• 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: 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 for that he constantly gives thanks.

Just considering that reality has caused me to realize afresh how thankful I am to God for the Southwood Family – and that now seemed a good time to share a bit of that heart with you. There are many more things for which I am thankful than I can include here, but here are some places I see God at work in this season for which I give thanks.

I’m thankful that Southwood is a multi-generational family. What a gift it is to have older widows and homebound members who pray for me and us! I rejoice in particular for how Marie Hill, Mark and Laura Wolfson, our deacons, and many of you are connecting with our homebound members – a blessing in both directions, to be sure!

On the younger side of things, your love for the littlest among us is palpable. Nearly every month brings multiple new babies to our church family, and you support and encourage each other so well in these seasons. Beyond that, you care for foster children and adopt other little ones in a way that shares the heart of God with those precious to Him.

I praise God for the influx of college students we’ve seen over the last couple of years. With hardly any intentionality on our end, God has brought young people to us not merely for us to love but particularly to inject energy and gospel joy into our community in a fresh way. We learn from them, and they learn with us how to be a part of a church family.

The work of the gospel in our midst is evident in your generous spirits, your welcoming attitude toward newcomers even when they’re different from you, your passion in prayer, and your servant spirit when help is needed. Those kingdom realities come only from the Spirit, and they’re present here in ways that deeply encourage me.

I’m thankful for the work of both our missions teams, particularly how our Community Development Team is working to stretch us toward gospel-driven relationships and justice in our communities. Our Express Grace Conference, the upcoming Mercy Conference, and discussions with Robert Blevins and Lance Cooper are helping us engage a big and difficult challenge one step and one person at a time.

Our women are using their gifts in more ways than ever in our body, and many are being equipped to lead in their own communities, alongside our elders and deacons, and in the broader church. While we still have room to grow, I’m so encouraged by the conversations we’re having together and the path we are on already!

I rejoice in seeing an increased commitment to carrying each other’s burdens. Every week, it seems, I hear stories of people from a small group or a connect community coming alongside a brother or sister in a difficult situation. Spouses are fighting to forgive and heal in the midst of traumatic relational pain; parents are crying together over challenges with kids; 8-year-olds are praying for each other after sharing needs. Sharing struggles with each other, not leaving anyone alone, and pointing each other to Jesus are signs of the Spirit’s work that are great cause for praise.

Finally, for me personally, I’m thankful the Southwood Family is a gracious community toward her pastors. I thank God for putting me and my family in a place where I can share (even from the pulpit!) about a season where I’m more overwhelmed than usual, and I’m not attacked or critiqued. In fact, quite the opposite: you pray for me, you encourage me, you remind me of Jesus and our shared need for and hope in Him. So, I do thank my God for “your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.” And I thought you should know that. Love you, Southwood!