Thank the Lord & Sing His Praise
Vine & Branches has engaged in public worship five years now. It seems like just yesterday that we dreamed of worshipping with families who didn’t have a church home. We envisioned a school filled with children and their families, curious about Jesus Christ. We imagined other community groups stepping into a church building for the first time and using our facilities for worthy causes. God answered our prayers and turned all these dreams into reality.
We prayed that God would send us families to baptize their children. Sunday after Sunday we witnessed families without a church home bring forth their children. Most recently, Tina, a single mom, was baptized along with her two small children. Another family attended our church for the first time and baptized their daughter a few Sundays later. This past summer, for three Sundays in a row, four children were baptized, two from the Child Development Center and two from the neighborhood. Our mission statement is simple and straight from God’s word: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We prayed that God would make us a baptizing church and God has answered our prayers.
The school rooms are filling up, with over 100 full time children now enrolled. For many weeks over the summer our school chapel has been the largest worship service held in the facility. Parents tell us about the stories their children bring home; stories about joy-filled days, singing songs about Jesus and praying at meals. The Holy Spirit is growing the faith in these young children. Our largest growth is occurring in our 3 and 4-year old age groups, which are beginning to form enrollment waiting lists. In a short time, we will have waiting lists in all of our age groups. We can envision a time in the not-so-distant future when a second building will be needed to meet the needs of our mission field.
Our youth are growing their faith and are being confirmed in the Lutheran church. We have celebrated confirmation seven times for 20 confirmands, where we heard wonderfully moving faith statements from these young adults. Sunday Spark is held every Sunday morning between services so that the children can attend worship with their parents. We encourage children to be present in the Services and make accommodations for their inclusion.
Adult Bible studies and Men’s and Ladies events have expanded our knowledge of the Bible and God’s word and strengthened friendships among our members.
Our building is the true community asset as we envisioned! In addition to our CDC children, we host Boy and Girl Scout events, and hold Counseling services and birthday parties, funerals, graduation parties, and weddings for our members. We use our church busses each week to transport community families to the Dulles Food Bank so they can pick up food. We collect donations for the Food Bank each week and give over 2000 pounds of food each year.
Who would have imagined so much could happen so quickly? God has truly brought His kingdom into this community and touched so many people with the Gospel. Everything we prayed for years ago has come to fruition. We are so thankful for all the gifts that God has given Vine and Branches. Hallelujah!
It is now tempting to idle. We feel the victory that God has won for us and for this community. We could easily pause, sit and enjoy the success that God has enabled, but wouldn’t that slow our progress? What will the next five years bring, and the years after that? What are the future possibilities of Vine & Branches Lutheran Church?
Over the next five years, we believe God is calling us to further expand our presence in this community. Perhaps we can double in size, move into additional phases of building construction, hire additional staff, such as an Associate Pastor, a Director of Christian Youth Education, or a church Administration Assistant, and reach capacity in our CDC. These expansions would enable a more robust ministry that reaches hundreds more people with God’s word of grace and mercy. We believe God is calling us to dream again.
Loudoun county is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation and people are coming here from all over the world. As in the past, we know that many challenges are ahead of us. Amidst the presence of sin, that is contrary and sometimes hostile to the Gospel, we know there are many around us who need help and are searching for a Savior. We pray that God will fill us with confidence and move us all to participate in this mission.
We are seeking to raise funds above and beyond regular giving of $700,000 over the next three years. By doing so, we stabilize our financial footing and prepare for the blessings that God has in store.
Stewardship is an opportunity to further God’s mission at Vine and Branches, and another way to worship and praise the Lord. Now is the time to thank the Lord for all the blessings and sing his praise. Now is the time to share our time, talents and resources and tell everyone what he has done.[EK3] We have a blessed history with shouts of thanksgiving and look forward too many new opportunities for the future.
We ask God to remove any stumbling blocks that would prevent us from stepping boldly forward. We pray that all Vine and Branches members and supporters will join us on this journey and take the next step.