I am very excited to announce we have four individuals within Hawthorne Assembly who are working on receiving their credentials through the Assemblies of God. Throughout the next 12 months, you will see these individuals being more and more involved with Sunday morning services, Sunday school, and different activities throughout the week which require some level of leadership. This is a very exciting time for our congregation. Church growth usually involves contemplating and strategizing how we can get more people into our local fellowship. Last Sunday we had about 125 worshipers for Easter. I was very pleased with the attendance and the overall atmosphere of the entire day. Here is one specific observation about the morning; breakfast was a very nice event with positive results. One reason for the success is the number of families participating by bringing a variety of tasty dishes to share. All these kind of touches are done so that one day, all 175 chairs will be filled, and if the first time is 12 months from now, I can’t wait for Easter 2020 to come! Just imagine having to bring in extra chairs so everyone can have a seat. By now you know my mindset is to do all kinds of outreach so we can introduce as many people as possible to the gospel, and ultimately to a personal relationship with Jesus. The typical process for growing a church numerically and spiritually is by adding new people, especially new converts. Every church would love to have regular addition/multiplication because of new converts or new attenders. This is what we are taught to believe for and expect! Yet, I’m here to challenge that thinking and to say one of the secrets of growth is actually when we give things away. The scripture says. “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” John 12:24 NLT. What a beautiful passage which relates to the Easter season, and it fits perfectly into our on-going mission of growth; adding more and more to the kingdom of God. An earthly illustration of why we plant seeds into new locations is for growing a greater harvest. Most “seed” farmers keep a few seeds for themselves, but the majority of their seeds are sold or given away so others will benefit. Yet the beauty of giving things away in the kingdom of God is, God recognizes our generosity, and then He trusts us with even more. So, back to my original opening thoughts about the four individuals training and developing here at Hawthorne Assembly to one day be leaders in their own congregation or unique ministry. I’m just like any other pastor; I don’t want to lose anyone, especially quality individuals. Yet, this is what we as a church should not only expect, but be excited that God is doing things with individuals in our congregation. Ultimately, all of us should rejoice because the harvest is increasing. We hear about overseas fellowships multiplying so rapidly (like many of the churches in India I have visited). Obviously, those churches are 20-40 people, because part of the dynamic in Third World countries is limited transportation. One cannot travel 20 miles to church and return home in the same day. Can you imagine walking 20 miles to church? Healthy individuals can go about 4 miles an hour, so that’s five hours one-way! I would want to find a church much closer than five hours from my home. We are so blessed to live in America, where we enjoy modern transportation; still, most people don’t travel over 30 minutes to attend church. Perhaps now you see why I’m looking forward to Iron River, and other communities, where God tells us to start a new work.