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Our weekly newsletter filled with news, updates, and inspiring stories of how God is working in the Bay Area.

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Sign up for The Good Stuff

Our weekly newsletter filled with news, updates, and inspiring stories of how God is working in the Bay Area.

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This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.

Matthew 16:17 MSG

Jesus teaches us that his church is meant to be so much more than just people gathering together in a building. He wants the church to be a place that fulfills God’s purpose, changes the communities around it, and has the power to change and save lives.

We are so excited to be part of a church that wants to build the way Jesus calls us to. This excitement and faith was evident through our Special Contribution just this last week. Though our goal was to give 9x our weekly contribution as a fellowship, we exceeded that goal and gave over 15x! God moves through the bold faith of a purpose-driven church.

Building a church that lasts

An article called “7 Reasons Why Churches Will Close Their Doors the Next Decade,” gives us three reasons churches die and close their doors:

  1. Lack of online presence,
  2. A neglected younger generation, and
  3. An emphasis on conversion over discipleship.

This is why we are grateful for a group that focuses on giving so we can raise up the next generation of leaders, build our digital presence, develop the E-Life programs we support, and supply our Doing Good Fund which allows us to support the needs in the community around us. We truly believe that these help us build a church that lasts.

The impact of a purpose-driven church

In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all- the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. [3] People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.”

Isaiah 2:2-3 NLT

God’s kingdom and church is the most important place on earth, because it is where everyone, everywhere can come learn about God at any time, and have their lives change as a result. The above passage shows us that people come streaming into God’s church when we build it his way. In Contra Costa North, we were inspired by two women who got baptized in August 2023. Both lives were changed by God and helped largely because of the people and programs we have invested in through Special Contribution.

Building for the future in the teen ministry

Natalya Varella, a teen in Contra Costa North, started studying the Bible to know God this year. She experienced breakthroughs this summer thanks to God moving through many friends, including Preauna Hunter, who was part of our summer scholarship this year. Preauna benefitted from the training, relationships, and leadership opportunities of the summer scholar program. Together with other volunteer leaders like Alex and Jasmine, Preauna helped Natalya learn to build her own relationship with God and decide to get baptized on August 27th. Natalya now shares their passion to help other women build a relationship with God and is looking forward to the impact she can make in her senior year of high school.

Building for the future in the professionals and families ministries

Another inspiring story of a changed life comes from Kence and Poppy Anderson, our professionals and families ministries, and E-Sports.

Poppy and her friend Eva Delgado became friends with a woman named Erin Anderson, who attended a Girls’ Night Out event with Eva during the pandemic. Erin and her family started coming to E-Soccer and built many more friendships. As Poppy, Eva, and the other women studied the Bible with Erin, they helped her grow not only in her friendships, but also in her marriage and family. Erin was baptized on August 26th just last month, and inspired her husband to want to study the Bible too!

These are just a few examples of so many of who you give not only during Special Contribution, but throughout the year to change the lives of those around you.

We are excited about the many opportunities that fall brings to build relationships, share our faith, and do good in the community around us (more on that next week!).

Till next time.

Written by

Sam Manuel

Sam is a former outside linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. Since retiring from the NFL, Sam has worked in the ministry serving communities in the Bay Area.