7/26/2017 NEWS FROM THE SWEENEY FAMILY: Hey Real Life Family. This is Mike Sweeney writing to you. In case you have not heard yet I am stepping down from my position as youth leader and associate pastor at Real Life at the end of August 2017. My family has no plans to move and I have not accepted a position with another employer yet, but I will be pursuing employment wherever I can find it. It has been a wild ride the last five years and my time as a pastor at Real Life has been one of the deepest experiences of my life. I have learned what it means to belong to a family where God has abundantly cared for my family.
Though I am stepping away from paid vocational ministry in an established church I am not stepping away from ministry. My wife and I have become increasingly interested in discovering Christ centered community in our neighborhood, living at a slower pace, seeking to share our lives with those on our block by gathering to eat, sharing possessions, entering into deep friendship, etc. We have become acquainted with a way of doing church that requires a hyper mobility where we usually have to commute in a vehicle just to gather with other Christians and we are curious to experiment with alternative ways of gathering that embrace limitation and the simplicity of the presence of others. Basically, my transition out of my position is about reorienting our energy and focus on the place we live. I have had difficulty reconciling this neighborhood centric/communal living approach to church with my current role at Real Life in a logistical sense as well as a philosophical sense. The resulting confusion and disorientation within me has led to the decision to resign. I have had many challenging and helpful conversations with our shepherds regarding this and they have been there every step of the way to help guide me and listen to my heart. My wife and I are both eager to seek out training and equipping that will help us develop faithful presence and a humble posture toward our neighbors. We do not know where this rabbit hole will lead us and I am not very skilled at describing my affection for my neighborhood. All I know is that the love of Christ that I have and continue to receive at Real Life compels me to welcome my neighbor into my house and allow myself to be welcomed into theirs. I have had the deep privilege of being welcomed into the lives of dozens of teenagers through Real Life Youth and their all too common ache to belong and participate in deep community has opened my heart to a new and transformative way of living in our culture as a Christian leader.
Imagining this transition has been really difficult. I always thought I would be a pastor at Real Life forever. We love our church, we love the youth group. We will miss seeing everyone as often as my position has afforded me. Please know that so many of you have been integral in shaping the emerging call to this crazy mission of neighboring that our household is embracing. We will carry your stories, your hearts and your friendship with us. We plan to continue to attend at Real Life for the time being, but as we give ourselves away to our neighbors we may adopt a new faith community that meets in someone's home in our neighborhood or we may relocate to a different place altogether with a commitment to the neighborhood. We are hoping to use this next year to take a deep breath, experiment and pursue training once adequate employment is secured. Whoever is reading this I say to you: Thank you...Thank you for being my friend, for trusting me with your kids, for opening up to me, for showing up in my family's struggles, for guiding my bewildered millennial heart, for listening to me talk and talk and talk, for following my lead when I did not know where I was going, for giving me chance after chance and for embodying God's grace in your neighborhoods.
Grace and Peace be with you,
P.S. I would love to hang out sometime in August if you are free.
December 4th - First Sunday of each Month - We are starting to meet once a month. We are excited to start our Sunday nights with a time to refresh marriages. There will a short lesson and time to discuss the lesson with your spouse and with others. Child care will be provided. Come join us and have some time with spouse. If you have any questions call Mike Yunker 541-815-1068 or Kate Kinney 541-797-8108
November 11th - Aspiring Readers - Do you like to read? Here's a chance for you to read some great books and then discuss your findings with others. This group meets September thru May on the second Friday of the month at the church. 6:30-8:00pm. If you have any questions call Linda Brna at 541-678-3089.
November 13th - Ministry Leadership Meeting - This meeting is for the leaders of the different ministries at Real Life. After second service we will have lunch together, family members are welcome, and then discuss some business items. Please mark your calendars. We look forward to seeing you there. Questions call Mike Yunker 541-815-1068
Youth Group (6th-12th Grade) Meets Every Wednesday @ 6:30 pm at the Real Life Church. Meets in the youth room. Contact Mike Sweeney for more details 907-378-4497.
CHURCH VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR THE FOLLOWING:
Children's Ministry Sunday School is growing! If you want to offer to be an occasional assistant please let us know!
Door Greeters: prior to services, consider serving one or more times a month to met and greet. Sign up sheet on table by front door. Just arrive 15-20 minutes early and welcome the congregation in with bulletin hand out and writing a name tag for people. Great way to get to know people by name.
Nursery caregivers: Help is need either once or twice a month to care for babies and toddlers during 2nd service from about 9:30 am to 11:15 am.
Church Office help: Need someone to type in the prayer requests for the office to disperse to the prayer team. These could be inputted directly after 2nd service every Sunday or Monday mornings. If you can only help a once to twice a month, that would be terrific!
Communion plate preparer: Serve the Lord by offering to help one or more times a month. Can be done a day ahead to time at your convenience.
Please phone the church office at 541-312-8844 for more information on any of the above ways you can help the church.
Psalm Reader: Read a Psalm prior to services beginning. Contact Sue directly at 541-330-9060.
“The Giving Plate” is always in need of food items as they minister to an ever growing population of needy in our community. Please consider bringing some non-perishable food in our barrel in the donut room AT RLCC so we can help our community. Thank you in advance. Contact Debbie or Gary Kelso, 541-410-3621 if you are able to offer a monetary gift to support their expansion, and ministry. Their website is at: http://www.thegivingplate.org