Word From The Pastor
Church -- what comes to your mind when you think of the "church"? Unfriendly? Out-of-touch? Legalistic? Condemning? Let me tell you what comes to my mind -- family. Everyone is born into a family of some kind. Just like no two families are the same, no two churches are the same. Southside is a church where we really want to be family. Ever been to a family reunion? I have. Both of my parents had 11 siblings each. So, I have a lot of first cousins and second cousins and etc. My family reunions are large. I'll admit a secret to you. While I don't know all the names or even recognize all the faces of my second and third cousins, I know most of my first cousins and they know me. So, if I miss a reunion someone knows I was not there.
At Southside we want to grow larger and smaller at the same time in two primary ways. First, we want to grow larger in worship attendance and smaller in a network of Bible study groups. Since sociologists tell us that we cannot know any more than 11-12 people intimately at any given time, we attempt to help you feel as if you are part of something bigger than yourself -- worship -- and at the same time, like the Cheers TV show, there's a place where someone knows your name and knows if you missed the weekly family reunion.
Second, we want to grow larger in offering you multiple campuses (the main campus and the Blend campus) and smaller in that we keep the numbers smaller so that you don't feel as if you are just one drop of water in a vast ocean. So, if you miss the weekly family reunion someone notices both from the large family gathering as well as from your family Bible study group. Just like families are diverse, so is Southside. This is one of our strengths and each week we do in five ways: (1) We worship God because we love Him. (2) We share the good news of Jesus Christ with others. (3) We connect you to this family through meaningful relational groups. (4) We help you find the answer to this question, "What on earth am I here for?" and (5) To encourage leaders to fulfill their God-given destiny in the world.
At Southside, our vision is to reach as many people as possible for Jesus Christ. We are unapologetic about this. We believe that Jesus is "THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE" (John 14:6). That is our vision. As people come to Christ, our mission is to lead them to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. I can still remember my first Sunday as pastor of the Southside family -- August 15, 1999. Why have I stayed so long? Because I know that this family has my back. I know that this family will have your back too. I'll let you in on another little secret: we do not have any perfect people at Southside. What we do have are people being perfected -- that is -- becoming more and more like Jesus Christ every day of their lives. Jesus told us that being a part of His family required two things: (1) love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and, (2) loving others the way you want to be loved" (Matt. 22:37-39). Jesus said that you could sum up the entire Bible with those two commitments. If you are looking for a spiritual family that loves God and each other, a spiritual family where we trust God and each other to have our backs, then dive in. One last little secret -- there are no perfect churches because there are no perfect people. BUT, there are churches perfecting God's love of family in them. We're that family. Join our weekly reunions and you'll not only see that this is true, but you'll experience it too.