Sitting here in my office today filled with expectation and anticipation for what this year holds I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder and the work of God’s hand, His amazing grace and His undeniable favor upon our church.
I thought I would share a few of these highlights with you in hopes that it will stir up our imaginations and stoke the fires of our dreams as we prepare to pray circles around our future and fears. As we enter into a season of prayer and fasting for our futures individually and collectively I want us to see all that God has done in and through us.
January 2011 –
- COAH’s Women’s Ministry TLC had their first Women’s Retreat with over 70 ladies in attendance and God met them in powerful ways. Relationships were made and friendships were born.
- The Board of Trustees became an ordaining body and ordained Pastor Mike Conaway through City on a Hill Church. What a milestone!
February 2011 –
- We hosted the Love and Respect Marriage One Day Conference.
- We also had 10 families dedicate 12 babies and children at our first Dedication Service.
March 2011 –
- We joined together in prayer with thousands of believers around the Tampa Bay area Seeking God for the City from March 9 through Easter.
- We had a Stuff Swap and witnessed Acts 2 come to life on our church campus everyone bringing what they could and sharing God’s blessings and those who needed something taking what they needed receiving God’s blessings
April 2011 –
- We gathered together with our Launch Team to celebrate one year of loving God and loving People together.
- We ordained our first minister Denise Webb through City on a Hill Church.
- On Easter at sunrise we baptized 33 people to the glory of God and we had a record breaking attendance in 2 identical Easter celebration services! A look at the future? I think so:)
May 2011 –
- We went out into our city with the “Fan Out” outreach handing out 1000 hand fans and lollipops to the folks at the Festival of States day parade.
- May 22 we celebrated our one year anniversary with a Picnic and celebration.
- We hosted Marc Mero – The Champion of Choices and had record breaking attendance of 450 to the glory of God in the middle of the summer!
- We visited 500 homes in our community distributing back to school supplies and invites to our Blessing of the Children service.
- We hosted a Blessing of the Children, Faculty, and Students service on Sunday morning.
September 2011 –
- We sent our first foreign Missions Team of 21 people to Belize for a life changing missions trip.
- We had a Commissioning Service, Picnic and baptized 25 more people to the glory of God! 8 were spontaneously baptized in their street clothes after hearing the Gospel and responding. Glory!!
October 2011 –
- City on a Hill Church moved into our first permanent office building at 5524 Haines Road.
November 2011 –
- We took the whole church on a missions trip to our city through “For the City” outreach visiting over 500 homes distributing bread and the love of Jesus in partnership with the Dream Center and we distributed love and hope giving out hundreds of blankets and pairs of socks to the homeless. Over 100 City on a Hillers joined in!
- We gathered 171 Operation Christmas Child boxes and sent them to children around the world.
- We had another Stuff Swap that blessed our church family and local charities.
December 2011 –
- We had over 70 people ride on the float or march in the city’s Christmas Parade handing out 5000 candy canes and invitations to our Christmas series Sing!
- We lived out or core value of being blessed to be a blessing through the Christmas Blessing. We had 15 families in our church family need of a blessing and 17 families in our church wanting to be blessed to be a blessing meet their needs, glory to God!
- We hosted our annual Christmas party for our Ministry Team and celebrated with 150 people God’s grace to us as a team.
- We had 350 in attendance on Christmas Day at our special Family Christmas Service.
Our average attendance grew from 180 weekly to 280 weekly, I am left in awestruck wonder as God draws the lost and wanderers from around the city as we lift up Jesus. Many experts would say that a church plant should keep everything that comes in the first three years. If COAH did that we would not be living out our core value, “We are blessed to be a blessing. God has given us a certain amount of time, talent and treasure and He expects us to use it to bring glory to Him.” Luckily our people believe this with their whole heart and live it out as they give faithfully as God blesses them to be a blessing. In our first full year we were also able to give $27,500 dollars (this does not include giving in 2010 or the Belize trip income and expense these are separate) to local and global missions through our partnerships with The St. Pete Dream Center, The Next Step Pregnancy Center, Double Portion Ministries, Zion International Missions Ministry, the Association of Related Churches, A21 Campaign, the Smith Family Foundation, St. Vincent DePaul and benevolence within our church (you have to love your church family, right?) and city. What a year to the glory of God! Here is what I know, “We may not be everything we are going to be but we are everything we ought to be.” This year we made it our mission to show our city and the world, “It is all about Jesus, it has always been about Jesus, and it will always be about Jesus.” By living and doing what we believe we have experienced God’s favor and He has allowed us to build, become and be a city within a city reaching our city with the life changing message of Jesus Christ one life at a time.