• 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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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 up at the church building. But thankfully we are not the only family members our Father cares about on Mondays. Like a family who wakes up on Monday and heads to schools, jobs, errands, trips, and projects, Southwood scatters across Huntsville for the sake of the kingdom.

We talk often about being “in the community, for the community,” and that certainly includes our facilities, our worship services, and other large events. But primarily that means that the church moves into the community in hundreds of different ways. If you’re looking for Southwood on a Monday morning, don’t put 1000 Carl T. Jones Drive in your GPS. The Church has left the building.

The Southwood Staff got a glimpse of this reality recently as we spent part of a day on a staff retreat competing in a Southwood Scavenger HUNTsville (hey, it wouldn’t be a staff retreat without a corny name!). We split up into teams and drove all over town to find Southwood members, friends, and partners in their Monday morning environments.

We met new Southwood members, prayed for Huntsville in the City Council chambers, donned surgical gear in an unoccupied operating room, engaged construction workers on site, prayed with homebound widows on their front porch, and even interrupted students and teachers in the middle of class. We saw Southwood at the hospital, on the Arsenal, in white-collar offices, in poverty-stricken neighborhoods, at home, and on the go. What a beautiful picture we got to see!

We tasted only a small sample of all the ways God sends Southwood into the community for the sake of our city each day, and it still overwhelmed me. I praise God for all the organizations, systems, families, and teams you impact day in and day out – all the places of current or potential darkness where you get to carry the light of the Gospel of grace. And perhaps even more overwhelming, I began to consider the countless precious imagebearers of God you work with, lead, and serve each day – all the people whose eternal souls encounter Jesus, their eternal hope, when they engage with you on Monday morning.

This reality is one reason why we are so eager to “give you Jesus” every Sunday (and many times in between). The redemptive work of Jesus is what these dear people need in every heart and life, and you carry the presence of Jesus in you to them. The restorative work of Jesus is what our wonderful city needs in every neighborhood and office, and you carry the presence of Jesus in you to it.

I don’t know what Monday mornings feel like to you, but I hope you see yourself – or will begin to see yourself – as an ambassador for King Jesus sent out into the community wherever He has called you for the sake of the people and places you encounter. It’s why the 15 of us in the church building pray for Southwood on Monday mornings to be an expression of the grace of God all across Huntsville and beyond. 

I think our Heavenly Father loves “family dinners” on Sundays as much as we do, since He delights to feed, comfort, and equip his children. But I think He smiles at least as big on Monday mornings as He watches his children walk out the door and go where He has sent them. Perhaps the best part in his family, though? Wherever they go in the community, He always goes with them!