• 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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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 having good employees. Their overall purpose is to do the work of the company for the satisfaction of the customers, whether it is producing a particular product or providing a service. When the customers are satisfied, their number grows and the business is considered successful. In all of this, there is a very definite order. The employees’ purpose is to work to make the business successful in satisfying their customers and to keep them coming back. This is a reasonable and beneficial order—in the business world.

Unfortunately, this is how we often view the work of the church. The church as a whole is an organized “corporation” that is expected to provide a service. The clergy or church staff are hired to serve her customers, the church members and attendees. When the number of members grows and they are satisfied and happy, the church is viewed as a success. When the church corporation fails to provide adequate services or produces an inferior product, the customers simply look for a different brand, such as the church down the street. The church’s “product,” after all, should result in happy customers.

This order might work in business, but it is not meant for the church. A more biblical lens for the church is that of the military outpost of an invading occupying army. That outpost accomplishes many things. There the army can refresh its supplies, find rest and sustenance in a protected environment, develop strategy and plans, and receive training for its mission. The clergy or staff are the leadership whose calling is to make sure all these things happen for the readiness of the troops. They do help meet the needs of the troops, but only for the purpose of fulfilling the mission. That mission is to make the greatness of their King known and enjoyed by announcing and demonstrating His coming reign.

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11–12 (ESV)

This is where Express Grace comes in. We invest heavily in this conference because our whole purpose as a church is to better equip Southwood members to be the effective ambassadors of the Kingdom the King calls them to be. This conference provides multiple opportunities for vital training and equipping in how to engage our local community with the truth of the Gospel. It is designed also to help us refocus on what the Gospel is and the mission to which it calls us. You might not perceive your need for this training, but it is vital for you to experience all the good that our Glorious King has in store for us and then to express it to others.