In 2017, the tradition of having book club members recommend books that we voted on began. I developed a list of the recommendations, checked them out, showed Pastor, and then, we as a ministry, voted in order to whittle the list down to our six for the year. Looking back, some of my favorite books/reads come from this year’s list of books: The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom; Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst; Days of Elijah by Mark Goodwin; A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers (we only read the first three novellas in the series this year).

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some as in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

Another development that we made was just making the meetings even more of a fellowship. Rather than solely meeting at the church, we started going out to different venues (for lack of a better word). We met at The Cenacle, a Christian-based coffee shop that has now become a staple for our meeting locations. We also started the annual tradition of going to Ms. Cholie’s, officially known as Cholie’s Town ‘n Country! And, honestly, this meeting—our meeting at Ms. Cholie’s—has become our favorite and most anticipated! Ms. Cholie’s is a consignment shop that is literally five minutes down the road from our church, and in her tea room, she caters and does a buffet style spread for whatever party size that you give her. And, whoo!, that food is good.

We also had a dinner and a movie night where we invited the whole church out with us to see The Shack, since the book was adapted into a movie. Over dinner, we fellowshipped and tried to reminisce and remember what happened in the book.

As iron sharpens iron,

   so one person sharpens another.

Proverbs 27: 17 (NIV)

As always, I was super thankful for my church family and pastor in supporting me as a new leader and as a youth leader. But, I am especially thankful for the support and help that I got from my mother and from Auntie (A.K.A my godmother, the church first lady, beautiful role model).

Even though this was year two for the ministry, I still felt a little lost occasionally and felt out of my depths, and Auntie and my mom were really great mentors and soundboards throughout the year.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV)

In terms of growth, Auntie, mom, and I also planted the church library (that also serves as a prayer and meeting room). In our church, we have a room that is right by the entrance that was used as storage; however, with a vision and a lot of clean-up/clear-out, we turned that room into a library. This was an end of the year project that we started in December and finished in earlier January of the next year.

We ended up getting a futon, two smaller bookshelves, one large and expandable bookshelf, and a few more books for the shelves. My dad painted, replaced a ceiling tile, and put up the collapsible bar table that we got, and my mom and I put together the bookshelves. I wish that I could say that we took before and after pictures, but we didn’t. The after is great, though, and it is a great space where adults and teens can have a space (we have a lot of space for the children and infants).

This project is also when we got the bulletin board, and we decided to use the bulletin board and the smaller bookshelves as ways to showcase the books that we were currently reading or plan to read for the rest of the year. Creating this space also allowed for us to have another meeting location and to have just a great space in the church to relax besides the fellowship hall.

2017 Reads