• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant
  • James Parker
    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Ty Commons
    Youth & Families Intern
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
    Youth/Children
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
  • Janice Crowson
    Director, Facilities/Finance
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    Print & Digital Media Specialist
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Article Archive


Pastor’s Note: I Thank My God…
Pastor’s Note: I Thank My God…

As you read Paul’s letters to the churches, you notice quickly how much he prays for those people he loves so much. In particular, you notice that he begins his prayers over and over with thanksgiving to God for these churches. Now Paul also sees problems and struggles in every community, but he sees God at work in his people no matter what, and… [more] March 1, 2019 | Will Spink

Introducing the Southwood App
Introducing the Southwood App

During the 2019 annual congregational meeting, we introduced the Southwood App. It was a Sunday I had been looking forward to for quite some time. Now, just a few weeks after its introduction, it’s awesome to see just how many people are using it.

The Southwood app is updated weekly with the latest Sunday Morning Bulletin, Prayer Guide,… [more] March 1, 2019 | Daniel Brown

Session Update
Session Update

At the annual congregational meeting in February, we rejoiced together in God’s gracious provision for Southwood and in many encouraging ways God is at work to advance his kingdom here and around the world. The congregation elected Andes Hoyt to the office of ruling elder in the church, and he was installed during the worship service on February… [more] March 1, 2019 | Southwood

Gospel Community: What makes it different?
Gospel Community: What makes it different?

Here at Southwood we toss around the term “gospel community” quite a bit. But do we truly understand the differences the gospel makes to our community?


In our American culture, we long for community, though in reality our lives seldom intersect. We exist primarily in isolation. We hunger for connection,… [more] March 1, 2019 | Ron Clegg

How Much Do You Care?
How Much Do You Care?

Growing up in a small town and attending a small country church where my father was the pastor had its ups and downs. One positive was that we had a relationship with every family that lived within five miles from our house. On the other hand, there were so few families that we didn’t have enough players to organize our weekly neighborhood football… [more] March 1, 2019 | Robert Blevins

Going Global: Southwood’s Ministry to the Nations
Going Global: Southwood’s Ministry to the Nations

In March and April, two Southwood pastors and an elder will travel to distant lands to encourage fellow believers and churches with the Gospel. In March, Will Spink returns to Nagpur, India, to celebrate the graduation of seminary students
he taught on his first trip in 2017. He will have the privilege of participating with sending these newly… [more] March 1, 2019 | Ron Clegg

10 Things Overheard at the Most Recent Parent Café
10 Things Overheard at the Most Recent Parent Café

1. As parents, we are called to be shepherds and in the grand scheme of things our kids don’t belong to us, they belong to God!

2. We should make every effort to move towards our kids, media is an opportunity to move towards them.

3. Hollywood is made up of people just like us and… [more] March 1, 2019 | Derrick Harris

Sr. High-Life Winter Retreat
Sr. High-Life Winter Retreat

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” - Micah 6:8

A few weeks ago Sr. High went on our annual trip to Camp ToKnowHim for Winter Retreat ’19. Our theme: Be Humble. Most of us have probably heard God’s message in Micah… [more] March 1, 2019 | Ty Commons

Ask a Pastor with Peter Render
Ask a Pastor with Peter Render

Do infants need to be rebaptized once they reach the age of accountability?

This question assumes the beauty and necessity of baptism as a “holy seal and sign of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to represent Christ, and his benefits; and to confirm our interest… [more] March 1, 2019 | Peter Render

Pastor’s Note: Moving Toward Shalom
Pastor’s Note: Moving Toward Shalom

The night our family returned home from Thanksgiving, I had just drifted off to sleep when one of our daughters came running into the room sick to her stomach. There would be no more rest the remainder of the evening. Over the next several hours, all three of our girls woke up sick and took turns keeping the rest of us awake. The shalom of our home… [more] January 14, 2019 | Will Spink

Session Update
Session Update

Having shared with you late last year some significant financial needs we were facing, we want to praise God for his gracious provision once again. While the numbers aren’t final as of this mailing, giving for 2018 exceeded $2 million, which allows us to meet all commitments to our mission partners and enter 2019 in a stable cash position. While… [more] January 14, 2019 | Session

I Feel the Need, the Need to Lead
I Feel the Need, the Need to Lead

The word “leader” means so many different things to so many different people.  Tony Robbins writes, “Leaders spend 5% of their time on the problem and 95% of their time on the solution. So, get over it and crush it!”  If you look the word up in the dictionary, you’ll find at least six different meanings, one of which is, “the… [more] January 14, 2019 | Derrick Harris

Transforming Lives & Restoring Communities: One Southwood Family’s Experience
Transforming Lives & Restoring Communities: One Southwood Family’s Experience

At the end of 2011, we moved into Lincoln Village with grandiose ideas of bringing the Gospel to the other residents and being a witness of Christian living. We were completely clueless about community development and how to engage our neighbors, but we knew that the Lord had brought us to Lincoln Village for a purpose. We were quickly humbled by… [more] January 14, 2019 | Adam & Lisa Elmore

Moving Toward Shalom: Transforming Lives and Restoring Communities
Moving Toward Shalom: Transforming Lives and Restoring Communities

A friend of mine is a business owner and deacon at a large affluent church. A few years back he started looking around his community and was struck by the amount of economic disparity among his neighbors. At his church, he saw wealth, skills, and business connections. He asked, “How can we leverage our resources so that our neighbors flourish both… [more] January 14, 2019 | Robert Blevins

Called to Equip The Saints
Called to Equip The Saints

Our annual Express Grace Conference is almost upon us again, and we want to encourage you to be a part of it. Why? Why do we make this kind of investment every year? It has everything to do with how we think about church.

Some people look at the church through the lens of the business world. One crucial component of a successful business is… [more] January 14, 2019 | Ron Clegg

January Parent Café
January Parent Café

Last year we started something new at Southwood called Parent Cafés. They were hands down some of my most favorite events of the year. At each Café, we discussed different topics that are struggles for most parents. We also shared meals and conversations as we discovered together that we are not alone on this journey called parenting. The word… [more] January 14, 2019 | Derrick Harris

Express Grace: Kids Edition
Express Grace: Kids Edition

In Matthew 19, people brought their children to Jesus that he might lay hands on them and pray, but the disciples criticized them and turned them away. What Jesus said to them next was astonishing. He said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).  It’s… [more] January 14, 2019 | Angela Sierk

Small View, Big King
Small View, Big King

Measuring the breadth of impact that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can have on the world is an impossible task. The beautiful thing about being a minister of this Gospel, especially when that ministry is to students, is that you can only minister in the context in which you have been placed. For Christine, Tyler, and me, this context is in the comfortable… [more] January 14, 2019 | Peter Render

All That’s Fair: New Year’s Resolution
All That’s Fair: New Year’s Resolution

2019 will be the 39th transition into a new year that I’ve experienced in my life time.  For so many years growing up and in college I remembered watching all the excitement and revelry on TV, hearing the song “Auld Lang Syne” as the ball dropped in Times Square.  All the people would be arm in arm, many would be kissing, others would… [more] January 14, 2019 | James Parker

Pastor’s Note: Unfiltered Truth
Pastor’s Note: Unfiltered Truth

Today the television and movie industries seem to be obsessed with rewriting stories. It’s as if writers have run out of ideas so they’ve settled for rewriting what’s already been done. Currently in television production are the reboots of Magnum PI, Miami Vice, Murphy Brown, Duck Tales, Battle of the Network Stars, Dynasty, the Jetsons, the… [more] December 3, 2018 | Derrick Harris

Watching and Waiting for the Light
Watching and Waiting for the Light

The Promise of Defense

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Ahaz was an evil king of Judah, one of the worst. He was being threatened by two neighboring nations who sought to bring Judah under their control and… [more] December 3, 2018 | Ron Clegg

Fa La Lodge: Filling the Lodge with Fa La Las Since 2012
Fa La Lodge: Filling the Lodge with Fa La Las Since 2012

Well… we took a year off. So, many of you may not have experienced the Christmas miracle that is, Fa La Lodge. It’s a miracle because we literally came up with it out of necessity and were certain that it wouldn’t last past the first year. This year will be the SIXTH installment!! For those of you who’ve never been, primarily,… [more] December 3, 2018 | James Parker

Teaching Children to Pray Without Ceasing
Teaching Children to Pray Without Ceasing

How can we teach children to pray without ceasing?

“Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples’ “ (Luke 11:1). “Teach us to pray.” Even the grown men who followed Jesus needed instruction in prayer. How much more… [more] November 13, 2018 | Ali Thompson, Children's Ministry Magazine recruiter and Group editor

Pastor’s Note: Growing up as a Church
Pastor’s Note: Growing up as a Church

One of the joys of the past few weeks for me has been the chance to hear stories and memories from many of Southwood’s early members. Time and again I’ve heard of a group marked by a humble dependence upon God, a passion to reach their neighbors for Christ, a personal belief in the transforming love of Jesus, and a zealous commitment to the Word… [more] October 29, 2018 | Will Spink

5 Questions with Southwood’s Founding Members
5 Questions with Southwood’s Founding Members

What was the prayer for Southwood before she was planted?

Ashley McGaha: The initial families attended Westminster Presbyterian Church in the early 1980s. The vision of planting a reformed church in southeast Huntsville was laid on the hearts of Kirby and Karen Parks, and that vision quickly spread to others. Pastor Paul Alexander… [more] October 29, 2018 | Southwood

How has God used Southwood to impact you?: Perspectives on 30 Years
How has God used Southwood to impact you?: Perspectives on 30 Years

Jim Hess

When presented the question, “How has God used Southwood to impact you?” my mind went immediately to 2009 – a year of great difficulty and sorrow, and yet a time when my family and I experienced God’s amazing grace and love through the Southwood family. It was for us a season of “severe mercy” culminating… [more] October 29, 2018 | Southwood

Essential Remembering
Essential Remembering

Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim. 2:1, ESV

Anniversaries are wonderful things.  Wedding anniversaries provide opportunities for nostalgic walks back through the years to see how love has grown through great fun times as well as the periods of struggle.  Those of us who are in Christ can see how God’s… [more] October 29, 2018 | Ron Clegg

June 24, 2018 Congregational Letter and FAQs
June 24, 2018 Congregational Letter and FAQs

The following is a letter from Pastor Will as well as a list of questions and answers regarding plans for this fall that were announced following the worship service Sunday, June 24.

Dear Southwood Family and Friends,

I’ve had the privilege over the past few months to pray and talk with elders and members on our Strategic… [more] August 29, 2018 | Will Spink

Pastor’s Note: Change in Community
Pastor’s Note: Change in Community

In case you haven’t heard yet, there are a few changes at Southwood this fall. While much of why we are here and what we do is staying the same, we are making a couple of adjustments to our structure and schedule in an effort to foster biblical community on mission together. New adult Connect Communities begin September 9, and our worship service… [more] August 29, 2018 | Will Spink

Staying on Mission: Discipleship and Connect Communities
Staying on Mission: Discipleship and Connect Communities

The process of making disciples is multi-faceted.  There is not just one form of ministry that will accomplish the whole task.  Making disciples starts long before one even comes to faith.  It begins with Contact, a first introduction that an individual makes with a believer.  That moves into Connecting, when a relationship is… [more] August 29, 2018 | Ron Clegg

Session Update
Session Update

The Session invites you to be praying with us for the ongoing development of biblical community in our congregation this fall. While we are excited about new small groups forming, Connect Communities starting, Jobs for Life class getting underway, and much more, we also know that no amount of planning or strategy will be what controls our “success”… [more] August 29, 2018 | Southwood

Diaconate Update
Diaconate Update

The Deacons of Southwood led a work day on August 25 to complete several small projects around the grounds of the church property. It was a small affair with maybe 20 folks coming together to spend a morning working together. We pressure washed around the Lodge and courtyard near the Guest Center, removed several bushes from the beds, repainted curbs… [more] August 29, 2018 | Southwood

Undeserved Inclusion: A Gospel Welcome for Youth & Beyond
Undeserved Inclusion: A Gospel Welcome for Youth & Beyond

The completion of summer vacation is one of my favorite times of the year.  I do not write that because my kids go back to school, because football is right around the corner, or even because the ridiculous Alabama heat is promised to relent.  The completion of summer is one of my favorite times of the year because it signals the beginning… [more] August 29, 2018 | Peter Render

Independence is Freedom?: Talking Discipline & Grace Together
Independence is Freedom?: Talking Discipline & Grace Together

Looking back after one year at Southwood Presbyterian Church, I can honestly say that I LOVE it here.  I absolutely love working with the staff, getting to know the congregation, and spending time with parents and children.  I count it a significant blessing to work at this church, and I feel like I’ve been able to truly connect and become… [more] August 29, 2018 | Derrick Harris

Southwood Women’s Weekend
Southwood Women’s Weekend

“You teaching was wonderfully difficult!” This is a comment from one of the ladies who attended the August Women’s Weekend with Julie Sparkman. With many tears and much laughter, Julie guided us through the material from her study, Unhitching from the Cray Train: Finding Rest in a World You Can’t Control. The theme that runs through the study… [more] August 29, 2018 | Martha Brady

5 Questions with Paul Hahn
5 Questions with Paul Hahn

Paul Hahn will be preaching at Southwood Sunday, September 30. Paul, a native of Lakeland, FL, is two years into his role as Coordinator of Mission to North America, the PCA’s agency giving leadership and direction to church planting, church renewal and missional partnerships in the United States and Canada. Paul has been married to his amazing… [more] August 29, 2018 | Paul Hahn

All That Is Fair: Queen of Soul
All That Is Fair: Queen of Soul

Driving through North Alabama, day dreams and storms were passing across the corn fields on both sides of the road. With a good amount of quiet contemplation behind me and a few dozen cups of coffee down, I pulled into Fame Recording Studios. I was there to help a friend document a recording session for the week. The place is like a time capsule.… [more] August 29, 2018 | James Parker

 
What’s New at Southwood Kids?

Exciting New Environments!!!

Here at Southwood Kids, we’ve had very fun and busy summer planning some exciting things ahead for the children in our ministry. Take a look at our new Vision statement and our new Environments:

Our Vision: Southwood kids exists to advance the kingdom of God as we partner with families to… [more] August 29, 2018 |

 
Parenting in the Trenches of Technology

I’m all for empathy, but what do I do when young people I know make choices that are clearly unwise?  Does being supportive mean I have to stay silent?


While sometimes our best move is to stay quiet and pray, at other times, the most compassionate and supportive step we can take is to speak up. If you feel called to share your… [more] August 29, 2018 |

Pastor’s Note: Living in Community
Pastor’s Note: Living in Community

You may hear the word “community” at Southwood quite a bit in the coming days – not merely in this issue of Branches. We’re having community breakfasts in August. We’re starting Connect Communities in September. I’ll be preaching about biblical community starting this month. The reason that we’ll be talking about it is because it’s… [more] August 1, 2018 | Will Spink

General Assembly Report
General Assembly Report

Four Southwood staff members and one ruling elder participated in this summer’s General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (our denomination), held in Atlanta, GA. This 46th General Assembly was perhaps most notable for electing Rev. Dr. Irwyn Ince (pictured here) as the first African-American moderator of the PCA. Dr. Ince received… [more] August 1, 2018 | Will Spink

Session Update
Session Update

The Session continues to be excited about plans for this fall that we trust and pray will be some of many opportunities for gospel community to flourish at Southwood. Remember that while the children still move up to new classes on August 12, our adult Connect Communities will not begin until September 9. In the meantime, we will utilize the Sunday… [more] August 1, 2018 | Southwood

Serving with Jobs for Life
Serving with Jobs for Life

Fall is fast approaching and you know what that means: That’s right, Jobs for Life training! For the last three years, Southwood has provided support to one of our mission partners, The Cornerstone Initiative, as they have developed relationships with members of their community through holding these job readiness classes. JfL helps prepare men… [more] August 1, 2018 | Robert Blevins

Diaconate Update
Diaconate Update

Fall will soon be in the air and on Saturday, August 25, the deacons have planned a church work day. It is one of the deacons’ roles to encourage and lead the congregation in stewardship of the church grounds. Unlike our work day in the spring, this one will be focused on the Southwood property instead of working with our community partners around… [more] August 1, 2018 | Southwood

Staying on Mission: Discipleship within Biblical Community
Staying on Mission: Discipleship within Biblical Community

“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5, ESV

In the last edition of Branches, we saw that the primary calling of the church is to make disciples. That involves calling men, women, and children to faith, and then enabling them to live out that faith in every… [more] August 1, 2018 | Ron Clegg

Small Groups: Deep Gospel Community
Small Groups: Deep Gospel Community

When I arrived at Southwood almost one year ago, I didn’t really “know” anyone. I didn’t know where to eat, where to buy groceries, where to send my son to school or where to take my wife on a date. I didn’t know if people would like me, if I would fit in, if I would be able to have close friends, etc. I had a lot of fear, but I also had… [more] August 1, 2018 | Derrick Harris

Southwood Women’s Conference
Southwood Women’s Conference

Southwood women, A group of women meets together regularly to pray for you, to plan, and to dream about where God is leading our women. Our meetings are filled with lots of dialogue and laughter. We get our work done and are not afraid to engage in hard discussions. Pastor Ron assists us in planning and sharing our work with the pastors and session.

[more] August 1, 2018 | Martha Brady and Nanette Respess
Leadership Training Class: Equipping Men and Women to Lead
Leadership Training Class: Equipping Men and Women to Lead

Have you ever considered leading a small group but felt you wouldn’t know what to do? Have you wanted to understand God’s Word better for yourself or for conversations with friends and family members? Have you desired to use your gifts to serve the church but felt uncertain as to what gifts you had or where they could help the body? We would… [more] August 1, 2018 | Will Spink

Pastor’s Note: “It Was One of Those Days…”
Pastor’s Note: “It Was One of Those Days…”

So yesterday was one of those days. It was a “bad day” as days go. I realized my leadership failures had frustrated and disappointed people I really care about. Physical and relational crises were unraveling, and I couldn’t seem to be of help. Ideas and plans I made weren’t seeming like good ones to those I hoped they would help. Friends… [more] June 1, 2018 | Will Spink

 
Diaconate Update

This spring, Southwood’s deacons have spent considerable time working with the Women’s Ministry discussing what it looks like to partner with the ladies of Southwood in service.  One area that we are particularly excited about is a ministry of visitation and care for some of Southwood’s senior members who are not able to get out very often.… [more] June 1, 2018 |

 
Connecting Money, Relationships, and the Gospel

One of our local mission partners, CornerStone Initiative, is starting a new program called Faith and Finances. Their Executive Director, Debbi Akers, explains the heart of it here.  If you would like to support this class by providing a meal, please call the church office or email .(JavaScript must… [more] June 1, 2018 | Debbi Akers

Prayers for Peru
Prayers for Peru

Missions work is impossible without prayer. The gospel of Mark describes a time when Jesus casts a demon out of a little boy after the father asks Jesus to help his unbelief. Jesus sends the demon out of the boy and the disciples ask Him, “Hey, how come we could not cast the demon out?” and Jesus tells them that it could only be done through… [more] June 1, 2018 | Christine Betts

The Source: Desperately Drinking Deeply from God’s Word
The Source: Desperately Drinking Deeply from God’s Word

As the summer approaches and the two weeks of Alabama spring give way to summer weather, I have realized something about myself: I drink a lot of water.  As I have worked in my yard throughout the past few months, I have noticed that I will down roughly one 64 oz. Nalgene of water for every hour that I am outside.  Of course I can go without… [more] June 1, 2018 | Peter Render

Staying on Mission: The Call to Make Disciples
Staying on Mission: The Call to Make Disciples

Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV)
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I… [more] June 1, 2018 | Ron Clegg

All That is Fair: So This Happened…
All That is Fair: So This Happened…

What is it about narrative that resonates with human beings?  It could be that the use of narrative helps us remember things that are important.  Or it could be that narrative helps us understand complex ideas or gives us a means to explore difficult questions.  It could also be significant because it allows us to enter into its subject… [more] June 1, 2018 | James Parker

The Church has Left the Building: Being “in the Community for the Community”
The Church has Left the Building: Being “in the Community for the Community”

I love Sunday mornings at Southwood. I think of them as family dinners where we all gather around one big table, invite our friends to join us, and celebrate together. We laugh, we cry, we even bring our problems and struggles, but we talk together about what matters most.

Monday mornings feel a bit different. Only about 15 of us show back… [more] May 1, 2018 | Will Spink

Why Short-term Missions
Why Short-term Missions

The answer to this question depends on whether you want to remain as you are, or be forever different.  Back in the early 90’s, a semi-retired missionary became a part of my church.  He regularly traveled to Russia to supervise a team of missionaries there.  One day, I had the audacity to ask if I could join him on his next trip. … [more] May 1, 2018 | Ron Clegg

Ask a Pastor: When Church is Boring
Ask a Pastor: When Church is Boring

Q: So, I know that God is overwhelming, but does that mean if I don’t feel overwhelmed in church that his presence isn’t really there, or that I’m just not feeling him?


A: Great question.  I’ve definitely asked myself this question before.  You have reason to be encouraged… [more] May 1, 2018 | Derrick Harris

Jesus’s Senior Quote: How His Last Words Impact All of Life
Jesus’s Senior Quote: How His Last Words Impact All of Life

The conclusion of one’s high school career is often commemorated by one phrase typed up, placed, and printed under a picture for the school yearbook. One’s senior quote can be of the utmost importance; after all, it may be how one will be remembered. Senior Caroline Jewell, who has been working as an intern for the youth staff at Southwood, willingly… [more] May 1, 2018 | Christine Betts

Pastor’s Note: Overwhelmed by Love
Pastor’s Note: Overwhelmed by Love

I am going to say this out loud as I write it.  Emily and I just had our FIFTH child.  The pace at which our life is going is crazy.  It feels as though we are in a constant transition.  Basketball season to baseball season, multiple surgeries, the terrible threes, schools, four kids to five, not to mention that the average time… [more] April 1, 2018 | Peter Render

 
Session Update

If you have been on Southwood’s campus recently, you have probably noticed the signs for the auction of the White House property. The trustees have decided to pursue this route for the sale of the home following the congregational decision to sell the house, and the auction is scheduled for Thursday, April 12, at 6:00pm. There is a reserve price… [more] April 1, 2018 |

True Social Gospel
True Social Gospel

As we have worked our way through the Gospel of Luke at Southwood recently, I’ve been surprised at how much Jesus seems to care about something so seemingly “un-spiritual” as who I eat with. Jesus seems to say that issues like who is at my dinner table or on my party invitation list, how I relate to the materially poor or the marginalized,… [more] April 1, 2018 | Will Spink

 
Intentional Parenting: Finding HOPE at CAFE

The title of this article might suggest that Derrick and I are slowly going to shift gears to tell you how much we know about parenting.  It is just not true.  Like every other parent out there, we are just trying to keep our kids alive and show them how to live.  Every situation looks different.  Emily and I have five kids. … [more] April 1, 2018 | Derrick Harris & Peter Render

The Importance of Correct Posture
The Importance of Correct Posture

While you were growing up, I’m sure your mother told you (and maybe she still does!) to watch your posture and stand up straight, and she was correct.  Posture is highly important for us physically, and it also impacts how others perceive us.  As physical posture is important in so many ways, our posture towards the world as a church… [more] April 1, 2018 | Ron Clegg

Come Have a Drink With Us
Come Have a Drink With Us

What are you thirsty for? Is it coffee you need to start your day? Is it wine at the end of your long work week? Or a Sonic drink with your kids? Whatever you’re thirsty for, I promise you one thing: it will not fulfill you. We live in a time of fake fulfillment. A spiritual battle wages daily for our minds, for our hearts, for our souls, and we… [more] April 1, 2018 | Christine Betts

All That is Fair: Earn the Right to Be Heard
All That is Fair: Earn the Right to Be Heard

If you’ve grown up in Christian circles, no doubt the phrase “earn the right to be heard” has crossed your ears.  It is a well known mantra associated with a philosophy of ministry that is profoundly relational at its core.  Young Life is a good example of this kind of ministry.  YL was founded by a seminary student who was challenged… [more] April 1, 2018 | James Parker

Pastor’s Note: A Beautiful Evening
Pastor’s Note: A Beautiful Evening

A couple of weeks ago on a Tuesday night about 75 parents of young children gathered in the Lodge to eat tacos, share the joys and struggles of parenting, and be encouraged and equipped for pointing their kids to Jesus. Across the street about 80 of their kids ate pizza, shared toys (and germs), and demonstrated their need for being pointed to Jesus.… [more] March 1, 2018 | Will Spink

Session Update
Session Update

At the annual congregational meeting in February, we rejoiced together in God’s gracious provision for Southwood and in many encouraging ways God is at work to advance his kingdom here and around the world. The congregation elected Brent Snyder to the office of deacon in the church, and Bud Smith, Landa Pennington, and Jimmy Cook were selected… [more] March 1, 2018 |

Saturday Seminars
Saturday Seminars

Saturday Seminars are a new discipleship opportunity at Southwood designed to provide more intensive equipping for faithful living and effective ministry. Our desire is to take advantage of concentrated times to provide training on particular topics focused on living out our faith and engaging the world around us. In this setting we can dive deep… [more] March 1, 2018 |

Who is My Neighbor?
Who is My Neighbor?

At this year’s C4 Conference hosted by the Cornerstone Initiative, we examined the question, “Who is my neighbor?” The conference focused on our call as believers not only to serve others but also to pursue authentic relationships.

This reminds me of back when I was in high school. I had realized that the best place to play basketball… [more] March 1, 2018 | Robert Blevins

Parenting Partners
Parenting Partners

Parenting!  What comes to mind when you read the word?  Good?  Bad?  I don’t wanna talk about it?  Do you gloat in your successes or loathe the memories of past mistakes?  Whatever comes to your mind, it will never change one fact:  there is only one perfect parent and it is not you.  It’s not us either. … [more] March 1, 2018 | Derrick Harris & Peter Render

Ask A Pastor: Resurrection, So What?
Ask A Pastor: Resurrection, So What?

Q: It is not hard to notice that Easter, the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, is not quite the celebration that Christmas is.  So, what is the significance of the resurrection? 

A: In this season that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, we often spend a great deal of… [more] March 1, 2018 | Ron Clegg

All That Is Fair: Were You There?
All That Is Fair: Were You There?

Let’s pretend you are standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon.  You look to the opposite edge many miles away.  Your gaze moves from the horizon down to the raging river thousands of feet below.  You follow every twist and turn of the landscape, every variation in color and light, every tree, every squirrel, every bird…… [more] March 1, 2018 | James Parker

Pastor’s Note: Black History Month at Southwood?
Pastor’s Note: Black History Month at Southwood?

A friend recently asked me, “Does Southwood do anything for Black History Month?” My initial response was a somewhat embarrassed, “Well, not really … maybe we should be.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are important things going on – and perhaps even more importantly, not merely because it’s February.

[more] February 1, 2018 | Will Spink
 
Session Update

The Session is excited for the February 4 Congregational Meeting as we get to rejoice together in God’s gracious provision for Southwood and the ways that is allowing us to see the kingdom advance in our church and far beyond as well. This annual meeting will occur immediately following the worship service, and while there is much to talk about,… [more] February 1, 2018 |

Bold as Love: The Challenge and Beauty of Genuine Relationships
Bold as Love: The Challenge and Beauty of Genuine Relationships

There probably is no word more ubiquitous in Christianese than the word “love”.  The beautiful, longsuffering, and natural love of God.  The love of brothers and sisters in Jesus toward one another.  The love known between a husband and a wife.  The love earmarked by devotion and longing.  Regardless of etymology,… [more] February 1, 2018 | Peter Render

Now What? Living Out Express Grace
Now What? Living Out Express Grace

I love conferences like the one we just experienced here at Southwood.  I love the energy they inject into our spiritual lives.  I love the fresh vision they can create for us in how we are called to express grace.  I love the new connections we make with our mission partners and hearing stories of how the Kingdom is advancing through… [more] February 1, 2018 | Ron Clegg

All That Is Fair: The Wisdom to Know the Dance
All That Is Fair: The Wisdom to Know the Dance

Sometimes you find yourself face to face with a dilemma that feels utterly terrifying.  I’m only 37, and I’ve encountered more than a few circumstances in my life that have rattled me.  That feeling of being out of control, of having all good options stripped away from you, of having the rug pulled out from underneath…… [more] February 1, 2018 | James Parker

Pastor’s Note: Eye-Opening Experiences
Pastor’s Note: Eye-Opening Experiences

When I traveled to India this fall to work with our mission partners there, the trip opened my eyes in ways that greatly challenged and encouraged my heart. As you might expect, it opened my eyes to the beauty and uniqueness of a different culture as well as the dire need for the gospel to impact India. But most of all it opened my eyes to ways our… [more] January 4, 2018 | Will Spink

Introducing: Robert Blevins
Introducing: Robert Blevins

Originally from Winchester, Tennessee, Robert Blevins was a history teacher and coach for 13 years in the inner city of Chattanooga. When he felt the call to vocational ministry, he left the school system and became the program director at Hope for the Inner City, a mercy ministry started out of New City Fellowship in Chattanooga. His experience… [more] January 4, 2018 | Ron Clegg

 
Express Grace Conference 2018

We are finishing up the holiday season where we celebrate the coming of the Son of God in human flesh.  What a glorious thing our God accomplished for us in the birth of Jesus.  Why did He come?  There are multiple reasons we could list, but the Gospel of John tells us that Jesus came into the darkness of our ignorance and our rebellion… [more] January 4, 2018 | Ron Clegg

 
Session Update

Since we shared with you last year some significant financial needs we were facing, we wanted to begin by praising God for his gracious provision once again. While the numbers aren’t final as of this mailing, it appears clear that income will exceed expenses for 2017 by a meaningful margin. Honestly, God continues to surprise us with his generosity… [more] January 4, 2018 |

Small Groups
Small Groups

Community is important.  It’s vital to the existence and flourishing of human beings.  It’s been said that we can only truly understand ourselves in the context of community with one another.

God IS community.  The Westminster Shorter Catechism teaches us that, “there are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son,… [more] January 4, 2018 | Derrick Harris

Pastor’s Note: A Christmas Confession
Pastor’s Note: A Christmas Confession

I’m on the record for loving everything Christmas – listening to holiday music in November, reading multiple Advent devotionals at the same time, and even watching Claymation Christmas specials on TV. So it took me several trips up and down the garage stairs with bins of decorations, several hours wrestling with the tree stand, and several conversations… [more] December 1, 2017 | Will Spink

 
Session Update

The Session is looking forward to an exciting month of anticipating and celebrating the birth of our Savior with some very special events. The opportunity to host the Behold the Lamb concert again (December 14) will bring 1,000 people – Southwood members, friends, and neighbors – to enjoy this beautiful musical retelling of the story of Jesus.… [more] December 1, 2017 |

Reflections
Reflections

I have half a page to share some reflections on the last six and half years of working at Southwood. Let me say right here that I cannot possibly condense all that I have learned, or all that I am thankful for, into this space. However, as I reflected on the many things God has taught me over these years, one thought proved central.

God loves… [more] December 1, 2017 | Sarah Niemitz

Impact of India
Impact of India

Thank you so much for praying for us as we had the privilege of representing Christ and Southwood in India for a couple of weeks. We can’t imagine the trip going any more smoothly and are grateful for God’s care and your prayers. Our mission partners at Reaching Indians Ministries International (t), also called Mission India, and their president,… [more] December 1, 2017 | Will Spink and Skeets Simonis

Meditations on the Incarnation
Meditations on the Incarnation

He Came to be Our Light
John 1:9–13 (ESV)
“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed… [more] December 1, 2017 | Ron Clegg

Ask A Pastor: ‘Tis the Season to be Jolly?
Ask A Pastor: ‘Tis the Season to be Jolly?

Q: Sometimes I struggle with feeling “jolly” during the holiday season. Is that normal?

A: What a great question.  The holidays can be a mixed bag.  The “experience” differs from person to person.  It is a happy time to focus on Christ but can also be a time to remember pain, loss, and… [more] December 1, 2017 | Derrick Harris

Core Commitments: We Seek the Restoration of all Creation in Huntsville and Beyond
Core Commitments: We Seek the Restoration of all Creation in Huntsville and Beyond

Jesus brings his kingdom both in word and in deed, so we are committed to praying, working, and collaborating with others for God’s kingdom to come here as it is in heaven. We long to see Huntsville flourish and believe God has placed us in this community for this community. Our prayer is that we would be the kind of church that our city would… [more] December 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Five Fun Ways to Spend Time with Your Teens this Christmas Season
Five Fun Ways to Spend Time with Your Teens this Christmas Season

The Christmas season is fast approaching.  Here are five ways to maximize the extra time spend with your tweens and teens this holiday season.

What’s The Plan?
It is unfair for your kids to leave the rigors of the 8am – 4pm school day only to find a lack of structure on holiday.  Maximize the front of your… [more] December 1, 2017 |

All That Is Fair: The Holly and the Ivy
All That Is Fair: The Holly and the Ivy

This year we are hosting Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God for the first time in a while.  It’s been 5 years since we had them at Southwood.  As many of you already know, we are in for such a treat.  Peterson is a masterful songwriter and arranger, and his crew of traveling minstrels represents a sampling of top-shelf… [more] December 1, 2017 | James Parker

 
Youth Mission Trip to Peru 2018

High-Life Ministries is excited to return to the foreign missions field again in 2018!  The Peru Mission trip will take place June 1-11, 2018 and is open to all students who have completed their sophomore year of high school. Common question are answered in the FAQ sheet… [more] November 27, 2017 | Kim Delchamps

Pastor’s Note: Faith Like a Child
Pastor’s Note: Faith Like a Child

Have you ever considered the ways in which the ever-present faithfulness of our Heavenly Father sneaks up on us and reveals itself?  During a particularly challenging parenting day, while on our Fall Break vacation (thank you, father and mother-in law), my oldest son and I were sitting near the beach when he looked over at me and said, “Dad,… [more] November 1, 2017 | Peter Render

 
Session Update

We just finished two busy and exciting Sundays as we enjoyed HeyDay and a Presbytery-wide Reformation service. The Session would like to thank all our members who served so graciously to make both of those events possible. What a great privilege to welcome over 1,000 friends and neighbors onto our campus for HeyDay and another 350 from sister churches… [more] November 1, 2017 |

The Dangerous Act of Giving
The Dangerous Act of Giving

I can hardly believe this is Southwood’s seventh year to collect toys for Santa’s Secret Shop. As part of Second Mile’s Pride for Parents, Santa’s Secret Shop gives parents the chance to purchase new toys at reduced prices. Parents can even volunteer and earn store credit for gifts. As parents chose and pay for presents themselves, they are… [more] November 1, 2017 | Sarah Niemitz

Core Commitments: The Least, Lost, Littlest, Lonely, and Left-Out
Core Commitments: The Least, Lost, Littlest, Lonely, and Left-Out

We strive to love the least, the lost, the littlest, the lonely, and the left-out.

Because we are aware of our own weaknesses and dependence upon God, we want to introduce fellow sinners to the Great Physician, in whom the broken and hurting find refuge and a home. This happens as we lead with grace rather than judgment… [more] November 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Reflections on Racial Reconciliation
Reflections on Racial Reconciliation

I recently finished teaching a Sunday School class on racial reconciliation. If I’m asked how this class has changed me, I would say I’ve become more heartbroken and joyful than I’ve been in a long time. 

Heartbroken and joyful? Aren’t those at opposite ends of the scale? Actually, no. Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,… [more] November 1, 2017 | Lance Cooper

All That Is Fair: Flesh and Blood
All That Is Fair: Flesh and Blood

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it actually make any noise?  We’ve all heard that riddle before.  It can send your mind into pretzel mode if you overthink it.  I can’t presume to be an expert on such matters, but I can give you some thoughts on the question itself.  I’m sure… [more] November 1, 2017 | James Parker

Family Ministry Moment: Thankfulness
Family Ministry Moment: Thankfulness

Thankfulness
Part two of a three-part series in Gratitude by Focus on the Family

Despite the highest standard of living in the history of humanity, our generation seems driven by an insatiable desire for more, better and faster. Just when we should feel most satisfied, we find ourselves bored and disillusioned.… [more] November 1, 2017 | Focus on the Family

 
NEW Family Resources

We added some NEW Family Resources the Kids & Family section of the Guest Center Library!

[more] October 26, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment: Prayers for Your Children
Family Ministry Moment: Prayers for Your Children
Many parents have witnessed the power of faithful prayer over their child’s life, praying for health and healing from heartbreaks and for spiritual awakening and future direction. Inside Prayers for Your Children, pastor and author James Banks offers ninety accessible, Scripture-packed prayers you can pray for your kids during every season of their… [more] October 20, 2017 | Angela Sierk
Owlegories
Owlegories

Looking for a fun way to teach your kids about God’s amazing love for them? Check out Owlegories™ - a gospel-centered animated series and interactive digital app that teaches kids about God through the amazing things found in nature and revealed in God’s Word!

Owlegories take your child along with a group of owl students traveling… [more] October 13, 2017 | Angela Sierk

 
Family Ministry Moment: Ask Me WhoOo: Volume One - Who Made You?

Ask Me WhoOo: Volume One - Who Made You?”

How early should your kids be learning the Catechism? As early as possible!  Fill their early vocabulary with words that reflect biblical truth.  Did you know that Southwood Kids begin learning the Catechism in the Two’s class and continue through PreK4?! And, then, in… [more] October 13, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

Nervous Excitement
As I’ve been preparing this week for a trip to India later this month, I’ve felt two sets of emotions increasing at the same time: nervous anxiety right alongside exhilarating excitement. I want to share just a little window into my heart on this and particularly ask you to pray, since I’m learning… [more] October 1, 2017 | Will Spink

 
Session Update

The Session is excited to announce the hiring of Robert Blevins to be our Director of Community Development. Robert has been working with our denomination’s Mission to North America agency to equip churches around the country for mercy ministry and community development. Please be praying for him and his wife, Denine, as they will be transitioning… [more] October 1, 2017 |

Core Commitments: Relationships
Core Commitments: Relationships

We are Driven by Relationships
It is people who are in need of God’s grace, and it is in the hearts and lives of people that God’s kingdom is first and foremost extended. So we genuinely love people and are committed to developing life-giving relationships both inside and outside the church. These relationships with… [more] October 1, 2017 | Will Spink

95 Theses 500 Years later: Luther’s List Speaks Powerfully Today
95 Theses 500 Years later: Luther’s List Speaks Powerfully Today

On October 31, 1517, a German monk named Martin Luther nailed a list of concerns to the door of the church in Wittenberg. This list of concerns, now known as the 95 Theses, are widely credited with sparking what is now called the Protestant Reformation. Originally titled “The Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,”… [more] October 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Q&A with Derrick Harris
Q&A with Derrick Harris

The Southwood Session has called Derrick to be an assistant pastor for shepherding and young families. This means Derrick’s responsibilities on the pastoral team will include leading the staff and session in general congregational shepherding as well as overseeing the children’s ministry with a focus on engaging the parents of these children.

[more] October 1, 2017 | James Parker and Derrick Harris
If I was a Missionary…
If I was a Missionary…

In the strict sense, I have been a missionary, living in Hungary for six years.  Life as a missionary was different.  Being missionaries changed the way we thought about so many things. 
We chose where we wanted to live, not based on geographical preference.  Instead of locating in beautiful, clean Switzerland or stylish… [more] October 1, 2017 | Ron Clegg

All That Is Fair: The Wages of Sin is Death, the Wages of Art…Not Much Better
All That Is Fair: The Wages of Sin is Death, the Wages of Art…Not Much Better

Art.  What is art?  It refers to an artifact or a performance that is made by a person or by persons.  As Christians, we say we value people, yet we often neglect to consider the person behind the art.  We tend to focus on the face value of the artistic offering.  Consuming art in this way is near-sighted, and we ought to… [more] October 1, 2017 | James Parker

Family Ministry Moment - Discipline and Grace
Family Ministry Moment - Discipline and Grace

What Should Grace and Discipline Look Like in a Christian Family?

You know the drill. You’ve told your child to clean his or her room a thousand times. Now you’ve had it.

You storm into their room, blow an emotional gasket and ground them until they are 20. That’s not you, though. You love your kid and you want… [more] September 26, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Pastors’ Note: The Experience of Expressed Grace
Pastors’ Note: The Experience of Expressed Grace

Coming out of seminary, I was warned of the perils that my family was sure to face in church life.  Many of these things we already have painful experience in from other places, so we felt prepared as we moved to Huntsville.  Emily and I both know the reality of our life together.  We understand what it means for a church family to… [more] September 1, 2017 | Peter Render

Core Commitments: Dependence and Prayer
Core Commitments: Dependence and Prayer

We recognize our deep dependence and need for prayer.
We are a community constantly dependent upon God both individually and corporately. In fact, this is a large part of what it means that we must continually experience grace ourselves. Our relationship with God is one where we remain desperately needy and He remains gloriously… [more] September 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Praying for Jobs for Life
Praying for Jobs for Life

Prayer is the backbone of Jobs For Life. We mean that statement. We literally are powerless to minister effectively without the Holy Spirit. Our students face very real barriers to attending JfL classes, much less getting a job. Some of these barriers are their own mental hurdles, while others are outside factors such as a lack of education or a… [more] September 1, 2017 | Sarah Niemitz

Southwood in India
Southwood in India

In the second half of October, Will Spink and Skeets Simonis will participate in a conference for church planters and pastors in West central India. This conference is hosted every other year by RIMI (Reaching Indians Ministries International), one of our global mission partners, and about 2,000 participants will be coming from all across South Asia.… [more] September 1, 2017 | Ron Clegg

The Story of Being Known: Sharing Our Hope with Our Youth
The Story of Being Known: Sharing Our Hope with Our Youth

It is a daunting thing to consider another school year, which to me means endless opportunities for the High-Life team to bring the light of the Gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ into what seem to be increasingly dark places.  Students from all over North Alabama descend on our homes, on school campuses, and The Lodge.  Brokenness abounds,… [more] September 1, 2017 | Peter Render

Why is a Particular Men’s Ministry Necessary for Today’s Church?
Why is a Particular Men’s Ministry Necessary for Today’s Church?

We live in a culture today that is confused and no longer knows with certainty what gender means.  To a growing number in our culture, gender is what you want it to be.  So, what then does it mean to be a man?  How does a Christian man navigate through our modern world?  Decades ago our idea of manhood was characterized by the… [more] September 1, 2017 | Ron Clegg

Session Update
Session Update

The Session is excited to announce the call of Derrick Harris to be our Pastor of Shepherding and Young Families. Derrick has been in ministry for 17 years, many which he has spent focusing on youth and families, and he comes to Southwood from Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville. He and his wife, Anna Catherine, have a son, John Paul, who just… [more] September 1, 2017 |

All That Is Fair: Nobody Wants to Work for It
All That Is Fair: Nobody Wants to Work for It

Everything happens so fast now, am I right? When I watch TV, commercials are 15 seconds. When I watch a Youtube video, I’m irritated if I can’t skip the ad at the beginning after 5 seconds.  When I sit down at the computer, if the website I’m visiting takes more than 15 seconds to load, I become outraged, shouting at a box… [more] September 1, 2017 | James Parker

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

Lord, Teach Us to Pray

Have you ever told someone that you would pray for something and then completely neglected to do so? Me, too. I’m sure there are a variety of reasons this happens to us, including mere forgetfulness. But one of the reasons that sometimes trips me up is that I don’t feel as practically dependent… [more] August 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Core Commitments: Christ-Centered
Core Commitments: Christ-Centered

We are committed to being Christ-Centered

The grace of God has been most fully shown to us in his Son, Jesus Christ, and God’s kingdom is not advanced without focusing on Jesus, the King. This means giving glory to Jesus, proclaiming the good news of his finished work, is the goal of our corporate worship, all of our… [more] August 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Southwood Women
Southwood Women

Southwood’s new Women’s Ministry is launching this fall. Our heart is to see every woman using her unique gifts to engage in the life of the church and to serve alongside others in Southwood’s ministries. We desire to care for our women and enable them to be the life-givers God has created them to be for the sake of his kingdom. The focus of… [more] August 1, 2017 | Lolita Owens

What are Small Groups?
What are Small Groups?

If you hang around Southwood for very long, you will no doubt hear about small groups.  They have been a critical component of our vision for the church from the very beginning.  In fact, you will hear more about them very soon as we approach our sign-up period, which we call Next Wave.  So, as you consider becoming a part of one of… [more] August 1, 2017 | Ron Clegg

There really is a Job for Everyone
There really is a Job for Everyone

Jobs For Life is right around the corner, and we are so excited about our class this fall! I am writing this article from my kitchen table while on maternity leave, and I feel a bit disconnected from everything. Maybe you feel that way, too? Summer has meant different schedules and various vacations — packing as much into the few short weeks of… [more] August 1, 2017 | Sarah Niemitz

General Assembly and Southwood
General Assembly and Southwood

Three Southwood elders – Ron Clegg, Ray Sheppard, and I – had the privilege of participating in this year’s PCA General Assembly, the annual meeting of our denomination. While lengthy church meetings may not sound enjoyable, it is a great opportunity to see how God is at work not only at Southwood but also throughout the country and the world… [more] August 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Leadership Training Class: Equipping Everyone to Lead
Leadership Training Class: Equipping Everyone to Lead

Have you ever considered leading a small group but felt you wouldn’t know what to do? Have you wanted to understand more about the Bible to benefit conversations with friends? Have you desired to use your gifts to serve the church but felt uncertain as to what gifts you had or where they could help the body?

We would love to have you in… [more] August 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Family Ministry Moment: Mom/Dad and Me Journal
Family Ministry Moment: Mom/Dad and Me Journal

Curious what is on the hearts of your kids? Why not start a “Mom and Me” or “Dad and Me” journal?!

Below are a couple examples you can get at the bookstore, which are filled with writing prompts and great questions for creativity - OR - you can make an inexpensive one with just a sprial-bound notebook! It’s SO… [more] July 14, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment: Summer Sunday school
Family Ministry Moment: Summer Sunday school

By now you have probably heard that the Kids’ Summer Sunday School is a bit unusual.  So, we thought today would be a good time to “bug” you about what your kids are learning.

This summer, Southwood Kids are exploring “Metamorphosis - A God-directed, Life Change Production” with an overarching focus on Romans 12:2,… [more] June 22, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

Saying Yes (or No) to Serving Opportunities

Is it merely over-spiritualizing to say that God has at Southwood the exact people He wants with the exact strengths and weaknesses, gifts and experiences? Not from the perspective of I Corinthians 12. In that chapter Paul talks about the body of Christ and the fact that God has… [more] June 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Southwood’s Core Commitments
Southwood’s Core Commitments

The Alabama football team under the leadership of Nick Saban may run lots of different plays with lots of different players, but every Saturday we expect to see a disciplined, hard-nosed, tough team on the field. The Beatles have played many different songs, but we consistently recognize that characteristic strong beat and musical excellence. Paula… [more] June 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Reflections
Reflections

Honored.  Privileged.  Humbled.  Thankful.

Southwood, when I think about working for this church, I am so thankful for you.  It has been an honor to work here with you—an honor so great that it is not easily expressed in words, but I will try. I won’t capture it fully, but it won’t be the first time I fail at Southwood… [more] June 1, 2017 | Winnie Winford

Praying for Peru
Praying for Peru

You probably know by now that we have 15 members and students going to Peru this summer, but did you know that you are sending them? If you are tithing at Southwood, part of that money is making this trip and ongoing partnership possible. If you ate at Big Rosie’s, joined in the babysitting night, or contributed funds for a specific individual… [more] June 1, 2017 | Sarah Niemitz

Ask A Pastor
Ask A Pastor

Culture and Gospel Meet

Q) What motivates today’s Christian youth?

A) The question of motivation is one that is most readily answered by a Monday morning, armchair quarterback.  Parents, coaches, teachers, and leaders of all other sorts spend seasons and years trying… [more] June 1, 2017 | Peter Render

Session Update
Session Update

What a joy it was to celebrate the ordination and installation of Peter Render to be set apart for the ministry of the gospel and to be our assistant pastor for youth and families! The Session encourages you to join us in following the admonition of Elder Todd Gandy, who charged us to pray for Peter, to be patient with Peter, and to partner with… [more] June 1, 2017 | Southwood Session

All That Is Fair: The Serenity Prayer That Willie Taught Me to Pray
All That Is Fair: The Serenity Prayer That Willie Taught Me to Pray

We’ve all heard it before.  The serenity prayer.  “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  It was written in the 1930s by Reinhold Niebuhr and later adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous.  Certainly it is one of… [more] June 1, 2017 | James Parker

Family Ministry Moment: Focus on the Family Podcasts
Family Ministry Moment: Focus on the Family Podcasts

So, I have just stumbled across a goldmine of great resources and am super excited to share it with you this week.  It is a HUGE list of podcasts focused on various family topics from Focus On The Family! It has so many wonderful topics - and even offers advice on how to talk your children through difficult times in their lives… [more] May 11, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment: Counting on God
Family Ministry Moment: Counting on God

Music Video: “Counting On God”

Today’s post is a music video that our Southwood Kids LOVE to sing! Turn it on, turn it up, and watch as they have FUN dancing, singing, and worshipping God.  I absolutely love this song… [more] May 2, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

Living Into The Future

Last month in this column I wrote about “Living out of the Past”—not being stuck in the past, but at the same time not forgetting the character of God and the lessons learned from previous chapters of our story. It’s vital that we look back and remember the failings in our lives and the faithfulness… [more] May 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Hope for the Future
Hope for the Future

As winter melts away and spring weather ushers in a new season of life, the students of Huntsville have a physical reminder of the passage of time. For seniors and their families, it can be an especially bittersweet season. It is a season that with every rain as well as every sunny day points them back to the hope they trust in, the hope they cling… [more] May 1, 2017 | Winnie Winford

Session Update
Session Update

The Session rejoices in the addition of over 20 new members to our Southwood family last month! Don’t miss the opportunity to see God’s hand at work in these brothers and sisters recently received into membership. Some have just recently come to Christ, while others have known him all their lives. We always rejoice in the chance to get to know… [more] May 1, 2017 | Southwood Session

Jobs for Life: Partnership and a Story of Hope
Jobs for Life: Partnership and a Story of Hope

It is hard to believe that we are preparing for our 3rd Jobs for Life class in partnership with The CornerStone Initiative and Westside Church beginning fall of 2017! When I think about the best way to communicate the impact of Jobs for Life on our church members, the students, and the local business community, I think stories might be the most powerful… [more] May 1, 2017 | Sarah Niemitz

Redirection
Redirection

You may have seen in the news (or through Southwood emails) that Peru has been hit by devastating mud slides which have washed away homes, businesses, crops, and rendered clean water a scarcity. Scripture Union, the organization we serve alongside each summer with our senior high students, is responding in specific ways as they are able. In light… [more] May 1, 2017 | Sarah Niemitz

Spirit of VBS
Spirit of VBS

I’ll be honest—I don’t remember that much about Vacation Bible School as a kid.  I remember learning the words to “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog” (not really very theologically sound), and I remember learning the Apostles Creed one year—and watching Dean Harris (names have been changed to protect the innocent) crawl out onto the roof of… [more] May 1, 2017 | Amy Gandy

Family Ministry Moment: Practical Ways for Families To Grow Spiritually
Family Ministry Moment: Practical Ways for Families To Grow Spiritually

Practical Ways for Families To Grow Spiritually

Watch this quick video of Samantha Snipes as she talks about being a healthy spiritual family. Not a perfect family, but a family who learns every day to be a little more like Jesus.  Make your faith a… [more] April 26, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment: Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing
Family Ministry Moment: Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

“Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing”

From Jago and Sally Lloyd-Jones, the creators of the bestselling Jesus Storybook Bible, comes this gorgeous and innovative collection of 101 simple-yet- profound thoughts on faith. Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing shares profound spiritual truths from the Bible told in a conversational… [more] April 19, 2017 | Angela Sierk

 
No Sunday School Easter Sunday

[more] April 14, 2017 |
Family Ministry Moment: “Christ Arose”
Family Ministry Moment: “Christ Arose”

Happy Easter, Southwood Families!

Here is a song that our Southwood Kids & Friends learned during VBS 2012 - SKY called, “Christ Arose.” It’s a fun and energetic song that we use now and again in Sunday School Worship, so they will enjoy singing along and showing you the motions!

https://youtu.be/4zVxn0bkDJ4?list=PLxQ8MFsKCOx-QQDm-xSXx3cwQ6WhgiJDA

[more] April 12, 2017 | Angela Sierk
Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

Living In the Past vs. Living Out of the Past

My story begins long before 34-plus years ago when I was born. As a child of God inextricably connected to Jesus, my story began before the foundation of the world when my Heavenly Father set his love upon me. It involves chapters where my nature was shaped by Adam’s sin and… [more] April 2, 2017 | Will Spink

Life out of Death
Life out of Death

Perhaps the most famous passage in the book of Ezekiel (high praise, right?!) comes in chapter 37 when God takes his prophet into a valley full of dry bones. After 30-plus chapters of prophesying judgment on idolatrous, exiled Israel, God uses the lifeless bones as a picture of the nation of Israel—“dried up,” “without hope,” “cut off”… [more] April 2, 2017 | Will Spink

Session Update
Session Update

The Session has been wrestling over the last 12-18 months with our hearts before God in light of the season of conflict Southwood experienced several years ago. As we have prayed, talked, and at times fasted together, God has shown us more of our sinful attitudes and actions as a Session that were dishonoring to the name of Christ and hurtful to… [more] April 2, 2017 | Southwood Session

Resurrection Garden
Resurrection Garden

Much like Christmas, Easter comes filled with many wonderful and exciting things—Easter baskets, chocolate bunnies, egg hunts, baskets, new clothes, a delicious family brunch… but we know that Easter is SO much more than that.  More than visits from the Easter Bunny, more than dyeing the most beautiful egg, Easter is the amazing realization… [more] April 2, 2017 | Angela Sierk

A Word for All People
A Word for All People

One of my favorite things about Southwood is our dedication to the teaching and preaching of the Word of God as contained in the Old and New Testaments.  We affirm the Westminster Shorter Catechism by saying that “the Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of man.”  If we are not… [more] April 2, 2017 | Peter Render

Southwood Women’s Retreat Re-cap
Southwood Women’s Retreat Re-cap

During the weekend of March 24-26, 60 Southwood ladies attended our annual retreat at Doublehead in Town Creek, AL. We were able to spend time with old friends and meet new friends. This was done by having meals with ladies that you didn’t necessarily know all that well, fishing with Stephanie in the early morning, joining the walking or running… [more] April 2, 2017 | Southwood Staff

Training to Volunteer
Training to Volunteer

Why in the world would you attend a 2 ½-hour training in order to volunteer by pulling weeds or serving a pot-luck dinner? These are things you do every day in your normal life; what kind of training could possibly be necessary?

These are the thoughts that might be running through your head when you learn that, in order to engage with our… [more] April 2, 2017 | Sarah Niemitz

All That Is Fair: Love and Hard Times
All That Is Fair: Love and Hard Times

Why in the world would God ever choose to tell the story this way?  Have you ever asked yourself that question?  Why did he make this world, and the universe that holds it, if keeping it all going “according to his good pleasure” were going to be so difficult? The simple act (for a divine being) of making the dirt and from it… [more] April 2, 2017 | James Parker

Family Ministry Moment: “Help Me Teach the Bible” Podcast
Family Ministry Moment: “Help Me Teach the Bible” Podcast

Help Me Teach the Bible: Marty Machowski on Teaching Theology to Kids

Ever feel ill-equipped to teach the Bible to your children?  Are you overwhelmed, like you don’t have a clue where to begin? Unsure how to make it relevant to your children’s daily lives?  Are you just in need of a little inspiration? The… [more] March 30, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment: Parent Life Magazine
Family Ministry Moment: Parent Life Magazine

“Parent Life: Parenting with Parents to Raise Godly Kids”

This Lifeway magazine is packed with some awesome resources in every issue including God’s Plan for You, Parent Talk, a Family Devotional, Boys & Girls Q&A, Growth Spurts, Inspirational Verses, Mom’s Life, Dad’s Life, product reviews, craft/snack… [more] March 22, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment: House On The Rock
Family Ministry Moment: House On The Rock

House On The Rock
This week’s Family Ministry Moment is a fun “Three Minutes to Win It” Family Challenge! To complete this challenge you’ll need Legos, a computer or tablet to watch a music video, and about 10 minutes with your family.

To Play: Watch/listen to this awesome music video by JumpStart3… [more] March 16, 2017 |

Family Ministry Moment: My Easter Basket
Family Ministry Moment: My Easter Basket

My Easter Basket: And the True Story of Easter By: Mary Manz Simon

Easter is about much more than yellow chicks and white bunnies. Use the colors in this special basket to discover the real meaning of this special day. Little readers can walk through the Bible story and learn why we celebrate Easter—-because… [more] March 9, 2017 |

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

The Wonder of Beloved Dust

About this time last year, I wrote the following words about being installed as Southwood’s senior pastor: “It is such a great joy to get to serve with and share life with people who love you and your family so well, and it is a rare privilege in pastoral ministry to have the opportunity… [more] March 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Re-Thinking Our Work Day
Re-Thinking Our Work Day

In high school I spent several weeks every summer serving in an orphanage in the Peruvian jungle. I was a hard-core mission tripper. My favorite days were the ones that started early, involved hauling heavy bags of sand and concrete up the river bank, pouring foundations, and ended with making more concrete by the light of headlamps. I was proud… [more] March 1, 2017 | Sarah Niemitz

Session Update
Session Update

At the annual congregational meeting in February, we celebrated together many exciting ways God is at work to advance his kingdom through Southwood—in Huntsville, in the Middle East, and many places in between. We are grateful for his gracious provision for our church during the past year, where we added a playground project and a sanctuary lighting… [more] March 1, 2017 | Southwood Session

Ask A Pastor
Ask A Pastor

Short-Term Missions

Q) How beneficial are these expensive short-term mission trips?

A) Sitting at a table with a new friend in a local restaurant back in 1994, my excitement grew with every word.  He was a new member of my congregation who was also making trips 2-3 times… [more] March 1, 2017 | Ron Clegg

Upcoming Sunday School Classes
Upcoming Sunday School Classes

Gospel Driven Parenting: How the Gospel Informs, Shapes, and Empowers Us As Parents
Taught by Ron Clegg • Ages under 35 and 35-45
What do you think of yourself as a parent?  Were you prepared for the task when the offspring arrived?  Do you know what you are doing?  Do you know why you are doing… [more] March 1, 2017 | Ron Clegg and Mike Stanfield

Curl Up With: Mission Accomplished
Curl Up With: Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional
By Scott James

Nearly two thousand years ago, a wooden cross and an empty tomb served as the setting for the greatest rescue mission in history. Of course, the mission is none other than the gospel of Jesus Christ–the good news of a loving Father going… [more] March 1, 2017 | Southwood Staff

All That Is Fair: Cold, Cold Heart
All That Is Fair: Cold, Cold Heart

Sometimes when I read the Bible, I try to imagine myself in God’s shoes. In both the Old and New Testaments, there are so many places where you see a picture of God or Jesus being vulnerable about how they feel.  And in those vignettes we see a relatability, an opportunity for us as image bearers to empathize with the heart of God himself. … [more] March 1, 2017 | James Parker

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

How-To: Praying For Our Kids

Looking for an easy yet meaningful way to pray for your child?  Try the Handprint Prayer!  (It’s CRAZY simple!) Here’s what you need to do:

1) Pick one Bible verse for each of your children and pray it for a year, ideally everyday.  

2) Trace their little… [more] March 1, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment: “Mission Accomplished”
Family Ministry Moment: “Mission Accomplished”

“Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional” by Scott James

Celebrate the Greatest Rescue Mission in History Nearly 2,000 years ago, a simple wooden cross and an empty tomb served as the setting for the greatest rescue mission in history the good news of a loving Father going to great lengths to save his… [more] February 22, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment: The Aetherlight
Family Ministry Moment: The Aetherlight

The Aetherlight

The Aetherlight is an online action-adventure game that was created to introduce kids to the Bible narrative in an exciting and immersive experience.  Much like the well-known story of Narnia, Aetherlight is a thrilling tale of resistance against a dark menace in… [more] February 8, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

Deeply Known, Deeply Loved

I recently enjoyed the privilege of spending the weekend with four other pastors who travelled to Huntsville so the five of us could spend 48 hours together. We talked, we prayed, we laughed, we cried. We asked each other hard questions and listened to even harder stories.

We’ve been gathering… [more] February 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Single in the Church
Single in the Church

On February 14, 270 AD (or close to it), a priest was brutally executed by the Roman Emperor Claudius. This priest defied Claudius’ clear orders that marriages within his realm were outlawed because married men were not enlisting in the military in sufficient numbers. This priest, sensing the injustice of this edict, conducted marriages in secret… [more] February 1, 2017 | Ron Clegg

Session Update
Session Update

Please join us for our annual congregational meeting on Sunday, February 5, following the worship service. We look forward to the opportunity to celebrate together what God is doing and to look together to the future as well. The Session is delighted to recommend two elder candidates (Lance Cooper and Mike Stanfield) and two deacon candidates (Mike… [more] February 1, 2017 | Southwood Session

What Does Love Mean To You?
What Does Love Mean To You?

We asked our kids what love meant to them. Here are a few of their responses:

“We love each other as much as we love God. We spend time together.”
—Mia Welch

“It means family.  I give them hugs and kisses and I’m kind to them.”
—Walker Welch

“Love… [more] February 1, 2017 | Southwood Kids

Re-reading Relationships
Re-reading Relationships

A Pastor’s Perspective on the Express Grace Conference

Sometimes I find it helpful to re-read a book—perhaps because of how much I love the story or the content, perhaps because it’s so rich that I need to process what it really means for me. For both of those reasons, I’ve found myself over the past few days “re-reading”… [more] February 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Beyond Barriers
Beyond Barriers

Over the past five years, you have heard me say repeatedly that the local church needs to be committed to the long-term work of community development. We believe that transformation happens through the restoration of relationships first between people and God, and then between people and themselves, people and other people, and finally people and… [more] February 1, 2017 | Sarah Niemitz

Live in Grace
Live in Grace

As Christians, we are called to a life of repentance.  We sometimes view this as a dour endeavor, constantly seeking out sin and reliving pain, shame, and guilt.  Other times, we view this as a systematic endeavor, planning to live righteously and then reacting to the odious things as they reveal themselves.  The Westminster Shorter… [more] February 1, 2017 | Peter Render

All That Is Fair: Dare You to Move
All That Is Fair: Dare You to Move

Failure is universal.  All of us at some point will fail at something.  Most likely we will fail at lots of things.  Some of these things will be big and some of them will be small…  The boy who asks his crush out on a date only to be rejected, the girl who doesn’t get asked to dance at the cotillion, the kid whose… [more] February 1, 2017 | James Parker

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

Sammy And His Shepherd

Looking for a simple eleven-day devotional with a lot of heart?  Check out “Sammy and His Shepherd” by Susan Hunt.  This BEAUTIFULLY illustrated book leads children through Psalm 23, showing them Jesus one verse at a time. The stories follow Sammy the Sheep who lives under the loving care… [more] January 18, 2017 | Angela Sierk

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

The “Both-And” of Express Grace

When I was in high school, I traveled long distances for several mission trips. I remember how excited I was to share the good news of Jesus with people in places like Arizona, South Carolina, and even Sweden. I also remember sitting in a meeting with a team preparing for one of… [more] January 1, 2017 | Will Spink

Express Grace Conference 2017
Express Grace Conference 2017

Express Grace “At Home”

Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Dan Zink, Covenant Theological Seminary
I am a teacher, counselor, husband, father, and friend.  I have worked at Covenant Seminary since 1990, teaching since 1995. This is my 3rd career, having worked in Social Work… [more] January 1, 2017 | Peter Render and Dr. Dan Zink

Playground Groundbreaking
Playground Groundbreaking

New Playground Groundbreaking!

We love our children here at Southwood and want to create an exciting, age-appropriate play area for the children who are on our campus throughout the week. As of late December, work is well underway on a new playground that will be ready for kids in the new year, 2017.

Our previous… [more] January 1, 2017 | Niña Banta

Officer Nominations
Officer Nominations

CANDIDATE BIOS

The following men have been nominated by the congregation, have been trained alongside the Session and Diaconate, and are being recommended by the Session to serve in the offices of elder and deacon, respectively. The congregation will vote on these men at the annual congregational meeting on February 5. Please… [more] January 1, 2017 | Southwood Members

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

Giving Kids Space to Make Emotional Connections to God’s Word

Got a couple minutes to spare? Here’s a really interesting video on the importance of giving kids space to digest Biblical information and connect to God.

Nowadays, kids learn on the fly and they are able to take in and retain a TON of information…but,… [more] December 28, 2016 | Angela Sierk

The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #12
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #12

Why Do We Call It Christmas?

[more] December 25, 2016 | Angela Sierk
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #11
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #11

Why Do We Call It Christmas?

[more] December 24, 2016 | Angela Sierk
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #10
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #10

Why Do We Call It Christmas?

[more] December 23, 2016 | Angela Sierk
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #9
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #9

What do Christmas trees have to do with Jesus?

 

[more] December 23, 2016 | Angela Sierk
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #8
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #8

What is Hanukkah?

[more] December 21, 2016 | Angela Sierk
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #7
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #7

Why Do We Call It Christmas?

[more] December 20, 2016 | Angela Sierk
The 12 Questions of Christmas- Question #6
The 12 Questions of Christmas- Question #6

Why Do We Call It Christmas?

[more] December 19, 2016 | Angela Sierk
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #5
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #5

Why Do We Call It Christmas?

[more] December 18, 2016 | Angela Sierk
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #4
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #4

Why Do We Call It Christmas?

[more] December 17, 2016 | Angela Sierk
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #3
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #3

Why Do We Call It Christmas?

 

[more] December 16, 2016 | Angela Sierk
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #2
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #2

Was Jesus really born on Christmas?

[more] December 15, 2016 | Angela Sierk
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #1
The 12 Questions of Christmas - Question #1

Question #1: Why Do They Call It Christmas?

[more] December 14, 2016 | Angela Sierk
Family Ministry Moment: Why do we call it Christmas?
Family Ministry Moment: Why do we call it Christmas?

“Why do we call it Christmas?”    “Why do we have Christmas trees?”    “Where does Santa fit into Christmas?” 

Got TONS of Christmas questions?  Our beloved puppet pals, Clive and Ian, have all the answers in their fun videos “The 12 Questions of Christmas.” … [more] December 13, 2016 | Angela Sierk

Fa-La-Lodge
Fa-La-Lodge

Kids, get ready for the 5th Annual Fa-La-Lodge!  Please join us for one of three opportunities to be together with your family and friends and experience joy on so many levels.  It’s going to be a ton of merriment… [more] December 13, 2016 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

Looking for a great stocking stuffer with stellar reviews? 

Check out Slugs & Bugs!  Your family will sing, laugh, and dive deeper into the meaning of life and the nature of God.  Slugs & Bugs offers 5 CDs, a DVD and the NEW Slugs & Bugs App for iPhone… [more] December 6, 2016 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

JellyTelly

Have we got an awesome gift idea for you!!  This Christmas, give the gift of JellyTelly - Christian Shows Where God is Real.  This is the perfect Christmas gift subscription for your kids or grandkids.  It includes 90+ shows, movies, and devotionals - that are family and faith-friendly. A monthly… [more] December 2, 2016 | Angela Sierk

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

“Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room”: The Emotions of Christmas

Let me confess up front that our family committed this year what I know many of you consider a grievous sin (or breach of all reasonable etiquette): We began listening (and singing, dancing, and arguing) to Christmas music before Thanksgiving (Hey, if Target can put… [more] December 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Christmas Tales to Ponder
Christmas Tales to Ponder

Advent Devotionals from Matthew

A Tale of Lavish Grace
Matthew 1:1-17

Many of us begin reading the Christmas story from Matthew in verse 18.  That is because Matthew gives us the genealogy of Jesus in the first few verses, and since we cannot pronounce those names, and most are totally unknown, we… [more] December 1, 2016 | Ron Clegg

Christmas Family Traditions
Christmas Family Traditions

Christmas time can bring reminiscence of past Christmas traditions or the creation of new traditions with children or grandchildren. We hope this season brings a little bit of both for you and your family! Here are a few that folks have shared with us!

“For our family daily Advent activity, we have a large Nutcracker-shaped… [more] December 1, 2016 | Southwood Members

I’ll Be “Home” For Christmas
I’ll Be “Home” For Christmas

It might seem obvious that for a cross-cultural missionary serving in South Sudan, Christmas away from their family and home in the U.S. could be difficult. What might seem less obvious is the fact that when that same cross-cultural missionary returns to the States after some years on the field, Christmas “at home” can be equally challenging.… [more] December 1, 2016 | Sarah Niemitz

When Christmas is Hard
When Christmas is Hard

Christmas is filled with a cascade of traditions, and each person has his favorites. This may even include the airing of many Christmas commercials. Some commercials have been around for years such as the Hershey’s Kisses handbell choir and the Campbell’s Soup snowman. There are many that show snapshots of cozy homes in winter filled with laughter,… [more] December 1, 2016 | Winnie Winford

Imago Dei
Imago Dei

Sr High-Life has spent the fall unpacking the idea first presented in Genesis 1 and 2, that we all bear the image of God.  Image bearing is an inescapable reality for all humans.  It is the reason that we can find beauty in our own brokenness and the brokenness around us.  Our broken reflection of God’s image is how we recognize… [more] December 1, 2016 | Peter Render

The Most FaLaLabulous Christmas Show of All!
The Most FaLaLabulous Christmas Show of All!

Ok… We are approaching a milestone here at Southwood.  This year, 2016 (in case you were confused), will mark the 5th annual commencement of the Fa La Lodge shenanigans, tomfoolery, and ballyhoo.  That’s a big deal!  See, when you do something 5 years in a row, it becomes a thing.  So after this year we’ll be… [more] December 1, 2016 | James Parker

All That Is Fair: Just Like Scrooge
All That Is Fair: Just Like Scrooge

When I was a kid, Christmas was always exciting.  I imagined all the things I would ask for and what I might get under the tree.  It was almost too much for me to take.  That whole “visions of sugarplums” thing can be overwhelming at times (what is a sugarplum anyway?)  I’d get so filled with anticipation that the day itself… [more] December 1, 2016 | James Parker

Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the Southwood Kids’ Ministry Team! We hope you and your families are enjoying your time together, and we hope that you take a moment to talk as a family about what it means to be thankful to God for all He has done for you.  Here is a fun and FREE family activity to do together during your break:… [more] November 21, 2016 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

More Advent Books

Have you started your holiday shopping yet?  If so, add these books to your list:  “The Christmas Promise” & Advent Calendar (perfect for pre-school aged children) and “Unwrapping… [more] November 16, 2016 |

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

Family Devotionals for Advent

Looking to make the holidays more Christ-centered for your family?  If so, here are a couple wonderful CHRISTmas devotionals for the entire family: “Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Family Devotional” by Marty Machowski and “Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative”… [more] November 9, 2016 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

Seeds Family Worship

A fantastic resource for kids AND parents, Seeds Family Worship music lets your family dial down the daily distractions and tune into diverse, energetic, and meaningful worship songs.  These songs (including lyrics and hand motions) come straight from God’s Word.  There are four great ways… [more] November 2, 2016 |

Santa’s Secret Shop with Second Mile
Santa’s Secret Shop with Second Mile

Santa's Secret Shop

Southwood is excited to partner with Second Mile Development again this Christmas as we collect toys for their Santa’s Secret Shop. Please bring new, unwrapped toys for children ages 1-17 to Southwood’s Sanctuary… [more] November 1, 2016 | Angela Sierk

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

How Important Is Thanksgiving?

This month we will gather with families, consume tons of food, and overdose on football games, all in the context of giving thanks for the blessings of life.  Giving thanks is a great thing for us to do and is something well worth celebrating, but do we understand what being thankful means? … [more] November 1, 2016 | Ron Clegg

Election Aftermath
Election Aftermath

In recent weeks and months, pastors, bloggers, and analysts of all sorts have spilled plenty of ink in discussing how to be a Christian on November 8. To read the articles, one would think that day will be the most significant in the history of American Christianity and that decision in the voting booth the most consequential American Christians… [more] November 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Youth Trip to Peru
Youth Trip to Peru

Youth Trip to Peru
The Value of Another Perspective

Most people have had the experience of driving down the road and having a passenger exclaim, “Watch out!” In that moment it is terribly tempting to get frustrated at the gasping passenger.  Some people, perhaps even a person on staff with a youth ministry,… [more] November 1, 2016 | Winnie Winford

Ask A Pastor
Ask A Pastor

It’s a Matter of the Heart

Q) Why are today’s youth so ungrateful?

A)  This issue seems to be on the top of the mind for many people these days.  Be it viral videos showing students, some of them young children, being disrespectful to teachers and other… [more] November 1, 2016 | Peter Render

Gospel-driven Racial Reconciliation
Gospel-driven Racial Reconciliation

What Does Gospel-driven Reconciliation Look Like?

This is a hot topic in our day that does not sidestep the Church. You would think that Christians, those who love and follow Christ, would be at the forefront in the battle for reconciliation. Many are. Yet history has shown us the Church is not immune from society’s ills… [more] November 1, 2016 | Ron Clegg

Session Update
Session Update

The Session would like to thank everyone who helped out with HeyDay—both formally and informally. What a great afternoon together! Perhaps the only thing more exciting than the dunk tank was the number of neighbors, guests, and kids who joined us and received a warm welcome from the people of Southwood.

In case you were not present in the… [more] November 1, 2016 | Southwood Session

All That Is Fair: In Christ There Is No East or West
All That Is Fair: In Christ There Is No East or West

Mavis Staples was born in Chicago in 1939.  She is an R&B/Gospel artist whose career has spanned the last 66 years.  She got started in 1950 singing with her family’s gospel act, The Staples Singers.  Through the years, the Staples Singers, and Mavis herself, have had tons of hits and notoriety.  Her father, Roebuck… [more] November 1, 2016 | James Parker

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

Teaching Children How to Love and Respect God

How can we teach our children to love and respect God?  VeggieTales® and What’s In The Bible creator Phil Vischer explains in this short yet poignant video the best way that we as parents can demonstrate this lesson to our children…by becoming a living example of… [more] October 26, 2016 |

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

How to Bless Your Children

What do children need more than anything nowadays (besides Jesus)? The answer is simple: You. Your children need to hear directly from you that they are appreciated, valued, cared for and deeply L-O-V-E-D.  The impact of telling them these things regularly will have a far great… [more] October 19, 2016 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

“The Gospel Story Bible” by Marty Machowski”

Capture your child’s attention with this bright, bold and refreshing kids’ Bible storybook!  Use it as a bedtime storybook for preschoolers, a devotional for young grade school students, or use the illustrations and discussion questions to dig deeper into conversation… [more] October 12, 2016 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

Ask Me WhoOo: Volume One - Who Made You?”

How early should your kids be learning the Catechism? As early as possible!  Fill their early vocabulary with words that reflect biblical truth.  Did you know that Southwood Kids begin learning the Catechism in the Two’s class and continue through PreK4! And, then, in… [more] October 5, 2016 | Angela Sierk

HeyDay Dunking Booth
HeyDay Dunking Booth

Introducing something NEW at HeyDay this year - a Dunking Booth!

This year, we are asking you to bring one of the below items for a chance to dunk one of six special guests.  The items we collect will directly support our mission partner, 29:11 Inc.  Stop by the Dunking Booth and exchange your item for a ticket! … [more] October 4, 2016 | Angela Sierk

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

What God Loves to Do

What is something you absolutely love to do? What brings joy to your heart? If it was your birthday and you got to design the day, what would it include? Perhaps watching the sunset at the beach. Maybe reading a favorite book with your child. Traveling to new parts of the world. Napping on the porch during… [more] October 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself
Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 
This is the first and greatest commandment. 
And the second is like it:
Love Your Neighbor As Yourself
Matthew… [more] October 1, 2016 | Winnie Winford and Peter Render

Vital Brotherhood
Vital Brotherhood

2016 Men’s Retreat

The men of Southwood left this year’s retreat increasingly convinced of their need for God and their need for each other. Pastor Ron shared some of his life story with the group and provided a window into how “the gospel transforms a pastor.” In between these times around God’s Word, they ate… [more] October 1, 2016 | Will Spink

In the Community, For the Community
In the Community, For the Community

Different people have different perceptions of “the church” in the community. For some, churches are a place of safety and community; for others they are places of exclusivity. Some see the church as a benevolent organization, while others perceive it to be self-serving and self-important. Some people think church is for good people; others think… [more] October 1, 2016 | Sarah Niemitz

Harvest HeyDay
Harvest HeyDay

Harvest HeyDay 2016
Sunday, October 23 • 3-6pm

Fall brings cool weather, falling leaves, football, pumpkin spice in everything, and perhaps best of all—Harvest HeyDay!  Easily one of Southwood’s largest outreach events of the year, Harvest HeyDay is not just for the kids. It’s a way for us to be encouraged… [more] October 1, 2016 | Niña Banta

Ask A Pastor
Ask A Pastor

The Gift We Have Been Given In Christ

Q) What is the driving force behind those who sacrifice so much for the purpose of ministering to others?

A)  If you have been to missions conferences or read books on ministry, you will hear or feel several motivations to get you… [more] October 1, 2016 | Ron Clegg

The Return on Investment
The Return on Investment

My mother studied economics in college and my father is a banker with J.P. Morgan, so needless to say the term “return on investment” was a commonly used phrase around our house. We were always looking for ways to do things more efficiently, and while my parents always advocated hard work, they valued working smarter rather than simply working… [more] October 1, 2016 | Sarah Niemitz

All That Is Fair: Sacred Sense and Sensibility
All That Is Fair: Sacred Sense and Sensibility

Long before any of us were born, Jane Austen penned the novel Sense and Sensibility.  It follows the lives of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.  In personality, they are polar opposites.  Elinor is stoic and reserved, always operating under the governance of good “sense” and reason.  Marianne is lively… [more] October 1, 2016 | James Parker

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

The Bible Project - Read Scripture: Intro

Overwhelmed trying to read and explain the Bible to your kids? Don’t know where to start?  The Bible Project does a FANTASTIC job illustrating the big picture by focusing on the Bible’s overarching themes and each book’s literary design.  Short videos break up… [more] September 28, 2016 | Angela Sierk

Family Ministry Moment
Family Ministry Moment

Empowering Families to Grow in Faith Together

Introducing, the Family Ministry Moment - a weekly post providing valuable resources to Southwood families for Spiritual Transformation!  Here, you will find some amazing discussions and support tools like podcasts, videos, books, music, web links, and even “how-to” tips… [more] September 21, 2016 | Angela Sierk

Meet Angela Sierk
Meet Angela Sierk

For many of us, Angela is a familiar face in Children’s Ministry helping with our Kindergarten – 1st grade class, but it wasn’t until July 27 of this year that Southwood member Angela Sierk actually joined the staff, part-time, as Assistant Director of Children’s Ministry. This newly created position coincides with combining Elementary, Preschool… [more] September 14, 2016 | Southwood Staff

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

Christmas in September

Like many of you, I have sat in the Lodge, listened to James sing “That Spirit of Christmas” at the end of another Fa-La-Lodge performance, and thought, “Why can’t it remain all through the year?” Well, this year it can … in at least one particular way.

If you enter Southwood on Sunday,… [more] September 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Question and Answer
Question and Answer

What was your senior superlative in high school? And if one wasn’t bestowed upon you, what would it have been?
Ron: I can’t remember if I was bestowed with a senior superlative.  That was a really long time ago.  It might have been “Best Afro“.  I was a pretty nondescript kid back then. … [more] September 1, 2016 | Ron Clegg and Peter Render

Spiritual Transformation
Spiritual Transformation

Ministry to children and their families is not about programs, or childcare or babysitting. It’s about a transformation of lives from the inside out. We as a church cannot be the only ones who take on this role of the spiritual transformation of children, instead it primarily belongs in the hands of parents. The church provides Christian Education… [more] September 1, 2016 | Niña Banta

Ask A Pastor
Ask A Pastor

Thoughts for the Journey

Q: How can God command believers to “praise the Lord” even in difficult times? Do we just ignore the pain and tears? Is suffering actually good?  This all sounds so unrealistic.

A: Psalm 34 is a great place to look for answers to these baffling… [more] September 1, 2016 | Ron Clegg

I Stand Alone on the Word of God
I Stand Alone on the Word of God

“I Stand Alone on the Word of God”
Foundation for Youth Ministry

When the Lodge was being built in 2004, then youth pastor Ken Leggett gathered a group of students for a mission. Before the concrete was poured into the footers, the students buried a Bible in the ground at the Lodge. That may sound… [more] September 1, 2016 | Winnie Winford and Will Spink

Members Connecting with Members
Members Connecting with Members

Does Southwood have a softball team? How about a ministry in Research Park? Does Southwood serve in the local schools? How about taking beach retreats? Well, no, not exactly. But, on the other hand, a resounding YES!

While Southwood as a church does not formally organize, staff, and fund ministries and groups like these, we rejoice in the… [more] September 1, 2016 | Will Spink

All That Is Fair: Just Say This
All That Is Fair: Just Say This

When Jesus was asked by his disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray…” his answer was what we now call the Lord’s Prayer.  Those of us who have been in or around church for most of our lives will doubtless be familiar with this prayer.  It is one of the few liturgical, corporate prayers that the vast majority of denominations… [more] September 1, 2016 | James Parker

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

A Postcard Late in Summer

The excitement of a new school year is building rapidly at the Spink home these days. Conversations about connecting with old and new friends, plans to purchase needed clothes or supplies, and agonizing over which activities to participate in are now daily occurrences. While we are sad to see the… [more] August 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Why Employment?
Why Employment?

Why Employment?
Jobs for Life: A Ministry of Reconciliation

Christians can quickly point to biblical commands to preach the gospel, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless. These ministries are a beautiful, important reflection of the caring love God has shown us in Christ. It is no surprise… [more] August 1, 2016 | Sarah Niemitz

General Assembly 2016
General Assembly 2016

A Pastor Looks Back at General Assembly 2016
Key Issues That Impact All of Us

Not many Southwood members think of sitting through committee meetings and assembly meetings at the annual meeting of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) as a highlight of their summer vacation. But that doesn’t mean the issues… [more] August 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Leadership Training Class
Leadership Training Class

A Class for Anyone and Everyone!

I had the privilege of getting to attend the Leadership Training Class with my husband in the Fall of 2014. We had only been married for a few months when we went through the training, and the conversations between us that the class sparked were such a blessing to our marriage. God… [more] August 1, 2016 | Anna Babin

Small Groups
Small Groups

Mixed Group
by Aaron Shaffer

My wife, Christen, and I have been married a little over a year now.  One of the things that was really important for us was getting into a couples’ small group.  We were really excited to be placed with some amazing couples—some of which we already knew, others… [more] August 1, 2016 | Southwood Members

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

The Work-Rest Rhythm

My childhood summers were spent largely at the baseball field; in fact, I may have done my summer reading with a ball in my hand and occasionally in the dugout! Most of those summer Saturdays consisted of three tournament games to be played under scorching sun with the infield dirt stuck to my… [more] June 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Would Daniel Boycott Target?
Would Daniel Boycott Target?

Would Daniel boycott Target? In light of current social media buzz about bathrooms and boycotts nearly every day lately, it’s an intriguing question, even if there’s no clear answer. As we’ve been studying through the book of Daniel on Sunday mornings, we’ve seen on the one hand a man willing to take a stand at great risk to himself but on… [more] June 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Jobs for Life: Getting Involved
Jobs for Life: Getting Involved

Jobs for Life is many things. It is a biblically based jobs preparedness program. It offers participants hope and dignity through a renewed understanding of work, and it offers the local church the opportunity to advocate for the jobless and underemployed in our community. However, the foundation of Jobs for Life is ultimately relationships.

[more] June 1, 2016 | Sarah Niemitz
Not My Agenda
Not My Agenda

Not My Agenda
Summer Sunday School, Our Cultural Landscape, and Life in Two Kingdoms

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“Did you see our neighbor’s yard sign?”
“I did!  How can she even think about voting for that candidate? … [more] June 1, 2016 | David Clark

The Ministry of Presence
The Ministry of Presence

The Ministry of Presence
Youth Summer Focus

High-Life as the youth ministry of Southwood, has a focus of students in Huntsville experiencing and expressing the grace of God.  One of the core values in the constant drive to that end is contact work. 

The idea of contact work is reflected in… [more] June 1, 2016 | Winnie Winford

Session Update
Session Update

As we head into the summer months, the Session is excited for some of the unique opportunities we have coming up to connect with each other and with our neighbors. Every member of the church family can be praying for and participating in events like the Church Family Lunch (Sunday, June 5), Vacation Bible School (June 13-16), and Ice Cream Sunday… [more] June 1, 2016 | Southwood Session

All That Is Fair: Equally Skilled
All That Is Fair: Equally Skilled

Jon Foreman is the lead singer for the band Switchfoot.  The members of the band are all Christians, but the band is not a ‘Christian’ band.  They thrive in the secular marketplace by means of conventional distribution channels.  I think this is a very good thing.  They are making music that the general culture cares… [more] June 1, 2016 | James Parker

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

Being a Family ... Together

This past weekend my family took advantage of a day off from school to drive up to Chattanooga for 36 hours. We walked around downtown together, enjoyed the hotel pool together, and even made a couple of tourist stops together. We had been talking of “needing” to make this trip happen… [more] May 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Partnership with Parents
Partnership with Parents

Every year when seniors graduate from Southwood and High-Life ministries, the High-Life staff and volunteers ask themselves, “Have we done enough?” It is easy to imagine parents asking themselves the same question as they send their students out of the home. “Did I tell them the gospel? Did I tell them I loved them? Did I tell them to wash… [more] May 1, 2016 | Winnie Winford

VBS Volunteers
VBS Volunteers

What It Means To Serve

Michael Moultrie
I love being part of VBS because it’s a wonderful experience to lead these kids, knowing that I was once in their shoes. Screaming, dancing, and going crazy all while praising Jesus in an awesome environment for the children is a blast. Last year, serving as a crew leader… [more] May 1, 2016 | Southwood Members

Session Update
Session Update

The Session rejoices in the addition of about 30 new members to our Southwood family! Don’t miss the opportunity to see God’s hand at work in these brothers and sisters recently received into membership. Some have just recently come to Christ, while others have known him all their lives. The group includes several covenant children of Southwood… [more] May 1, 2016 | Southwood Session

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

Is Easter Over Already?

I walked into the sanctuary Monday morning after Easter, and it felt very quiet and empty. The beautiful flowers and the cross were still there, but the lights were off, the steps were empty where there had been dozens of kids dressed in colorful clothes, and silence replaced the joyful songs of praise… [more] April 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Cross-less Christian Lives?
Cross-less Christian Lives?

No one commits to playing SEC football for the glory of February through July. There is much more pain in the weight room and sweat on the practice field during the offseason than there is the thrill of the Saturday afternoon game. But any coach will tell you that you won’t be lifting the national championship trophy at the end of the season if… [more] April 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Session Update
Session Update

Future Staffing

The Session is excited about the opportunities for kingdom ministry before us as a church. As we have prayed and planned, we want to build a pastoral team that works with our senior pastor to “equip the saints” for ministry. This means we particularly desire to continue the engagement and ownership within… [more] April 1, 2016 | Southwood Session

WorkDay 2016
WorkDay 2016

For the last several years, Southwood has enjoyed a Saturday morning of fellowship and serving together both on our campus and outside our walls. This year we had people cleaning nursery toys, praying through Lincoln Village, cleaning a yard with the CornerStone Initiative, and making fundraising bracelets for New Beginnings Academy. We do not offer… [more] April 1, 2016 | Sarah Niemitz

Sacrificial Ministry
Sacrificial Ministry

Doing ministry like Jesus did ministry means doing ministry that sacrifices.  It means ministry that has compassion, that is welcoming and meets us in our fear to draw us near to the cross and near to the safe refuge of the Father’s heart.

In the Bible, the apostle Paul encourages those who follow Jesus to be imitators of Christ—to… [more] April 1, 2016 | Winnie Winford

One-on-One
One-on-One

One-on-One: Take-aways from the Communicants Class

This spring we integrated parent & child time into our communicants class. What a blessing it is to watch parents and children dive into discussion of topics they just learned! As the church, it is a gift to come alongside parents who are the spiritual nurturers of their… [more] April 1, 2016 | Southwood Kids and Members

Calling All Brothers
Calling All Brothers

Calling All Brothers
Men Connecting in Small Groups

A piercing ring fills your bedroom as your eyes begin to unfold from a night of tossing and turning.  As the ringing of your alarm begins to fade, you manage to free yourself from the cocoon of blankets that kept your restless body from falling out of… [more] April 1, 2016 | Lane Polak

All That Is Fair: Nobody Wants To Work For It
All That Is Fair: Nobody Wants To Work For It

Everything happens so fast now, am I right?  When I watch TV, commercials are 15 seconds.  When I watch a Youtube video, I’m irritated if I can’t skip the add at the beginning after 5 seconds.  When I sit down at the computer, if the website I’m visiting takes more than 15 seconds to load I become outraged, shouting… [more] April 1, 2016 | James Parker

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

When “Thank You” Doesn’t Seem Sufficient Enough

Recently one of our elders asked me, “What can we be doing to help and love your family well during your transition to a new role?” As I tried to come up with a good answer, I was overwhelmed (I cry a lot more easily these days!), so full of joy and gratitude… [more] March 1, 2016 | Will Spink

All Things New
All Things New

There are loads of things in my life that fall in and out of use: clothes, shoes, book bags, tools, etc. Sometimes I discard them quite easily, and other times it’s difficult to let them go.  I use plastic bags when I go to the grocery store.  I know.  Don’t judge me!  I should be more environmentally conscious. … [more] March 1, 2016 | James Parker

What Does Easter Mean To You?
What Does Easter Mean To You?

We asked our kids what Easter meant to them. Here are a few of their responses:

Easter is about God dying on the cross and why He did it and eggs and bunnies.
—Brynna Turney

When we hunt for those eggs like we did last time. And God.
—Joe Clark

Resurrection.
—Clara… [more] March 1, 2016 | Southwood Kids

Ask A Pastor
Ask A Pastor

Q: If Jesus already defeated death in his resurrection on Easter, why bother?

A: I think of this classic question in terms of a sports analogy: If you knew before the big game that your team would win, would you seek to avoid playing in it or would you long to get in the game? I’ve always felt that I would… [more] March 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Tiny Dots
Tiny Dots

Have you ever stood in front of a pointillism painting by someone like Georges Seurat? A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte stands over 6 feet tall and 10 feet wide and shows people strolling and resting along a riverside. Crisp parasols and pleated skirts are made up entirely of tiny, individual dots of paint. 

[more] March 1, 2016 | Sarah Niemitz
Session Update
Session Update

At the annual congregational meeting in February, we celebrated together God’s gracious provision for Southwood during the past year. In 2015, our income exceeded our expenses by about $12,000—a great reminder of our daily dependence upon God. We also presented the 2016 budget, which is set at $1,918,404 and discussed the need for faithful giving… [more] March 1, 2016 | Southwood Session

All That Is Fair: I Miss Minnesota…
All That Is Fair: I Miss Minnesota…

Inside Out is the most recent creation to come from Disney’s Pixar animation studios.  Pixar has a reputation for producing the best original movies that also happen to be blockbusters.  The Toy Story franchise is a perfect example.  The three Toy Story films might be the best trilogy ever to come out… [more] March 1, 2016 | James Parker

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

Being “People People”

I sat in Staff Meeting this week and alternated between crying and laughing. We were sharing memories of working with Nancy McCreight during her last meeting before retiring to South Carolina to be with her parents. Several staff members talked about how much they would miss Nancy—her… [more] February 1, 2016 | Will Spink

Christian or Presbyterian?
Christian or Presbyterian?

When someone I have recently met finds out that I’m a pastor, the next question is often “What kind?” There are two good answers at that point—“Christian” and “Presbyterian”—and depending on the context and the questioner, one might be more helpful than the other. Thankfully, these two ways of identifying one’s self are not mutually… [more] February 1, 2016 | Will Spink

A Chance to Recharge
A Chance to Recharge

A chance to Recharge at the Southwood Women’s Retreat

When I go on a date with my husband, Brax, I really don’t like to go to the movies. Our lives are so busy! We have two kids who are involved in activities and require lots of attention. He has a job that sometimes involves travel and late nights. We have meetings… [more] February 1, 2016 | Kim Watkins

Knock It Down
Knock It Down

Knock It Down
Becoming New Again on Ash Wednesday

Every year that passes we go thru Christmas and then come back around to Easter, and then lather, rinse, repeat.  For Christians, this entire season is our New Year’s Day.  Our frailty resonates in winter with the infant in the manger.  Our… [more] February 1, 2016 | James Parker

Takeaways from Express Grace
Takeaways from Express Grace

Many of you were able to join us last month for our Express Grace Conference with Ray Cortese, and in particular for our Saturday night fellowship dinner and dessert with Southwood’s local mission partners. I was so encouraged by the fellowship that occurred over dinner, the gospel teaching from Ray Cortese, and the many conversations I witnessed… [more] February 1, 2016 | Sarah Niemitz

Session Update
Session Update

We are excited about the season God has us in as a church right now and are looking forward to sharing some of that encouragement with you at our Annual Congregational Meeting after the worship service on Sunday, February 7. We will get to rejoice together in God’s provision for his church both through people and through finances, so please join… [more] February 1, 2016 | Southwood Session

All That Is Fair: Win the Right to Be Heard
All That Is Fair: Win the Right to Be Heard

If you’ve grown up in Christian circles, no doubt the phrase “earn the right to be heard” has crossed your ears.  It is a well known mantra associated with a philosophy of ministry that is profoundly relational at its core.  Young Life is a good example of this kind of ministry.  YL was founded by a seminary student… [more] February 1, 2016 | James Parker

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

Of Old New Things and New Old Things

Happy New Year! I’m always a little excited at a new year and the opportunities it brings for a fresh start, for an evaluation of how life is going in a variety of areas, and for new ideas, commitments, and priorities to be embraced.

This year I’m particularly excited about the… [more] January 1, 2016 | Will Spink

The Gospel as the Power of God
The Gospel as the Power of God

We are excited to have Ray Cortese join us at Southwood for our Express Grace Conference this month. The following is an excerpt from a sermon Ray preached at the 2015 Liberate Conference. You can watch the full sermon at https://vimeo.com/122003691.

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[more] January 1, 2016 | Ray Cortese
Express Grace Conference 2016
Express Grace Conference 2016

I am not very good at setting New Year’s resolutions. The thought of committing to one or two changes for a year is overwhelming to me, so I usually end up making a list of 20 things and then never follow through with any of them. Anyone else know that feeling? Or maybe you are a New Year’s resolution pro! You look forward to making lists,… [more] January 1, 2016 | Sarah Niemitz

Celebrating with Nancy McCreight
Celebrating with Nancy McCreight

Celebrating 22 Years with Nancy McCreight!

Over 22 years Nancy McCreight has served the families and children of Southwood Presbyterian Church. She has seen this church through new buildings, staff changes, joyous times and hard times. Through it all she has seen God’s hand move, provide and care for His bride, the church.… [more] January 1, 2016 | Nancy McCreight

Search Committee Update
Search Committee Update

On Sunday, December 13, the Pastor Search Committee came before the congregation to recommend, both joyfully and unanimously, Rev. Will Spink to be Southwood’s new Senior Pastor. Their announcement was met with great joy by those in attendance that morning, and those who were able knelt in prayer for God’s continued provision for Southwood… [more] January 1, 2016 | Pastor Search Committee

All That Is Fair: Saving the Best for Last
All That Is Fair: Saving the Best for Last

What is it about narrative that resonates with human beings?  It could be that the use of narrative helps us remember things that are important.  Or it could be that narrative helps us understand complex ideas or gives us a means to explore difficult questions.  It could also be significant because it allows us to enter into its subject… [more] January 1, 2016 | James Parker

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

What Child Is This?

There is some mystery and excitement around the birth of any baby. Boy or Girl? What will the parents name the child? How will the child’s life go as he grows up? Whom will the child look like and act like? It is such a special day—and that new life is so special—that we celebrate the birthday every… [more] December 1, 2015 | Will Spink

The Word Became Flesh
The Word Became Flesh

The Humiliation of the Incarnation

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory…” (John 1:14). Take a moment to ponder the wonder, the miracle of the incarnation. The Word, whom John has told us was in the beginning and created all things, in whom was all life, takes on flesh. The glorious… [more] December 1, 2015 | Will Spink

Christmas Family Traditions
Christmas Family Traditions

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year; somehow mom and dad made sure we knew it.  The season began after thanksgiving with the ceremonious decorating of the Christmas tree.  We used the same 5’ tree every year, the same passed down ornaments we made in grade school, the same wooden stars that mom bought in a flower shop in… [more] December 1, 2015 | Nicole Lucas and Barbie Sumner (sisters)

Fa La Lodge: An Exegesis of a Yuletide Carol
Fa La Lodge: An Exegesis of a Yuletide Carol

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s… it’s… a Christmas variety show!?  Yes, it’s a Christmas show at the Lodge full of ballyhoo, shenanigans, and of course, merriment.  Fa La Lodge is actually one of the few things in life that cannot easily be misunderstood. It is exactly what it sounds like: an evening of Christmas music,… [more] December 1, 2015 | James Parker

Incarnational Ministry
Incarnational Ministry

Every Christmas we celebrate the incarnation of Christ—the wondrous fact that the king and creator of the universe would take on flesh and be born into a “low-income family,” live as a displaced refugee in Egypt, and eventually lay down His life on the cross. Christ’s earthly ministry was one of sacrifice. Isaiah describes Him as “a man… [more] December 1, 2015 | Sarah Niemitz

Session Update
Session Update

We recently had the privilege of welcoming 18 new members (many pictured below) into the Southwood family. One of our greatest joys as a Session is getting to hear their stories and rejoice with them in God’s work in their lives. It is exciting to see the range of ages and life situations God has brought us in this group, and we look forward to… [more] December 1, 2015 | Southwood Session

All That Is Fair: Surprise Ending
All That Is Fair: Surprise Ending

I love Christmas for many reasons. I like the cold, christmas lights, christmas music, presents, etc… But more than all of the peripheral christmas clamor, there is a fundamental aspect of the Christmas story that echoes through my core.  Even for those who don’t claim faith in Jesus, the story of his birth makes them hope and wish… [more] December 1, 2015 | James Parker

Pastor’s Note
Pastor’s Note

Cultivating Thanksgiving

I love the cool weather we’ve had lately. Seeing the multi-colored leaves is one of my favorite seasonal changes each year. And now that we’ve enjoyed “HeyDay,” I consider fall to be in full swing.

During the time the Bible was written and all the way up to recent decades, much of the… [more] November 1, 2015 | Will Spink

Building Relationships in Jobs for Life
Building Relationships in Jobs for Life

Our first Jobs for Life class is almost over already and it is hard to believe! There are so many things I could share from this class—relationships formed, burdens shared, jobs already found, and personalities coming through in beautiful ways! However, I thought you might like to hear from our friends on the front lines, those who have worked… [more] November 1, 2015 | Sarah Niemitz

Five Questions
Five Questions

1.) What led you to start Second Mile Development, Inc. in the Terry Heights Neighborhood?
Mary and I moved home to Huntsville from Nashville to restart Youth for Christ. In our evaluation, we were unsatisfied with the way we ministered to young people in need in Nashville. We built relationships with hundreds of troubled teens… [more] November 1, 2015 | Bill McDowell

Ask A Pastor
Ask A Pastor

Q: How will the recent political developments regarding same-sex marriage impact our religious liberty?

A: Things have been changing quickly in recent days with Supreme Court rulings, dozens of news reports on local cases, and a lot of political fanfare. I do expect that in time these decisions will impact… [more] November 1, 2015 | Will Spink

Search Committee Update
Search Committee Update

The Search Committee is giving monthly updates to the congregation. The following update reflects much of the content communicated during the worship service on November 1.

It is with much gratitude and appreciation for the congregation of Southwood that I write this. The past 10 months have been quite full for the committee. We have… [more] November 1, 2015 | Grace Crawford

Session Update
Session Update

As we near the conclusion of our first Jobs for Life class, the Session hopes you will join us in celebrating these students and God’s work through this class. The graduation itself will be Tuesday, November 10, and this is a great opportunity to honor the work the students have put in with the class this fall. Please also continue to pray for… [more] November 1, 2015 | Southwood Session

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