“Paul Richardson, Lead Pastor at Mariners, was in college the first time God used him to bring others to Christ. The new believers were 9 years old.
He recently had committed his life to serving Christ and had pledged to embrace the first service opportunity to come his way. It came in the mail. “They needed vacation Bible school helpers,” Paul recalled. “That was not the life-changing opportunity I had imagined, but I had made a commitment to God, so I called up the program director and said ‘Yes, I’ll help.’” He was assigned to lead a class of eight fourth-grade boys.
“I had no idea what I was doing but did what they told me. Thursday was the day the children were taught about Jesus in the large group gathering. Back in our small groups, we were to invite them to accept Christ,” Paul recalled. “After retelling the Jesus story, I hesitated then asked, ‘You don’t want to accept Christ, do you?’ I was afraid one of them would say ‘yes’ and I wouldn’t know what to do. But then I looked up as I led them in prayer and saw all eight kids praying to receive Christ. I remember telling myself, ‘This may be the first significant thing I’ve done in my life.’”
“God wants us to be a loving community of believers in Christ, serving his world. A healthy church will produce spiritually healthy people that will be involved in bringing others to Christ and addressing the needs of people in their community,” Paul explained. “I think our job here is to be the healthiest church we can be.
How New Wave Will Help
“The church building is a means, not an end. It’s a tool,” Paul said. “In order to grow the community of Christ followers on the Coastsideand serve our community, we need a comfortable, inviting place that can facilitate community and spiritual growth, a place for people to connect. Fellowship is very important for people because we don’t grow in isolation. They need a place to connect with other people. They need to know their kids are in a good, healthy place. They need a place to sit. They need bathrooms and access to the full facility. If they have a good experience, they are going to come back and hear the life-changing message of Jesus.”
by Dan Page, Volunteer Storyteller