• 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
  • 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
  • Daniel Brown
    Print & Digital Media Specialist
  • General Contact
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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 since we had cancelled it twice in the previous month. In reality, though, there was nothing particular about Chattanooga that we “needed;” what we needed was the “together” part. Chattanooga was an excuse to relax and connect with each other.

Families need times like that, don’t we? We need those days or weekends or even meals where we can just relax and enjoy connecting with each other. Sometimes it’s just the five of us, while other times everyone invites a friend. Sometimes there’s something we’re seeking to accomplish together, while other times “together” is what we’re seeking to accomplish.

Church families need times like that, too. We need to connect with each other because we’re a family, and so we need each other. We need to connect with each other because God has called us to be on his mission together, and so we need each other. Like any other family, we need to make a priority of getting to know each other better, of talking together about the things that really matter, and of making memories together.

In the Southwood family, we have a built-in weekly gathering where we connect broadly with each other. You’ll notice in this issue of BRANCHES ways we connect with each other throughout the year while serving our community or each other’s children. Summer gives us particular opportunities to connect with each other during a season with a different schedule to it.

Vacation Bible School (VBS) is one of the most exciting (and exhausting) weeks of the year for our church family. It’s a week where hundreds of us gather to show our kids and the children of Huntsville the love of Jesus and the joy of a church family. But it’s not merely about the kids—adult volunteers get to serve together, snack together, pray together, and play together in a context where many have made connections that have turned into lifelong friendships. Mark June 13-16 on your calendars and come enjoy being together!

Especially in families the size of Southwood, you do need to schedule intentionally and plan to be together. So, mark two particular Sundays this summer on your calendars as well: June 5 and July 10. This is not the official name, but these are low-pressure, casual, relaxed, non-agenda (did I cover it?) excuses to be together and connect with each other.

More details will follow on each of these church-wide gatherings, but June 5 will involve hanging around for lunch after the worship service to eat and chat together—indoor/outdoor, weather permitting. July 10 we will enjoy “Ice Cream Sunday,” and we will gather in the evening with homemade ice cream and all the toppings you can handle. This is one of those family events intentionally designed for everybody to “bring a friend” and enjoy some non-programmed time together.

I have done some extensive investigating and am convinced I cannot make a case that we all “need” ice cream. I am convinced, though, that we need the “together” part. We need each other and need to be together forging relationships that help us experience the fullness of the life God has created us for and help us stand strong when we face the fiery furnaces of life. I need you. We need us. For the sake of the kingdom, let’s be a family.