This weekend hopes to be one of many firsts.
A couple raising a child with disabilities finds a loving, supportive community of other families just like them. A man who has questioned Christianity his whole life finds a group of others asking the same questions. A husband and wife in a hurting marriage find out they aren’t the only ones struggling to keep it together. A woman battling depression for decades finds a glimmer of hope. A family that has been coming to church for years finds a place to serve others.
Maybe one of these people is you. You have hurts, questions or longings, but are unsure where to start.
Starting Point at Southeast Christian Church is a great place to begin.
“I know that it’s easy at this church to kind of sit in the back where nobody knows if you’ve ever come or not, but we really want to challenge you to get engaged,” Southeast Senior Pastor Kyle Idleman said.
This weekend all seven Southeast campuses will host Starting Point, a brief, engaging class for anyone to learn more about how to get connected at Southeast.
Whether someone is brand new or has been attending Southeast for years, Starting Point is a great place to learn about groups, Bible studies, areas to serve and what Southeast believes as a church.
People who attend Starting Point have the opportunity to meet pastors and ministry leaders at their campus, as well as other people who are interested in getting connected.
Southeast is committed to help make connection as hassle-free as possible by providing childcare and a meal for those who attend Starting Point.
So many have already found their place at Southeast, and it all began by taking a next step and attending Starting Point.
Hungry for more
Southeast member Rene Schnurr had been coming to Southeast with her children and grandchildren for nearly two years before feeling the need to connect on a deeper level.
“My husband and I were going to another church, but started coming to Southeast because our son and daughter-in-law were members here, and we came so we could spend more time with our grandchildren,” Schnurr said.
Schnurr attended Starting Point last year, and began serving in the nursery during weekend worship and attending the Blankenbaker Campus Women’s Ministry group, Essentials—a year-long Bible study for women who are new to faith or have questions about their faith foundation.
Essentials was Schnurr’s first-ever Bible study.
“I had never studied the Bible before,” Schnurr said. “The more I read it, the more I wanted to read more. I would read a verse or two and want to know where they came from and why they were written that way. The Bible began to serve me, which helped me learn how to serve the Lord.”
As Schnurr studied, questions were raised. She would look to her Essentials group leader, Southeast member Candy Konkler, and her son for answers.
“I would call my son after Bible study, and we would talk through some tough issues that would come up,” Schnurr said.
In April, Schnurr, a retired teacher, lost a former student and family friend, Jay Dosker, a Marine Corps veteran, EMT and volunteer firefighter, who died in a car accident.
Shortly after his death, Schnurr visited Dosker’s mother, Lucy, and asked if they could pray together.
“It was the first time I had ever said anything like that out loud,” Schnurr said. “Seeing Lucy’s faith after losing her son made me realize where I was putting my strength and where my strength should come from—my faith.”
After praying with Lucy, Schnurr was filled with an excitement for her faith that she wanted to express to everyone.
“I came to Bible study and said, ‘I want to get baptized,’” she said.
Schnurr’s son baptized her the following week.
“My baptism was a culmination of everything God was doing in my life,” Schnurr said. “I still have questions, but I know that by faith, Jesus will give me strength and help me through them.”
Schnurr said that she still finds it hard to believe how easy it was to get connected.
“At first, I was scared by the enormity of the church,” she said. “But now I get to serve in a place where I’m needed and where my heart is served. I’ve found a group of women that I can grow in my knowledge of the Bible with and in my faith in Jesus, and I’m glad that there’s not just something for me, but something here for everyone.”
A place to land
Southeast member Cara Keller began coming to Southeast in the wake of one of the hardest trials of her life, the end of her marriage.
“Two friends who went to Southeast’s Crestwood Campus asked me to join them, and I found by going, that the Holy Spirit was moving in a way I hadn’t felt in a really long time,” Keller said.
Keller attended Starting Point the following week, where she was introduced to Crestwood Connections Pastor Scott Gordon.
“I met this very energetic pastor who was very connected and wanted to get to know you and your family,” she said. “I got to meet more people and then started going to a single moms’ small group. These women were loving, compassionate, accepting and understanding.”
Keller said that though she never thought she would become a single mom, the connections she made at Southeast helped sustain her faith in the storm.
“When you think everything is falling apart and your world is ‘tornadoing’ and spiraling, there is peace in the eye of the storm,” Keller said. “For me, coming to Southeast was like finding land. Even though the storm isn’t over right now, I know there’s light; it’s coming, and I’m being supported as I walk through it.”