The Stories of Sharing Life (for that is what the message was all about!)
192 people came to Epic this Sunday. 60 were a part of 3 mission teams that came to serve and volunteer. That makes 132 San Franciscans, 23 of which were a part of Epic Kids.
Our new friends, Dan, Jen, and Marco came because they received a granola bar and an invite card a few days before the preview service. To their surprise, they met up with Mary, a friend of theirs and a friend of ours! Mary shares Alabama connections with us and graciously volunteered to help with Epic Kids check-in.
At least a dozen friends from the city who are connected at other churches/ministries came to show their support. Just making eye contact, receiving a head shake, or embracing with a hug, confirmed their encouragement.
Carol came at the very end and said she was grateful a church is nearby her apartment. Her husband handed her the invite he had received on the street and encouraged her to go. She hopes and prays her husband will join her for the next preview.
Eric, Joey, and Ian had agreed to greet at this first service. Eric, who is new to church, led the way in reaching out and welcoming those who came.
Tom, who is a part of our launch team, had to miss the service because of Little League, but was there through the entire setting up process.
Michelle, who is a part of our launch team, stepped right into Epic Kids and served greatly. She shared with me how well this had come together and how great everything looked. I expressed that she was a part of it all!
D. has lived in the city for over a year and hasn't found a church quite like the one she went to in Dallas. She told Ben that she felt at home at Epic.
Whitney and Jon who are new to the city and were very active in their home church in Michigan showed up with coffee for the set-up team at 6 am. They were amazing servants the whole day!
2 pastor's wives from 2 of our partnering CA churches came to work. They brought their kids along, leaving their husbands back at their home churches. Karen's church (Crossroads in Fremont) helped start Staci's church (South Bay in Santa Clara). This Sunday, both beautiful ladies were at Epic to help it get started.
3 UCSF Mission Bay students attended. Ben is privileged to enjoy coffee and lunch with a few of them this week. Some are interested in joining our launch team.
Two women wrote Ben emails before the preview service sharing their gratitude and perfect timing of receiving the postcard in the mail. Both attended. One commented after the service at how well prepared and thought out the service and set up was. She appreciated the warm welcome she received.
One person wrote on their comment card that they were interested in becoming a Christian.
The offering taken up at the end of the service was 100% given to Bessie Carmichael School in our neighborhood. Epic is proud to partner with this school to provide supplies for teachers who are otherwise using their own money. People gave generously.
Ben shared the story of Zacchaeus from the book of Luke. Zacchaeus not only didn't do life with others, but took life from others as he charged too much for taxes in his day. Obviously, he didn't have many friends. Zacchaeus became desperate as he climbed the tree to seek Jesus. The beautiful part of the story is that Jesus was seeking out Zacchaeus and is seeking us out today. We all have a little bit of Zacchaeus in us. Think about it...we don't teach our kids to be selfish! But a transformation took place in the life of Zacchaeus. Ben shared that he went from accruing wealth at the expense of others to serving others at the expense of himself. Ben challenged us that life is meant to be shared! How will I share my life with others this week!? For Sunday was so much fun in sharing life with new friends and starting a new church in this city!
These stories made possible by God's goodness!