WELLSPRING

SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP | 9 + 11 AM

Sharing Christ is for All of Us.

by Aaron Bolduc

So many of us want to share our faith with friends and family, yet we don’t.

For many, the practice of evangelism seems difficult, unnatural, and frightening. It doesn’t have to be this way!

Now we know we should share Christ, and many of us genuinely want to be able to. After all, the vision for Wellspring in particular is to “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ.” We can’t do that without being very clear what the Gospel is. But is there a way to share the Gospel with others in a natural, winsome way, and still be true to His message? That is exactly what we aspire to learn how to do in our Fluent Faith evangelism training class.

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For far too long the Gospel and the practice of evangelism has been turned into a needlessly complicated formula, an overly simplified suggestion, or a sales pitch only available to the boldest, most outgoing among us. In our previous Fluent Faith class, many from our Wellspring family have engaged with and learned the Gospel at a deeper level. It has also been satisfying to see many in our church realize that they can share Jesus in an engaging way that is natural to them.

So what is Fluent Faith? It is an evangelism training focused on equipping fellow believers to move beyond Gospel presentations, and learn to share the Gospel naturally in conversation. We do this by familiarizing people with the deep Gospel truths from God’s word that reinforce our faith.

We focus on teaching the message and not the method. This is the vital step that most evangelistic trainings miss.

The scripture is clear that while we all have one Savior, Jesus Christ, and one Gospel, we are all different and unique. So with this in mind, we train and equip each other to proclaim that one Gospel in those unique ways. This is how we become fluent in our faith. Are you able to effectively, naturally, and accurately share the gospel? If not, consider joining us in Fluent Faith in the future. The class is free, the information gained is priceless. All are invited.

Aaron Bolduc is the Associate Pastor of Wellspring Church

Five Invitations to Hold Church Leaders Accountable

It happens way too often. It seems like it's almost a weekly occurrence that news breaks about a pastor or other spiritual leader caught up in moral failure. Whether it's money, fame or power, pride has overtaken them and the one who is entrusted to be the shepherd is suddenly caught up in unrepentant sinful behavior. The slide into sinful entanglement never happens overnight. It’s almost always a process in which there is a lack of accountability.

Spiritual leaders are often not held accountable by others. An unbiblical sense of authority over their congregation or community falls over them, and they can even begin to believe they are immune to moral failure. Many spiritual leaders also adopt a spirit of superiority that does not allow for congregational accountability.

In Colossians 1:24-29, the apostle Paul reveals that his goal as a pastor is to present those whom God has placed him to shepherd as fully mature on the Day of the Lord. He further identifies 5 objectives he must meet in order to accomplish this purpose.

While the sermon provides a more complete context, I wanted to give a brief review to help us remember these five objectives in order that God would keep the staff and leadership at Wellspring accountable before the Lord. As a church family, we invite you to participate in this accountability as well, as we may develop blind spots that eventually lead to pride or ways that the enemy could distract us from the mission.

1. To strive for personal integrity and spiritual growth. (Colossians 1:24)

We will never be perfect people on this earth, but we must be striving for personal holiness and to eradicate sin in our lives. How could any pastor expect the same from the congregation if he is not living a life of Godly character and growing each day?

2. To represent servant leadership. (Colossians 1:25a)

There is no room for selfish ambition in the church. Our purpose as stated in our vision is to "Glorify God by Making Disciples for Jesus Christ." If we believe that somehow the congregation is in any way beneath us, or we are making disciples for ourselves, we must understand that God will not allow this attitude to continue for long before He corrects things.

 

3. To preach the whole word of God. (Colossians 1:25b)

We believe in the inerrancy and sufficiency of scripture, and we believe that it is entirely divinely inspired by God. Therefore we must not shy away from teaching passages that are difficult to read, to hear, or understand. A church body never matures if they only hear the same over-simplified stories time after time, and are never challenged with difficult truths.

 

4. To proclaim and glorify Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (Colossians 1:28a)

Any passage of scripture can be preached out of context, compartmentalized or manipulated to suit a certain point-of-view. We know that the entire Bible points to Christ, telling the story of God's redemptive plan culminating in the death, burial, resurrection and glorification of Christ. He is everything, and everything we do as a church must result in glorifying Christ and Christ alone.

 

5. To remain humble. (Colossians 1:29)
We must recognize that the power to accomplish anything comes directly from God's own desire to work His supernatural power in and through us. A person may have all the talent, vision and charisma in the world, but if they fall into the trap of self-glorification, God will not wait long before demonstrating that He will not share His glory with anyone.

“Success can go to my head, and will unless I remember that it is God who accomplished the work, that He can continue to do so without any help, and that He will be able to make out with other means whenever He cuts me down to size.” ~ Charles Spurgeon


With these five objectives in mind, please don't hesitate to reach out and contact us if you sense that we are slipping in any of these areas. We at Wellspring are a family. We are interconnected, depending on one another as the Body of Christ. Again, none of us are perfect, but all of us need to spur each other on towards the goal of perfection in Christ. A church that is united in this manner will be a force against the kingdom of darkness as we build God’s kingdom in this place. 

~Steve Gibson, Lead Pastor of Wellspring Church

Stories of Baptism

As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, we wanted to offer you an opportunity to come and be baptized and share your testimony of salvation during the worship. Do you identify with any of these incredible stories? Is God pulling at your heart to proclaim your salvation through him by being baptized? If so, or even if you’d just like some more information about baptism, click here.


SHAUNA THOMPSON

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I was born into a Christian home, so I gave my life to Christ at a young age. During middle school I was presented with many difficulties, but the Lord gave me hope and strength. I learned that God is with us all the time telling us to come to him, to trust him and to let him carry the weight of our sins and fears. Going into high school I knew that all I wanted was for my Lord and savior to be the center of my life and to sit on the throne of my heart. Over the course of the past few years my faith has really been challenged, but God was by my side through it all, even when I walked away. God has taken my broken heart and made it into something new, he made my pain and suffering into something beautiful that brings him glory. Every day God continues to shower his grace and mercy on me, pouring his love into me. As I read this next verse I just think about how Jesus displayed his love for us on the cross for all to see and here today I want to proclaim my love for him and be made new in his name.

“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” ~Luke 3:21-22


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JENNAH BOLKEMA

At a young age I placed my faith in Jesus Christ, but I didn't realize what meant to me until my family and I lost our house in a fire on Mother's Day of 2016, and then I was diagnosed with a lifelong disease called type 1 diabetes. That is when I realized that Jesus has the ultimate control of what goes on in my world and he will carry me through my life's trials. Some days I just struggle with my diabetes, those are the days I need to lean on Jesus' promises. Today I want to profess my faith and love for Jesus Christ.

One of my favorite verses is "though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you" Isaiah 54:10


SYLVIA VANDERJAGT

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My name is Sylvia VanderJagt and I am 16 years old. For the past few years, I have loved the thought of being baptized. I started attending Wellspring Church 10 months ago and I knew that it was the right place to begin following the steps of Christ. I have put all my faith in Jesus Christ because he has shown me nothing but good. Whenever I am struggling with something or am in a hard time, I know that God is always there showing me how to get through it. God has shown me that everything truly does happen for a reason and because of that, He has taken me away from the bad and has lead me to the good no matter what it might be. I am getting baptized today to follow the steps of Christ each and every day for the rest of my life and to remind everyone what Jesus did for us: Giving his own life away on the cross to pay for our sins and then rising from the dead three days later. Baptism will forever remind us that the old is gone and the new has come.


What about you? Are you ready to take that step? What has God carried you through? Have you ever shared your salvation story publicly? If you would like to be baptized on Easter, send us a note or fill out the form online!

Come to the Altar: Women's Prayer Workshop

On Friday evening, January 18, many women gathered in the AC for Come to the Altar, a time of focused prayer, fellowship, teaching and encouragement. We were praying God would be glorified and work in the hearts of all who attended, and we wanted to glorify Him by way of sharing a couple of testimonies from the evening. Will you praise God with us for the way He moved through prayer?

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“For me, Come to the Altar didn’t end up being so much about intentional prayer time. Instead I was made aware, through the love of the Spirit, of some pride and false assumptions I had in my own heart. I usually find organized group prayer to be uncomfortable and a little forced, so I walked into the event expecting something a bit pretentious and ‘showy.’ Throughout the night, I was humbled and encouraged as I saw Godly women with genuine hearts focusing their time in prayer and in fellowship; surrendering their lives to the Lord and lifting others up to Him both in prayer and in sisterly conversation. I left Come to the Altar feeling closer to the body of Christ and more in awe of Christ Himself.”  ~Abbie

“I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Come to the Altar gathering. I suppose I thought it was going to be geared toward people who were maybe new in their journey with the Lord and were unsure HOW to pray. It was some of that, but oh, so much more. From the encouragement Sara brought forth about the power of words based ON the Word of God, to the examples and encouragement Cheyenne reminded us of how praying scripture in any situation is very powerful, to the quiet time at each station to communicate with Him and the small booklets at each table.... all of it was so edifying. I also felt pampered by the setting, believe it or not! I loved it.”

For more information on the Women’s Ministry at Wellspring Church, please check our website or email women@wellspringcc.org.

"Instead of praying nervously, God gave me the courage to pray boldly."

On January 5th, our Tide (college and young adult) and UNITED (high school) groups headed into downtown Grand Rapids to share love with, listen to, provide physical needs and share the gospel with anyone who was in need. We asked Nate Van Cleave about his experience:

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Outside the Comfort Zone

When the opportunity to serve the church comes up, I usually will try to jump on it. I love to serve and I love talking to people. So why is it that I always feel so nervous when the opportunity to serve is through evangelism? 

How God Showed Up

God provided courage to me, and he also showed up in the way he led me to the people I He wanted me to talk to that day. They were kind and easy to talk to, and were the first people I met on an evangelism outreach who had ever asked me to pray for them. I wanted to just hug them for asking me, but they needed prayer, so I prayed with them. Instead of praying nervously, God gave me the courage to pray boldly and with love and compassion for those men. 

An Answer to Prayer

God answered my prayer for courage. He also knew in my heart that I needed to have a positive experience on this trip because I had been getting discouraged from previous outreaches that were kind of discouraging. Whether it was just outright rejection, or feeling like I was annoying people, my form of evangelism just hadn’t been working like I had hoped. So after this outreach I have this excitement and newfound peace in knowing God is with me when I’m obedient to Him and I share His love and His word with others. 

True Joy in Serving Others Together

I want to encourage everyone to participate in these outreaches whenever you can! The people that go (that I notice) have such joy about serving it makes my heart happy to see so many give up a Saturday afternoon to go evangelize to those who need Jesus. And it’s such a blessing to able to have community with other Christians in your church that you might not have even known before! 

Please continue to pray for the world of people who need Jesus as their Savior and for the college and youth ministries at Wellspring Church.

2019 Ice Camp was a Blast!

On January 4-6, students in 7th and 8th grades went to the Ice Camp Winter Retreat at Miracle Camp in Lawton, Michigan for a dynamic time of building relationships, worshiping God and having a great time together with the goal of encountering Jesus Christ in a personal and effectual way. Thank you for your prayers!

We wanted to share a couple of testimonies from a couple of the leaders on the trip!

“I had a great conversation with one of our girls after the worship session on Saturday night. She asked me how we know 100% that we are saved. After talking with her, she said that this weekend was the first time (since she gave her life to Christ at an early age) that she has felt the working of the Holy Spirit in her heart. How amazing to confirm to her that she was truly sealed with the Holy Spirit. What a joy to be a part of that with her.” — SABRINA

“What an incredible weekend it was! We had some really good conversations one on one about what it looks like to have your identity in Christ and not in the world. We talked about questions like ‘What does a Godly friend look like? Am I that kind of friend?’ One of the girls prayed and asked the Lord to give her a special Godly friend that she could walk through life with. God enabled me to deepen my relationships with these girls so that we could have Godly lifelong connections with each other. I’m so thankful for Wellspring and the work that is happening in our body of believers!” — EMILY

Thanks for your prayers Wellspring! If your student went on this trip, we encourage you to have a conversation with him or her about some of the concepts that were taught, the worship or the way they connected with God, the leaders, or each other. Please continue to pray for the Youth Ministry at Wellspring Church!

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Advent: Great Blessing to Great Proclamation

And here they were. About thirty days after Jesus’s birth, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to present Him to God as their first born. It was a part of the Jewish law passed down since the time of Moses.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the [nations],
and for glory to your people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. (Luke 2:25-33)

The angel announced Him. The shepherds praised Him. Mary and Joseph named Him. And now, Simeon proclaims God’s salvation. The God who saves, Jesus, is the good news of great joy. Just as the angel announced and Simeon proclaims, that good news is for all people. Even though we live in a world today where there are still nearly 1,000 ethnic groups who have never had contact with someone who could tell them the good news of great joy, we know one day they will hear. The Apostle John tells us,

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you [Jesus] to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Rev 5:9-10, emphasis added)

The blessing of Christmas is not about what happens Tuesday morning around the Christmas tree, even though the giving of gifts, the love we feel for our family and friends, the hope for peace, and the traditions we celebrate emanate from those magnificent events surrounding the birth of Jesus more than 2,000 years ago. The great blessing of the Christmas story is God invading human history as a precious baby to give Himself so that others could also see His salvation, just as Simeon. Then, just as Simeon, we have the privilege to proclaim it to every tribe, language, people, and nation.

­—Michael Cooper

Advent: Great Joy for a Great Many

by Michael Cooper

It is hard to imagine their situation. Nine months before, Mary was young, unmarried, and told she would become pregnant; an even greater miracle than what had happened with her relative Elizabeth. She learned from Gabriel that her baby would be great and would be called the Son of the Most High. He would reign from the throne of David over the house of Jacob, and His kingdom would have no end. Joseph was honorable yet perplexed when reassured by an angel in a dream that Mary’s pregnancy was by the Holy Spirit. They were both told to name the baby Jesus.

“And at the end of eight days, when He was circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.” (Luke 2:21)

The Apostle Peter tells us that there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). It is the name that is above every name and at the sound of that name, the Apostle Paul tells us, every knee will bow and tongue confess that He is Lord (Phil 2:9-10). His Hebrew name means “God saves” and it is that name, the one given to Him by Mary and Joseph, we proclaim around the world.

A recent convert from Islam shared,

“I understand that Jesus is the only way to go heaven and receive a blessing from God. I confessed my sins before God and I cry to Him for my sins. I have peace in my heart and understand that Jesus forgave my sins. I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord and decided to follow Him. I started to read my Bible regularly and pray to God. Now, I am sharing about God with other Muslims among our own people and through me many people accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord and are obeying the word of God. I want to give thanks to God that He has chosen me for His kingdom. I give all glory and honor to Jesus because He is my Lord whom I worship day and night. Jesus is my Heart. I love Jesus because He loved me first.”

A wonderful testimony of how God saves, yet, it is hard to imagine that there are still places on the planet that have never heard the name of Jesus. More than two millennia after the angelic announcement of good news of great joy that is for a great many, not all have heard. In 1900, there were only 880 million people who did not know the name of Jesus. Today, because of population growth, there are 2.1 billion who have never heard the name that Mary and Joseph gave their newborn baby. Even so, the proclamation of that name brings great joy for a great many. Now, it is for us to proclaim it to a great many more.

Remembering 2018, Looking with Hope to 2019

The evening of Sunday the 16th is going to be a great time. It’s a time where we will stand up together as a family and proclaim the faithfulness of God as a church body and remember His goodness and His work in 2018.

How did God work in your life in 2018? What victories and joys do you recall? How did God provide in a miraculous way? What new friendships and relationships did God provide to you?

Maybe it wasn’t such a fun and carefree year. Maybe your 2018 contained struggle or deep heartache. Maybe there was a loss of a loved one. Perhaps 2018 was a year through which you were only able to endure by the grace and strength of God.

Maybe 2018 was the year of great breakthrough. Maybe you saw the fulfillment of a promise or the answer to long time of prayer. Again, these joys are only by God’s grace.

Let’s mark 2018. Let’s remember God’s faithfulness as we go forward with our eyes fixed on Him.

Romans 8: 38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You are invited to join us on Sunday the 16th for our annual meeting. We will celebrate with carols, cookies, cocoa and worship, and we want you to be a part of it!

Advent: Great Joy Gives Great Praise

Joseph and his betrothed, Mary, arrived in Bethlehem some time before Jesus’s birth. They traveled the eight-day journey along the Jordan River from Nazareth most likely with a caravan as there were always dangers along those roads. Luke tells us that once they arrived in the city of their ancestors, they could not find a room. So, other accommodations were made to provide for an obviously pregnant relative. Then, He was born.

We tend to add more to the Christmas story like Mary traveling on a donkey, although it is hard to imagine a pregnant woman on the back of a beast of burden for eight days. Or, the birth occurring in a stable, even though stables were not in use in Palestine at the time. We add the inn keeper who said there were no vacancies, although inns would not have been in a city such as Bethlehem and Luke’s account never even mentions an inn keeper. We even add a cold December night to the birth though shepherds would hardly be keeping watch of sheep outside in winter. These things add color to the story of Jesus’s birth although they are not mentioned in Scripture.

Erwin Lutzer, former pastor of Moody Bible Church in Chicago, once said something to the effect that there would be no cross if there were not a cradle. True. Yet, while there is a certain cuteness to the image of a cradle surrounded by animals with Mary and Joseph kneeling on a bed of straw in a stable gazing at their new born Son under the glow of a star as shepherds and three wise men arrive with gifts, the actual story is much more profound.

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:15-20)

Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

The shepherds great fear had been turned to great joy and their great joy would turn to great praise. So, they go “with haste” to find what they had heard from the angel. Christ the Lord was indeed born! And there He was, exactly like the angel had announced.

The color we sometimes add to the story of the birth of our Savior can distract us from what Scripture says: the shepherds found Jesus just as they had been told. What the angel announced was indeed true! Christ had come! A Savior was born! We have no idea how many babies had been born in Bethlehem at this time or on this day, but His was different. He alone was lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling cloth. And if this were true, as the shepherds experienced, then he must be the Savior. Just as in the field after the angelic announcement when the chorus sang, “Glory to God in the highest,” so now, the shepherds, departing from the child, sang their praise. It was all about God’s glory! The great giver gave a great gift that brought great joy and resulted in great praise.

So, here’s a question for the season. What would happen if we genuinely understood that Christmas was about God’s glory? How would that change our lives? It changed the shepherds. Their great joy gave God great praise and they told everyone about their awesome experience. 

Advent: From Great Fear to Great Joy

December is a great time of year. Children are getting excited about Christmas. Parents are frantically looking for the best shopping deals for gifts. College students cannot wait for the final exams to be complete. Families are scouring for the best Christmas tree. And in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, we are reminded that Jesus was born.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8-14)

That first Christmas must have been incredible. It was an announcement like no other to a group of people who were of no consequence. I’m not sure what great fear feels like, but it had to be intense. Here was a group of shepherds with their sheep at night; a pitch-black darkness that would have been illumined only by the stars. The shepherds, ever so vigilant and constantly on alert from all sides, would have no doubt encountered fierce wolves who would surround their prey in the cover of darkness. With courage and bravery, they successfully thwarted many attacks by these predators.

On this night, however, they were filled with great fear like nothing they had ever experienced. Heaven had opened up to the shepherds. They were all at once surrounded! But, not by wolves. It was the glory of God himself, shining down on them with the announcement of good news for all people. It was the ultimate Christmas gift, delivered in the most awesome manner and it would change their great fear into great joy.

After more than 2,000 years, that good news is still being delivered here and around the world. Sometimes I hear stories of the gospel coming to Muslims and Hindus through the announcement of a messenger in a dream or vision. More often, the gospel is shared through personal testimonies of faithful saints, like you and me, who have experienced the great joy of the Savior. And, it always brings God glory when the gift is shared with others. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, the story of the shepherds reminds us to be aware that there are people we will encounter at work, in our neighborhoods, on the bus, or at the shopping mall who might be overwhelmed with great fear but ready to hear the good news of great joy that is for them.

­—Michael Cooper