• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Rita Clardy
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Assistant Pastor, Discipleship
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Winnie Winford
    High-Life Assistant Director
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
    High-Life/Children
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director of Children's Ministry
  • Sarah Niemitz
    Director of Community Development/Assimilation
  • Janice Crowson
    Director of Facilities/Office
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Pastor’s Note: Eye-Opening Experiences


When I traveled to India this fall to work with our mission partners there, the trip opened my eyes in ways that greatly challenged and encouraged my heart. As you might expect, it opened my eyes to the beauty and uniqueness of a different culture as well as the dire need for the gospel to impact India. But most of all it opened my eyes to ways our God is working around the world that I might have hoped or prayed for but had never witnessed firsthand. After all, it’s not every day I find myself surrounded by Indian pastors sharing their stories of God’s power and faithfulness in their communities … what a great gift! As I told you when I came back, it made me long for all of you to be there and experience it with me!

I can’t take you all across the globe, but I do hope to share a similar gift with you during our Express Grace Conference at the end of this month. See, it’s not every day that we find ourselves surrounded by mission partners from around the world right here in Huntsville. This weekend – focused on “Expressing Grace Around the World” is one that you will not want to miss! You will get to have your eyes opened and your heart encouraged by stories of God’s work around the world in places you’ve never seen – all without leaving 35802.

While we rightly focus much of our time and energy on seeing God’s kingdom advance where God has called us here in Huntsville, the good news of the gospel has always been good news of great joy “for all people” and “for every nation.” So, we dare not allow the natural dynamic of “out of sight, out of mind” to occur with the global mission of God. Instead, let’s look forward to having our eyes opened and our hearts focused on what is happening beyond our city so that our vision of who God is and how he works is expanded.

Southwood has mission partners working to see the gospel impact countries spanning five continents. They are sharing the same good news of grace, laboring to see the same kingdom of Christ advanced in word and deed, and relying upon the same Holy Spirit who empowers us here in Huntsville for these tasks. They are planting churches, evangelizing unreached people groups, starting community development initiatives, equipping indigenous pastors, caring for orphans, widows, slaves, and more – all because of grace.

That’s why we call all this “expressing grace.” The same story God is using to transform Huntsville (your life, family, workplace, and neighborhood) – the story about Jesus that enables sinners to be forgiven, orphans to be adopted, and creation to be restored – is transforming communities around the world. So, soaking in God’s grace together and hearing stories of his transformative work will remind us that we are on that same mission and encourage us that the gospel really is the power of God for the salvation of the world – and every individual, no matter where or when.

It would be easy to give you a “guilt trip” about this conference – to talk about how little it requires or how it’s the least we can do – but I’d rather give you a “grace trip.” Please block your calendar for Saturday night, January 27, and stay until you just have to leave; come at 9:00 Sunday morning to hear from our mission partners even if it’s the only time you make it that early all year; eagerly anticipate being a part of the worship service that caps our weekend. But don’t come because you’ve had guilt heaped on you; come because you’ve had grace lavished on you – grace you can’t wait to celebrate and share! We get to give freely because we have received freely!

Traveling to India isn’t the only way to have your eyes opened to the work of God around the world. Attending our Express Grace Conference isn’t the only way to have your eyes opened either (after all, we pray for and talk about God’s work among the nations throughout the year). But it’s a really good one – and a unique one – because people and places often out of sight are coming to a church near you later this month. Celebrate and share God’s grace with them!