Ever wondered what happens at our summer Celebrations? Every year, Confluence churches gather for these regional events at multiple locations. We worship together, learn together, and generally have a great time. Below, we’re sharing reports from Brice Fogle and Wes Swarthout about Celebration events in the Southeast and Northwest. They highlight some of our favorite things about these gatherings: a renewed sense of being together on mission, opportunities to build relationships, and prophetic direction for the future. Check out their summaries below, and stay tuned for more dates and details about upcoming Celebration events.
by Brice Fogle
With the fourth year of Celebration Southeast complete, it feels like each year has been a leap forward in momentum and vision. We had the privilege of welcoming Scott Marques, who leads Disciple Nations in Southeastern Africa, Tom Shaw who is planting a church in San Francisco, and perennial favorites, John and Linda Lanferman. Going into the weekend, there was a strong sense of anticipation among our churches. We recently sent a team of 26 people to Mozambique to learn about the Kingdom work happening there. We knew that this year, we would have the opportunity to give toward the construction of a high school in Mozambique and to the San Francisco church plant.
Scott really challenged us with the messages entitled “Celebrate the King” and “Celebrate the Kingdom.” He has demonstrated a kingdom mindset throughout his life and ministry, planting churches, starting businesses, opening schools, and participating in organizations that provide agricultural training.
Tom reminded us of the grace of God as he taught through the story of Abraham and Sarah. He pointed out Abraham’s humanity, the mistakes he made, and his clear reliance on the grace of God to do everything God had called him to do. Tom’s storytelling and vulnerability captured our hearts, and brought a refreshing reminder of the need for us to rely solely on the grace of God.
Our time of prayer was initiated by John as he imparted vision on the power and importance of prayer. He reminded us how far we have come as a family of churches and how it was God alone who provided a way for us to be where we are today. We had a tremendous time praying together for the church plant in San Francisco and for Scott’s work in Southeastern Africa. Our prayer session was capped off by a record-setting offering: our group of 250 people gave over $84,000 at this year!
As always, apart from the main sessions at Celebration Southeast, we also enjoyed meaningful times of growing in our relationships. Some of the highlights were meals together, recreation time, late night ice cream, and watching Jon Worstell and Nate Copeland dance in cowboy outfits to “Old Town Road.” Altogether, it made for an unforgettable weekend.
by Wes Swarthout
Over Father’s Day weekend, about 350 Northwesterners descended upon Cascades Camp in Yelm, WA, for Celebration NW 2019. All five Confluence Northwest churches were represented, and it was wonderful to see such a wide variety of families, kids, teens, young adults, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. It was a full weekend of relationship-building, food, fun, worship, teaching, and prayer. Plus, the weather cooperated: 78 degrees and sunny sure is hard to beat! We took advantage of the sunshine and spent time swimming in the lake, canoeing, water sliding, and playing beach volleyball, just to name a few of our fun activities.
Throughout the weekend, we participated in amazing times of worship led by Amy Glorioso, Aaron Scott, and their team from New Community Church. Not only did we sing worshipful songs, we also heard from God prophetically in some powerful ways. The messages brought by Bo Noonan and Tom Shaw were challenging and inspiring, as they unpacked the main topic of pioneering. We were able to hear testimony from Tom about how God called the Shaw family to plant Sanctuary Church in San Francisco, CA. John Lanferman led our prayer night, and we spent a significant amount of time praying for our local churches and the nations. We prayed specifically for church plants in the US (including Sanctuary Church), and our friends in Guadalajara, Mexico and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We love being connected to our worldwide family!
On the last morning, we took up an offering for Sanctuary Church and people gave generously. Overall, it was a wonderful weekend of serving, having fun, worshipping, hearing from God, and being generous. As one who got to see the event from various angles, I can truly say that Celebration NW ’19 was a powerful and humbling experience. Our hearts were full as we closed the weekend, and we’re definitely looking forward to all that God is going to do at Celebration NW 2020!