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     It’s hard to believe, but the 2016-17 ministry year is almost over, schools all across the country are preparing for their yearly hibernation, and summer is about to reclaim its status as king of the seasons! Which leaves us with only one question… Where has the time gone? But before we rush headlong into the summer sun I want to take a minute and look back at this past year, because there is truly so much to be thankful for! And first and foremost, we are thankful for you! Your investment into the ministries of Rush Creek are what make everything we do possible. From your time, to your finances, to your prayers, without you we are nothing! So thank you for being a part of Rush Creek, and thank you for joining us in so many incredible and different ways!

     The ministry year 2016-17 was overflowing with things to look back on! Beginning way back in September of last year and moving all the way to Easter we were blessed with sermon series on James (Act Like It), Bold Thanksgiving, and Living Ink. Pastor John encouraged us, inspired us, and most of all challenged us through his preaching of God’s Word and his desire to see the Holy Spirit imprint itself on our hearts. We had our annual Home Missions conference (Time to Act) and our Foreign Missions Conference (Available!), both of which emphasized the need for God’s people to engage with the world around them for the sake of God’s eternal kingdom!

     This past year also saw the transition of two very important ministries as Gloria Velting resigned from doing the Prayer Line and Diane VanderGiessen resigned from leading the Funeral Luncheon ministry. We are so grateful for their years of service in those ministries, and we are also thankful that God saw fit to raise up Sharon Gamble to continue the Prayer Line and a team of ladies to carry on the Funeral Luncheon ministry!

     Ministry year 2016-17 saw the Lord continuing to provide for many of our ministries. In Drop Zone we had even greater Adult leader engagement and support that truly provided a safe and healthy environment for our Drop Zone kids to build relationships. Our Servant Leadership training program saw continued growth and was even adapted from being primarily student-focused to now having an adult program as well. New relationships with an organization called Leader Treks has enabled our youth to engage in mission trips to Kentucky in 2016 and to Chicago later this summer that have truly brought a sense of unity to many in our youth programs!

     God was also faithful in opening the doors to new ministry opportunities as well. This past year Rush Creek kicked off our first session of Divorce Care and Divorce Care for Kids, a support group for those dealing with the devastating effects of divorce; Men’s Fraternity, a study group for men on the meaning of manhood; Rush Creek 101, a Second Hour class that introduces new attenders and members to who we are as Rush Creek; a trip to Cameroon to share the joys of KidsGames and a partnership moving forward; The Connection Committee, in an effort to better engage new visitors to Rush Creek, and draw our current attenders into deeper relationships with one another in a way that evidences our mission; A new drama troupe named “Resurrect,” that has already brought an enhanced level of drama and acting to our worship services; And the combination of a new Rush Creek Bible Church app and a new mobile giving platform called PushPay to make it even easier to engage with Rush Creek digitally.

     But maybe the most exciting thing from 2016-17 is the foundation that was laid by the Pastoral Leadership, the Rush Creek Board, and Elevate Studios to envision the expansion of ministry at Rush Creek. From this vision, you the congregation voted to continue pursuing what it would take to make the vision a reality, and we are excited to continue that process. And so we ask for your continued prayer as we move forward with Elevate Studios and now the Breton Group to ensure that we can truly be good stewards of all that with which the Lord has blessed us!

     Thus, we look forward to this summer, and ministry year 2017-18, praying that we as Rush Creek can truly impact the Byron Center community and the world for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! We hope you will join us on this journey, and we look forward to how our mighty God can use each and every one of us in His perfect plan!