Change is hard…
For a year and a half a search team at Church of the Valley searched for a new Lead Pastor. But who would have guessed that the one that the Lord was preparing lived less than 2 miles away from the church campus and grew up in Santa Clara where Church of the Valley has been for decades.
In less than two months my family and I have started to feel at home with our new church.
Church of the Valley (or COV, as we refer to it) has a long, ongoing, and fruitful history of ministering to the city of Santa Clara for over 60 years.
It encompasses 5 acres of property very close to Valley Faire mall, Santana Row, and the I-880/ Highway 17 and 280 interchange.
Church of the Valley is unique in its connection to Valley Village, which is a retirement home across the street from our church property. In fact, Valley Village’s official name is “Church of the Valley’s Retirement Homes”. As the lead pastor, I am also on the board of directors for Valley Village, along with 5 fellow members from the church.
Since unanimously being voted in as their 5th ever Senior/Lead Pastor, I have had the opportunity to see the roof to our Worship Center be replaced, our parking lot be repaved, and start to invest more resources in the AV production and miscellaneous technology all around the church campus.
I recently finished teaching a 3 week series called “Ekklesia”, covering the Early Church’s content, culture and consequence.
On August 13th, we implemented a dual-service dynamic to accommodate both those who are new to COV and those who have been here for many years. The latter have a more traditional service at 9:00 AM, while the former have a more contemporary one at 10:45 AM.
This dynamic is beneficial for our church community; members have two opportunities to worship, to hear the Word, and to connect with their church family. They can attend either service or “serve one and sit one”.
Moreover, two services enable us to include any type of worship expression that either community is used to. God has provided us with the opportunity to employ a new Worship Director. With the support of the leadership council, we unanimously voted to bring Erin Cheney onto COV’s paid staff. Her responsibilities and contributions consist of managing both worship services, as well as equipping, scheduling and leading different worship teams and tech people. She also participates in our staff meetings and helps manage our social media. While her husband Steven Cheney records our sermons.
Having two services also provides our faithful and consistent teachers the opportunity to invest in our children. As the pastor, I put a huge emphasis on children’s ministry. I’d rather not have “child care”, but instead use the time that children are in our care to invest in them, teach them the Bible and have them bond with our different volunteers. So, as of 8/13, we have started a new children’s ministry that is offered during both services so parents with children can engage corporately in our worship services while their children are cared for and poured into spiritually. My wife,Erin Reilly (and former Children’s director of Trinity Church of Sunnyvale) will be heading up our children’s ministry in a volunteer role and getting us prepared for growth spiritually and numerically in children’s ministry.
Having Compelled Together (the church plant that I helped start earlier this year) and Church of the Valley merge has also been a huge blessing to Pulse College Ministry, the student fellowship that we oversee and pour into. Pulse has existed for nearly a decade and meets Thursday evenings at San Jose State’s Spartan Memorial Chapel. Pulse consists of many students who have a heart for Jesus, community and the San Jose State campus.
Starting the first week of September we hope to offer Community groups at COV that will provide an opportunity for people to dig deeper into the sermon that was taught the Sunday morning previously. We hope to integrate people from both services with one another, as the sermons will be identical.
We have a new website being worked on as you read this, and as content is added and updated, we will release it hopefully real soon. We also have a refresh of the Church of the Valley logo that we are very excited to share in the very near future.
A few future ministry opportunities to pray for: We would love to have more people host, lead or apprentice in Community groups (a training with me will be provided) .
We can always have more people who care about children sign up to serve in our children’s ministry.
Starting September 3rd we will be starting a new sermon series on the book of Ephesians called “Horizons”, where we will teach verse by verse through the book of Ephesians helping Church of the Valley hear, wrestle with, discuss and apply the deep theological convictions of this book to our lives. My dream would be that we would spend these 13 weeks as we walk and talk through this glorious letter to the church of Ephesus each Sunday morning, and in Community groups through out the week.
On September 16th and 17th, the city of Santa Clara will be offering its Art and Wine Festival at Central Park on Kiely Blvd. We are going to offer a booth where people from COV can man the table, help make and display children’s crafts, offer encouragement, and invite folks to Church of the Valley and to Pulse College Ministry. We will be offering sign ups soon at the church to help with set up, tear down, manning the tables and helping make connections.
We plan to offer another movie night in the fellowship hall this fall to engage and encourage people from the community including at Valley Village. Dates and movie to be determined.
Our Sunday morning attendance has been growing which is exciting and provides its own challenges with space, resources, serving, parking, etc. But its a great “problem” to have.
We hope to start dreaming with a few leaders about youth ministry and how to provide mentors and space for the youth who attend Church of the Valley to engage with Jesus and one another. Expect announcements of events and possible Community groups for youth to be announced in the near future.
I am honored to be a part of God’s movement at Church of the Valley. For those of you who call COV your home church, where you grow spiritually and invest your time, treasure and talent: THANK YOU! For those of you who have been faithful members of COV for years, thank you for trusting me as your shepherd. I know it may seem like there have been a lot of changes, but I promise that they have been in the church’s best interests, and saturated in prayer and dialogue with many leaders.
Those of you who have come with us from Compelled Together: thank you for trusting me as your pastor and helping make this merge amazing- to say the least.
I am so excited to make disciples of all generations together as we are one church, two expressions, reaching a city!
For anyone who is reading this and does not have a Biblical community that you call home, join us on a Sunday morning as we aim at making much of Jesus in the city of Santa Clara!