God continues to use Blue Ash Community Church to impact our community…
One Sunday 5 years ago…
Impact: 1) come into forcible contact with another object, or 2) to have a strong effect on someone or something.
This is how the dictionary defines ‘impact’ as a verb. Although we didn’t physically collide into the church, the movement on our hearts is something I consider to be an impact.
One Sunday around 5 years ago we decided to attend BACC. One of my husband’s acquaintances attended and said we should give it a try. We had been taking his grandmother to church; and as much as we loved her, and the people, our combined ages still made us the youngest person in attendance. We were fairly new to the area; I was craving to meet people to fellowship with and to grow with. People in similar places in life.
As a couple, we had been facing some bumps in the road regarding growing our family. When we walked in that first day, we were met by the Pastor. He asked if there was anything he could pray for, and he prayed over us. It was genuine. We met another couple, who also prayed over us. We had been missing that piece from our lives….genuine connections and love. The prayers were amazing. It was like a weight had been lifted. As my grandparents always told me, remember Ephesians 3:20. Never be discouraged, because “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” (I grew up with the New King James version of the Bible). A few weeks later, we welcomed not 1, but 2 little ones into our home. Never in a 1000 years could I have imagined so quickly and so wonderfully we would be blessed. I know the prayers from church, as well as our family, led to this. I had been doubting, seriously doubting during this time. This brought my faith closer to where it should be and had the impact of feeling God’s love on my heart.
We continued to attend and get to know other people in the church. Some of our closest friends we have met at the church. Life is never what we expect it to be, be that a good thing or a bad thing. Over the last few years we have had many “life events”. Life events that were challenging. Life events that were fun. Life events that were devastating. Every time there has always someone behind us, praying with us and for us. I feel the spirit of God with each and every prayer. I know that with 1 simple text message, I can have our family surrounded in prayer in seconds. The same can also be said in reverse. We are happy to stop and pray for anyone, anytime, for anything. Sometimes one of our children asks us to pray for their favorite toy, or maybe even for their friend. That warms my heart that they can see the power of prayer. That is love. That is friendship. That is family. That is impact..
Blue Ash Community Church isn’t a place, it’s a group of amazing people…
“Where do you go to church?” is one of the most common questions that I am asked when someone finds out that we are a Christian family. This question implies that a “church” is a place. I can confidently say that Blue Ash Community Church is not a place, but a group of amazing people doing their best to live lives as Christ followers.
When our family came to be a part of this church, it wasn’t by accident. Our marriage was new, and we had created this non-traditional family that needed to be planted to grow in faith. My husband was a new follower of Jesus, and I was an established Christ follower that was frustrated, thirsty, and slightly disillusioned. We knew that we needed a new community, and we set about finding our church. The minute that we stepped into the BACC building, we knew that there was something different about this group of people. We had been visiting several churches, but there was a new kind of acceptance here – a willingness to meet us exactly where we were. Although I can’t say that I heard from God that first day, we definitely did hear from him – telling us that this is where we needed to be, and we decided to commit ourselves to being a part of this church.
The impact of this decision has been multi-fold. To start, the influence of our community, the encouragement to study and pray, and the support from BACC as a whole has truly helped our marriage to grow. We now come together to pray, seek counsel from the Lord, and have a common ground in faith that drives our discussions and decisions on a daily basis. My husband believes that being a part of this community has taught him a lot about what healthy relationships look like. We have also received tremendous support from the BACC staff. If needed, we are able to seek wise counsel from Godly people that we know will build into our family and our faith.
We have found that our prayer life has also grown tremendously. We now seek first our Lord, and we do our best not to “lean on our own understanding.” The teaching at BACC, and its prayer-centered culture have greatly influenced this. We pray with our children on a regular basis, and we are supported in teaching them these lessons by the amazing staff and volunteers in the Blue Ash Kids Ministry.
We now have a close-knit group of people that we have found to “do life” with. These people love on our family, support each other, and challenge us to grow closer to Jesus. They have quickly become some of the people in our life that we know we can turn to, and the people in our life that we can call true friends.
Finally, the acceptance that we have found at BACC has influenced the way that we see ourselves and our family. We are not judged by our pasts or the areas in which we need to grow. We have been met where we are and have been encouraged in growth by many people who don’t even realize the impact that they are having on others.
Every Sunday, our family looks forward to coming to worship at BACC. We look forward to serving others, to building community, and to have a place where our family belongs. At this point in time, I can’t imagine our family being planted anywhere else.
God has Impacted our entire family…
As Adults, Doug and I were both raised in church. We were baptized, confirmed, married and raise our children in the church. We are on a journey together, and as a family, to do better, to learn, to be faithful, to give of our time, talents and treasures. It’s our hope that through our example, our kids will see the importance of church, of loving, of giving. We all, as a family, have felt impacted by our time at BACC, but Doug and I have seen especially through our oldest daughter who as a Junior in High School, began attending BACC on her own. As we attended another church, we found she was quickly being lost, and although her faith in God never failed, her yearning to learn more did. At that time, BACC was moving into this new space, and having friends attending BACC, we came to support and celebrate the new space with them! That one Sunday is literally all it took for our daughter to feel like this place, this community, this church, was the place for her. And so, she transitioned to BACC every Sunday with her friend. We began to see her become a stronger, fulfilled, faithful young woman. Don’t let this fool you, she’s still a teenager and challenges us at every turn, but as her parents we could see God beginning to live in her again. It took a few times hearing about BACC and their connection to Haiti and a question one Sunday for her to say Yes to Haiti and went on her first trip in 2017. Although she has known God and had had a relationship with him for years, it’s our belief that with BACC and an environment that allowed her to be accepted, to learn, to be welcomed and loved, her faith wouldn’t be as strong as it is today.
We’ve certainly felt the impact on our lives through BACC, for our younger daughters as well. Their awareness of prayer, learning in the AWESOME BACC Kids, and the friends they’ve made, are just a few. We have found that it takes a village to raise a child and not only does that apply to home life but church life as well. We need this village, especially BACC Kids, to help raise strong, faithful, giving, and loving young women and we can see what they’ve been learning and the change in their lives already. For Doug and I, God has always been at the forefront of our relationship and our family, but we’ve seen growth in our relationship, our friends, the choices and decisions that we make, who we surround ourselves with and so much more. We’ve been able to have an opportunity to serve, to share our strengths in ways we’ve never been able to before. We’ve had an opportunity to make life-long friends, who are more like family. We’ve built a stronger faith base for our family, where we all continue to learn and grow our understanding for the Kingdom.
Mom, when do we get to go to church?
I wanted to drop you a quick note to say THANK YOU for what you do! When we first came back to BACC one of our children had expressed that he didn't like it and didn't want to come back. His reasoning was that all the kids know each other and he doesn't. He said, "Mom our church isn't like yours, we don't just sit there. We work together and move around." It was sweet! We made a deal to try it out for a couple of weeks and see if he liked it more once he had a chance to get to know more people.
Anyway... yesterday he asked me, "Mom, When do we GET to go back to church?" He said he wanted to go because he was excited and really liked it. He also told me he has had three teachers and has NAMED each of you, which might not seem like much, but he doesn't learn people's names easily. (I think partly it is difficult for him to remember and partly he doesn't want to remember because people in his life tend to be transient.) He hasn't accepted Jesus yet, and I know his road will be a battle for his heart!
So I just want to thank you because you have made an impact on him! YOU made him feel seen and loved, you know just Kingdom things!! THANK YOU! especially because I am not sure what would have happened if he didn't make the transition to enjoying BACC. Thankfully I don't have to think about that!
THANK YOU for the time and investment you make into kids each week! It matters, it is seen and it is VALUABLE and it is appreciated!
Thank you friends for the way you have poured into my kids! It means more to me than you can imagine!