By Round. dr. Dawn Weaknesses
Pastor, Link Christian Church
This month marks our eighth anniversary as pastors at Connection Christian Church here in Odessa. My husband Joe and I came to serve in 2014 when the price of oil was very high and there were no houses to be had in the Permian Basin. We have seen the region grow even more numerically, in its cultural offerings and in its educational opportunities. There are many things that make me proud to be an Odessan! But of course, like any proud pastor, a big part of what makes me proud is the people in our congregation.
Eight years ago, our historic congregation took a huge leap of faith. Our leaders have courageously and prayerfully considered how to be faithful with the resources God has given us so that we can reach future generations with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our discernment led to the sale of our downtown property and the move into a newly renovated building near the mall. But our change was more than a change of location, which was actually the church’s fourth location in its 116 years of service to this community. Our biggest change was that we decided to do more good for others than to maintain the status quo. This decision alone has sparked many opportunities for the spiritual and numerical growth of our church as we try to keep up with the growth of the community around us. It seems that when we say “yes” to serving others, God provides abundant ways and means to do so.
Chalice Press has just published a little book that I wrote telling the story of our congregation’s journey of transformation. Titled Breakthrough: Trusting God with Big Change in Your Church, it highlights special leaders in our congregation who have taken faithful risks in order to make room for God to do a new thing.
Now that the book is out, I hear from church leaders all over the United States reading it. Their churches are grappling with declining attendance and budgets, especially after COVID. It’s such a joy to tell them that yes, right here in Odessa, Texas, God showed up for our church, so God will show up for them too. Every community needs churches that are willing to make the choice to serve others even more than themselves, whatever the cost. I am grateful for all the many churches here in Odessa that are doing just that, especially mine.