service on August 17th. This will be a special service of praise and worship, sharing of God’s stories and times of prayer as we complete this part of our journey. Please come with a desire to share your thankfulness as to what God has done in you through this ministry.
Additionally we need to make sure we honorably handle our obligations at LHC as we conclude the business side of our church. This is where you can help if you would like and sense God moving you to.
We will maintain a simple budget to pay the mortgage and the utilities on the June Drive property until such time we can sell the facility. The leadership of LHC has first committed to giving to that budget with their tithes and offerings until the building sells. It is important for us to honor and reconcile any church related debts, If you would like to contribute, there are two ways:
- Good ole’ snail mail. (You can continue to mail in your tithes and offerings with the envelopes provided to 7840 June Drive, Pasadena, MD 21144)
- The digital age (You can also setup an online account with our AMP service and give through the internet. It’s safe, secure and easy to setup reoccurring giving.) GO TO WWW.LIVINGHOPECHURCH.TV and select “Sign into AMP WAVE”
REMINDERS & NEXT STEPS
- 17th of August service will be about the “Stories of God Among Us” come with a thankful heart and if you want to share your story please contact Pastor Carlton Matthews.
- August 24th we will begin to meet at Calvary Chapel International Worship Center in Severn. 8064 New Cut Road, Severn, MD 21144 Service begins at 10am.
QUESTIONS (and some answers.)
I am angry about this decision, what do I do?
Anger is a natural reaction to this situation. Anger can also be Godly, but be careful because it is also a very destructive force that can tear apart lives. The Bible tells us that “In your anger, do not sin” (Eph 4:26) so don’t let it fester in your thoughts and emotions. Talk it out with people that can truly help you. We want to help so call us and we will listen.
Why can’t LHC continue as a body?
We thought through and fought through many moments like this before in the history of the church. What was different this time was where God was leading us. To fight against God is just not wise and He was clearly leading us to this decision. “38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39)
Why does this hurt so much?
Because a church is a family and it connects to who we are as people not just what we do together. If it hurts it’s because we are grieving the loss of the hopes and the dreams that we did not see come to pass. And when we hurt we need to let it out and listen to each other. Take care of one another’s needs and not look to blame one person or people. “Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
What will happen with Pastor Paul and his family?
Pastor Paul and Heather want to first of all thank each of you for being apart of LHC. You all are a blessing and we are grateful to know you all. Please pray for our pastor and his family. They are losing more here than we might realize. He is losing his job and what they have personally invested over the years. Beyond that they are facing many tough decisions in their near future. Currently Pastor Paul has no plans of returning to ministry. He is returning to work in the corporate world in hopes of attaining a job and can’t do both at the same time. “18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” (1 Tim 5:18)
Do I have to attend Calvary?
The simple answer here is No. You are free to attend what church you see God leading you to attend. We feel we can make the most impact by not spreading ourselves thin but staying in a group and lifting another church to the next level. “24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
If I continue to give will I still get a tax deduction, what will happen with that money?
Yes! You will receive your normal tax letter at the beginning of 2015 along with a Profit and loss statement as we have sent in the past. We will maintain the corporate entity through the fiscal year and be able to process tithes and offerings as they come in. The finances will be board run and executed in a manner consistent with honoring our obligations. “12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12)