Summer Is Here

School is out, temperatures are rising, and our ABC Kids are gone to camp this week.  It is safe to say that summer has officially arrived.  We have big plans this summer at ABC, and this Sunday you will receive a hard copy of our summer calendar to share all the details.  You will find dates for our upcoming Creative Arts Camp for kids, Beach Camp for teenagers, and of course our annual Vacation Bible School outreach for the whole community.  We’ve got plans for mission trips, Bible studies, and fireworks at our 2nd annual Freedom Over Austin event.  There will be things going on virtually every week all summer long, but the party officially begins this Sunday.

This Sunday is themed as our “Summer Kick Off Party.”  We will be enjoying a day filled with fun and fellowship to commemorate the start to this exciting season.  All children and students will move up to their new grade level classes, and everyone is encouraged to wear Hawaiian shirts to get in on the fun.  Following the BFG hour, we will be serving hamburgers and hot dogs for those who attend the first service, and we’ll have a second wave of food served at 12:15pm for those who attend the second service.  There will be snow cones and inflatables for the kids and classic cars for everyone to enjoy.  It will be an exciting day, and I encourage you to join us for all of it.  If you haven’t already done so, please purchase your $5 meal ticket HERE.  I even encourage you to buy a few extra tickets and invite some guests to come join you for church and the party afterwards.

I think it is important for a church to have fun together.  Scripture tells us “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:1-2a).  Every weekend, we should come to church with gladness in our hearts.  Each Sunday offers another opportunity for us to worship and lift up the name of Jesus Christ with our brothers and sisters who share that same joy that can only come from the Holy Spirit’s presence.  I believe it is fun to be in the house of the Lord, and it is our joy to worship Him and spend time with His people.  I hope you take advantage of our summer calendar and look for opportunities to connect and build community.  But also look for opportunities to invite others to come experience that joy with you.  It will be a great summer at ABC, so don’t miss the kickoff this weekend.

On a side note, I did want to give an update on something else coming up this summer.  Last week, I was accepted into the Doctor of Ministry program at Gateway Seminary in California, and I will begin pursuing my doctorate on July 5th.  I’m excited to begin this new three-year journey at the SBC’s west coast seminary.  With that in mind, I wanted to hopefully answer a few questions you may have.  First of all, I’m not moving to California 🙂 .  I will have to go to California once or twice a year for a few days, but the majority of my work will be done via correspondence from Austin.  Secondly, I wanted to answer the question, “why Gateway?”.  I studied the Doctor of Ministry programs at all six SBC seminaries, and I was drawn to Gateway’s unique cohort model as I think it will be the best fit for me.  Additionally, Gateway is known by many as the SBC’s leading missions and evangelism seminary.  These ministry areas are near to my heart, and I’m looking forward to learning from their expertise.   As we all know, Austin is becoming increasingly west coast in its culture due to the many businesses and professionals that are constantly relocating to the Austin area.  I think it will benefit me to learn from Gateway’s leaders, as they have been contextualizing the Gospel in that same kind of environment for decades.  Lastly, I chose Gateway because I was honored to be invited into the executive leadership cohort led by the seminary’s President.  I’m looking forward to being sharpened and mentored by one of our convention’s greatest leaders, Dr. Jeff Iorg.

Thank you in advance for praying for me and my family as I begin spinning another big plate, along with all my regular church and family responsibilities.  I know it will be hard work, but I do believe it will be rewarding work.  My prayer is that God will grow and further develop me as a Christian, a husband and father, and as your Pastor and leader for the years to come.  Thank you for your love and support, and I’m looking forward to seeing you this weekend in your finest Hawaiian shirt.

Onward and upward,

Jonathan Spencer

Last Sunday’s Message: “Where do we go from here?” Psalm 37:1-3

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