By Bobbie Pendland, member of New Life Baptist Church, Phoenix –
What a rejuvenating blessing it was to attend Revitalize West 2018 at First Southern, Avondale, on Aug. 24-25! Our team members were refreshed, enriched and filled with excitement, ready to put what we learned to good use at our home, New Life Baptist Church.
On Friday night, I was uplifted by speaker Karl Vaters’ message in the general session emphasizing a church doesn’t have to be huge to be effective and impact the community; it just has to be Christ-centered and healthy.
In the breakout session “First Impressions: From the Street to the Seat,” we gleaned all kinds of great take-aways for making our church more welcoming. We learned about simple things, like a fresh coat of paint, clear signage, and well-stocked restrooms. We also learned about more in-depth things, like having an online presence in this digital age.
On Saturday, the general session was again uplifting and informative as Terry Rials equipped us with some of the basics of revitalization.
I was delighted to have another session with Terri Durham, titled “Social Media 101,” which was a great companion to her “First Impressions” session. I learned so much about not only having an effective church website but also an active presence on social media. I’m pleased to say that our church now has a website and a Facebook page!
Another breakout session on Saturday was “Creating an Evangelistic Culture.” George Lyman and Eddy Pearson shared anecdotes about unique and creative ways they have reached out into their communities and how they’ve encouraged churches to try new ministries. My favorite take-away from this session was the presentation about the website BlessEveryHome.com, a tool to get to know our neighbors, pray for them, and even minister to them. I’ve signed up personally and have been tasked with looking into signing up our church. I’m really excited about the possibilities!
Our group came away full of ideas and the tools to implement them. In the time since then, we have created a Revitalize Team and have begun making changes. I can’t express how much we appreciate Revitalize West 2018, the people who made it happen, and the giving of Arizona Southern Baptists through the Cooperative Program, which funded the event.
Seeing God working in everything – from the hand-raising, foot-stomping praise music, to the Spirit-led speakers and teaching, all the way to the people who provided food, made coffee, set up and then cleaned up – truly was a blessing!