|“My aim is to look back, to reflect, and to arouse a sense of gratitude, thanksgiving, awe, and wonder at what God has done in the last year,” said Pastor Chris Holck in prefacing his annual Top Ten message this past weekend. “In everything we do at Live Oaks,” he continued, “we’re praying that more and more people would know Jesus and find life as it is meant to be lived in Him.” Here is Pastor Chris’ Top Ten countdown highlighting God’s workings in and through Live Oaks Community Church in 2021:|
10) Church Membership Surpasses 600: During the 10 years since LOCC’s founding in 2012, membership has grown from four to more than 600. About three times that many families call Live Oaks home at least part of the year, but those who are members have attended the LOCC Discovery Class and signed the membership covenant – thereby taking that next step of commitment to participate in the Kingdom-building mission of Live Oaks.
9) Heavenly Headhunter Delivers Again: With the addition of Worship Pastor Steve Clarke and Mobilization Pastor Steve Erb, God continues to call just the right leaders to help us be more effective reaching out with the Gospel.
8) The Church Has Left the Building:
Concern about COVID prompted a surge of worship service attendance at The Grove, our outdoor venue at the Woodridge Campus. Viewing services (and other events) on the jumbotron from the comfort of one’s golf cart, car, or lawn chair proved to be a popular social distancing solution, and Grove attendance has held steady, if not grown, ever since. Enter Grove Shepherds Tom and Pat Taylor, whose attentive presence at Grove functions provides a personal, pastoral touch for those among our church family who prefer to worship in the great outdoors. And a simple change in strategy implemented by our “Come to the Light” prayer team met with great success. Team members donned vests boldly marked “PRAYER” and went out to the people rather than merely inviting people to come into the building for prayer. The expressions of appreciation have been numerous and heartfelt.
7) “Come to the Light” Season 2: Our “Come to the Light” Christmas outreach lit up The Grove twice a night, 23 December nights in a row, to reach more than 8,000 people with the Nativity story and Gospel message in synchronized light, sound, and special effects. It took some 600 different volunteers to make it happen, and a free-will offering collected at each performance generated $32,000 earmarked for the ministries of Operation Christmas Child, Feed My Starving Children, and Operation Blessing. Happy birthday, Jesus!
6) Gathering God’s People: Families who call Live Oaks home for some or all of the year now number 1,123 (and counting), and they come from the four winds. Only God can do that. On average, a whopping 436 viewers watch weekend services online. COVID has failed to stunt the growth of our church family. Attendance on Christmas Eve in 2019 was about 900. In 2021, nearly 1,500 people gathered at our four services. With the opening of our new Woodridge Campus ministry expansion, we like to say, “We didn’t just build it for us, we built it for people we haven’t met yet.”
5) 100,000th Shoebox of Love: It was a milestone worthy of an LOCC delegation’s visit to the Samaritan’s Purse HQ in Boone, N.C., and a personal video message of gratitude from the organization’s president and CEO, Franklin Graham. In the 10 years since LOCC volunteers started filling shoeboxes of Christmas gifts for children around the world, Live Oaks packed its 100,000th “shoebox of love.” In 2021 alone, LOCC packed 32,959 gifts of love and hope, so we’re well on our way to another 100,000.
4) Back Where We Started: In October 2012, Live Oaks Community Church began meeting in a leased space at Wildwood Country Resort. Then in 2017, we caravanned to our new permanent campus at Woodridge. Two years later, in 2019, we launched our Southern Oaks Campus in space leased from Grace Tabernacle in Wildwood. Now we’ve come full circle. In 2021, God orchestrated the relocation of our Southern Oaks Campus back to Wildwood Country Resort. Strategically located at the intersection of Buena Vista and State Road 44 just a stone’s throw from Brownwood, we are in a great position to more effectively serve the southern region of our area. Our extensive renovations have made this space more “like us” and it feels like home. God is so good.
3) Do Your Giv’n While You’re Liv’n So You’re Knowin’ Where It’s Goin’: During the two months following a September sermon from Acts 2 about the generosity of the early church, God aroused a spirit of generosity among the LOCC family like never before. An amazing $2 million in giving has enabled us to move forward with a number of ministry expansion goals, not the least of which is the purchase of our Southern Oaks Campus property.
2) Purchase of Southern Oaks Campus: So here we are! The property we are leasing for our Southern Oaks Campus, formerly known as Wildwood Country Resort, was for sale and our offer to purchase it for a very reasonable $2.55 million has been accepted. It’s not yet a done deal, but the Lord is moving us toward the finish line.
1) Unwrapping Our Christmas Present: As a church family, we celebrated Christmas Eve in our brand-new 750-seat worship center at Woodridge, the centerpiece of a master ministry expansion plan that progressed unfazed by the world-changing events of 2020. “Our building contractor has made it very clear to me that the hand of God was upon this project,” Pastor Chris says. “Despite supply chain issues, price increases, and work force deficits, we’ve been able to move in on time and at budget. That is the hand of God.”
“We don’t know what the coming year will bring,” Pastor Chris concluded, “but we know that God is in control and we are looking forward to watching Him work.” AMEN!