Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied (Acts 9:31).

This coming October, we will be celebrating our 29th anniversary as a church; it was on Sunday, October 5, 1986, that we held our first official church service at Sanders Elementary School. From the start, God revealed what would characterize this church, His planting. I would like to focus on a specific trait God spoke over us: we are to be a safe place for the hurting and the lost.

A safe place. A sanctuary: a place of refuge, asylum, and protection. I believe the Lord ordained this local body, and thus its members, to be that safe place, so it is not the building, per se, that is a safe place, but it is the people, as an expression of the love of Jesus, that create that safety. They are neither threatening to nor threatened by anyone who walks through the doors, regardless of who our guests are, what they look like, how they are dressed, or what their current plight in life appears to be. They are welcoming, ready to love the hurting and the lost. Such a response is borne out of a wholeness the Lord desires we walk in.

God took Saul, an ardent persecutor of Christians and transformed him into Paul, about whom He says, “[…] he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name” (Acts 9:15). One translation reads, “I have picked him as my personal representative” (Acts 9:15). You, as God’s personal representative, have been planted in this place; maybe today you can think of persons in your sphere of influence who are hurting or lost. The Lord has a place for those persons here at The Fellowship- a place where they can receive life-changing messages that will deliver them from darkness and bring wholeness to their brokenness. This, then, is the very heartbeat of The Fellowship: to declare, to present, to reveal JESUS to those yet without Him. Invite them to join us, and then be among those who welcome them to this safe place.