We thank God for the opportunities to create and develop a Christ-centered mission at Community First! Village. Here are 10 ways God has faithfully shown up to build the mission:
1. We planned and pulled off the first ever men's retreat (Walk to Siloam) at Camp Buckner, in February 2017. There were 55 men, both CF! residents and volunteers, at this incredibly transformative 3-day retreat. Two of our men were baptized! We are planning the Walk to Siloam for men again (February 1-4, 2018), and a similar 3-day retreat for the women of Community First! that we are calling the Walk to Samaria (February 22-25, 2018).
2. God has provided 1,555 volunteers (to date) to serve at Community First! with The Gathering. This number includes a significant amount of folks outside the faith. The consistent feedback: The Gathering is "a place where I sense the love of God and the care of Jesus."
3. Celebrated with 325 guests as part of our Easter Sunrise Service, including many who do not regularly attend a church and are not yet believers. The sunrise service on Easter continues to be a special tradition at CF! and we are looking forward to Easter Sunday on April 1, 2018.
4. Life Groups (small groups with a missional focus) started up in Spring 2017 as a follow up to our Easter service. We launched with five Life Groups and are asking God to raise up more facilitators and shepherds to multiply this vital ministry.
5. Strengthened The Gathering staff team by hiring a part-time ministry assistant (welcome, Jamie Hatcher) and are in the process of bringing on a lead worshipper.
6. The Lord has enabled The Gathering to invest $92,000 since our inception (March 2015) back into the life and ministry of CF! This includes the purchase of two RV's and audio/video components needed for the soon-to-be-opened sanctuary and hospitality center that we are calling "Unity Hall."
7. Collaborated with a ministry partner, Austin Ridge Bible Church, and distributed 82 backpacks filled with new school supplies to two area Manor ISD schools. Our friends from CF! personally delivered them. Awesome!
8. Hosted the first-ever wedding at Community First! Congratulations Kenneth and Angie!
9. The doors to "Unity Hall" will open in a few weeks, and this will be our permanent place of worship and community events, as well as the headquarters for Mobile Loaves & Fishes.
10. The current population at CF! is 183 neighbors. The hope is to have 250 disabled, chronically homeless brothers and sisters living in a safe, supportive, affordable and Christ-centered community. We are witnessing the miracle of transformation as our friends are lifted off the streets and settle into a community they can call home. Please take 2 minutes to watch JR's story below.