• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Rita Clardy
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Assistant Pastor, Discipleship
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Winnie Winford
    High-Life Assistant Director
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
    High-Life/Children
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director of Children's Ministry
  • Sarah Niemitz
    Director of Community Development/Assimilation
  • Janice Crowson
    Director of Facilities/Office
  • General Contact
    For all other purposes
 
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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 His Church, and He is committed to working in and through her to bring His Kingdom and His glory. 

There is a lot of cynicism around organized religion, and churches (Southwood included) are full of sinners and therefore sin! However, God’s word is clear: the Church is the bride of Christ and, because of His commitment to her, God has made her an integral part of His kingdom. When we see poverty ultimately rooted in broken relationships, we see why the little “c” church (all of which make up the big “C” Church) is so vital! The authors of When Helping Hurts have defined poverty alleviation as “the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, themselves, others, and the rest of creation” (WHH p78).

There are so many incredible opportunities in Huntsville, not to mention around the world, to participate in this ministry of reconciliation. Consider orphan care, financial literacy, job training, tutoring — the list is long. God cares about every one of those facets of poverty alleviation, and He calls His people to engage meaningfully with His kingdom in those places. This is why Southwood engages corporately with Jobs For Life, Lincoln Village Ministry, Reaching Indians Ministry International, and many others.

But dear church, you are not relegated to simply funding the more important ministry of others; your particular role is critical. You have been entrusted with the proclamation of the gospel, and you have been called to build a community that reflects the good news of the gospel you preach! When you collaborate with others, you bring a unique gift. You offer a network of support, a body where it is safe for someone to fall apart because there are many to lift them up. You offer the lonely eternal belonging in Christ and tangible belonging to a local body. You offer the materially poor eternal riches in Christ and tangible care for immediate physical needs. Our non-profit friends and local organizations do not need the church to be more like them; they need (and our neighbors need) the church to be the church!

Dear Southwood, I love being part of the kingdom with you! I am leaving my job, but I am not leaving my church. I have watched God do an incredible work over six years, humbling us and teaching us what it means to receive His grace and share it with others in ways that bring healing, not hurt. I cannot wait to dive even deeper into what it means to love our neighbors as we grow in grace together.