OneLife turned six months old this past Sunday! Unbelievable. One of the keys to us being able to hit the ground running was great support from other churches. Below is a letter sent to those churches keeping them posted on all that God is doing at and through OneLife. There is a lot to celebrate!
It’s hard to believe, but our baby is six-months old! This past Sunday marked six months since the launch of OneLife Church. Because of your support and an unbelievable move of God, amazing stories of life-change are truly happening. I wanted to take a moment at this milestone and update you so you can give an update to your churches and so you and your churches can continue to pray for us as we move into the second half of our first year.
Life Change – About 80% of the people at OneLife have not come from other churches. Many have been wounded in the past by church experiences, some are new to the community, and many others have simply not been involved in a church for many years, if ever. Because of that, it has been amazing to see 30 people express to us that they have given their lives to Christ and this Sunday we will baptize six people, totaling 12 baptisms since we launched. We are also seeing many new believers and young Christians get involved in ministry for the first time in their lives.
Involvement – We intentionally launched with a very simple model, focusing solely on Sunday mornings (children’s ministries and adult worship). Because of that we emphasized volunteerism as our small groups model. Volunteer teams (tech, band, children, greeters, parking lot, etc.) meet together before the morning service to build relationships, share a devotional together, pray, etc. This approach has led to more than 100 people volunteering on a Sunday morning at some point and an average of 60 volunteers weekly. This fall we will launch home groups from these volunteer teams. Later this spring we will launch small groups for middle and high school students.
Growth – Attendance has grown significantly each month. Throughout the last three weeks of November we averaged 147 each week. Over three recent weeks, we averaged 244. That’s nearly 100 new people on average in just three months! This has maxed out several of our children’s rooms and has the auditorium nearing 80% on some Sundays. With this in mind, we have decided to launch a second service on Easter. This is a big step of faith that we are excited about!
Reproduction – It is important to us to be involved in church planting early and often. We have already helped a new work starting at Bakertown Apartments (a government housing project) by donating equipment and helping them with an outreach event. They launch weekly services on Easter Sunday. Another new church will launch this fall or Spring 2011 in South Knoxville that will be similar to OneLife. I have been very involved with helping the planter there as much as we can. OneLife has committed to help support this new church from our missions budget. It will not be much but will represent our commitment to church planting. Additionally, we are already praying and seeking God about where our next step may be in terms of OneLife reproducing in another part of Knoxville, maybe as soon as 2011. Finally, we have met many other church planters from Lynchburg, VA to Cleveland, TN that we have been able to network with and help in their planning processes.
Missional Focus – Our goal is to lead individuals to be missional in their everyday lives rather than them relying on the church to be missional. However, we do offer opportunities for our church to come together and focus on outward initiatives together. At Christmas, OneLifers provided gifts for 35 foster children. The gifts were given directly to the children in their foster homes on Christmas morning. Following the Haiti earthquake, OneLife partnered with One Vision International to provide medical supplies for relief teams. Since launching we have partnered with Powell High School to paint bathrooms, plant flowers, clean parking lots, clean landscaping, and provide breakfast for teachers. This Spring we will partner with Angelic Ministries, a homeless ministry in the inner-city, to provide meals on Saturdays and lead worship for a Saturday service in the inner city. We are also in the research process of how we can partner with ministries who help those involved in sex-trafficing, the world’s largest, most prevalent crime. On the Saturday before Easter we are hosting a community event (www.droptheeggs.com) to build relationships with the community.
Thanks again for your support. Please continue to pray for us and come visit when you get the chance!