• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant to the
    Senior Pastor
  • DJ Baptiste
    Director of Music Ministry
  • Bill Harritt
    Assistant Pastor of
  • Clay McCann
    Assistant Director of Youth
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant of
    Youth/Children Ministries
  • Derrick Harris
    Associate Pastor of
    Shepherding/Young Families
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant of
    Adult Ministries
  • Angela Sierk
    Director of Children's Ministry
  • Tyanna Holbrook
    Director of Nursery
  • Janice Crowson
    Director of Facilities/Finance
  • Robert Blevins
    Director of Missions
  • General Contact
    For all other purposes
Contact Us Site Map

Where is Southwood Going?

When Paul writes the Colossian church to tell them how they should live today (3:5ff), he begins by telling them to focus on eternal realities (3:1-4). Setting their minds on things above will shape the priorities they should have here below, so to speak. I’ve been using that same lens to see and cast some vision for Southwood in the past few weeks. Where Southwood is going 10 million years from now must shape where we are going 10 years from now.

In that glorious eternity where we are with our Lord forever, we will be utterly consumed with the glory of God, constantly delighting in his presence, and declaring his excellencies in everything we do. What’s more – God has already united us to Christ, indwelt us constantly by his Spirit, and begun remaking us in his image. So even as we look forward to our full restoration and freedom from this broken world, we can already begin to live as God’s family – a Christ-centered community – a people utterly consumed by, obsessed with, overwhelmed by his glory.

Revive our hearts, O Lord! If that is to be true of you and me personally and Southwood corporately, we need revival. So, if we are going one day in heaven to be a fully Christ-centered church, we are praying for revival to be a Christ-centered church today whom God uses to bring revival to Huntsville and beyond, to our neighbors and the nations.

Hopefully, that’s not news to most of you. That’s because most of this “vision” is the same heart we’ve had for years and in some ways since Southwood began over 30 years ago. Our Core Commitments set our passion for being Christ-centered, for being desperately dependent upon God and prayerfully expectant for Him to lead us here, for being fueled by relationships, for sharing God’s heart for the least of these and those who don’t know Jesus, and for living all of life to see his kingdom come in every area. That’s what we desire to be increasingly true of Southwood.

And to be clear, we mean all of us together. Our goal is not to have merely one pastor or leadership team seeking revival but rather all of us together functioning as a family on a mission to see the good news of Jesus declared and demonstrated to our neighbors and the nations. Having hundreds of us praying and working toward that same goal is exciting – and it’s hard. So, we’ve tried to put some simple and memorable language to it so that we can be united and excited about where God has called us to go together. That’s another way of saying I hope you’ve heard the things below in some context over the past few weeks, but here’s another way to invite you into a shared passion and shared mission with our God who is with us and promises even Hell will not stop us in this journey.

To Experience and Express Grace…

This is our mission statement as a church and the way our relationship with God is designed from now through eternity. The story of the Bible is the story of grace – of a worthy God who determines to love unworthy people over and over again. Our story, then, is one of grace that saves us, grace that transforms us, grace that is sufficient even in our weakness, grace that sustains us, and grace that will bring us home where we never stop reveling in the grace of our God. Ultimately, of course, it’s that story of grace that we share with others – when we extend the forgiveness of our Savior, when we serve sacrificially as He has served us, when we tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love to those who don’t yet know Him.

That’s what we mean by experience AND express grace – both aspects must always be functioning so that God’s design for the flow of grace works. It must always be coming TO us and THROUGH us. In other words, we are always depending on God’s grace and drinking it in for ourselves and always offering that same hope to our neighbors. We want all our members equipped and inspired to engage with the overflow of grace we’ve experienced so that Huntsville and the world will be transformed by the grace that’s transforming us.

Grace is not a product we get enough of or a concept we master; rather, grace comes to us in a relationship with a person, Jesus, who never leaves us. So the more we need grace and the more we share grace, the more we center our lives on Jesus. That may sound simplistic, but it’s actually the grace of God in Jesus that revives our self-reliant, sinful, idolatrous hearts – so that’s our mission.

...In Relationships That Impact Eternity

Sometimes, though, it can be confusing to know where to focus in life or even in the church. We run from program to study to service looking to be a part of experiencing and expressing grace, but where does it happen? Well, in three key relationships. Remember that vision of heaven where Southwood is going? It’s these relationships that will fill heaven and even now impact the formation of eternity. So, Southwood exists to experience and express grace in relationships that impact eternity.

Relationships with GOD

There is never any relationship with more impact on eternity than one’s relationship with God. Of course, that relationship determines where each of us will spend eternity, but it’s even more than that. He is the one we were created to know and delight in and worship. Because He is the glorious one and the goal of all things, we will never plumb the depths of who He is, never run out of reasons to wonder at his awesome creativity, and never stop marvelling at his gracious love for us.

A zealous enthusiasm should mark our poring over the Scriptures, our contemplating creation, our prayerful conversations with Him moment by moment – because we know He desires to show us more of his glory and grace – what great news! I’m eagerly anticipating a new sermon series after Labor Day where we will journey together into God’s heart and pray He shapes our hearts along the way. This relationship is the foundation of eternity and the fuel for all other relationships.

Relationships with ONE ANOTHER

See, it’s because we have God as our Father that we Christians have one another as brothers and sisters. It’s because Jesus is our bridegroom that we together are being washed with water and the Word to be his beautiful bride. It’s because the Holy Spirit inhabits the people of God together that we are being built into a holy temple.

Clearly, God always intended us to need each other. If we ever doubted that fact, this recent pandemic season has reminded us in fresh and sometimes painful ways that it’s not good for us to be alone. The family of God is a family, not mere individuals. So, investing time to get to know one another and energy to serve one another is a vital part of preparing us for eternity and of being the kind of community that reminds us of the gracious welcome we receive in God’s family. Lock arms with someone – worship together – laugh together – serve together – become a small group – and prepare for heaven.

Relationships with OUR NEIGHBORS

One of the main reasons we wanted to list these three key relationships was so that we would keep this one intentionally in view. We are so naturally self-focused, and God is so consistently others-focused. He tells us his Church will storm the gates of Hell, and they won’t stand against us! In word and in deed we offer a foretaste of the heavenly kingdom and the King of grace.

The opportunities to impact eternity here are greater than ever even in Huntsville alone. A growing number of transplants to Huntsville aren’t looking for a church and don’t know the good news of Jesus. This is one of the primary reasons our vision is not 5,000 people crammed into a sanctuary to listen to me but 500 of you going into your workplaces, neighborhoods, and schools where you’re already in these relationships. Nursing homes and retirement communities are full of people who will listen to the grace of Jesus from you. Preschools and college campuses are full of people who will listen to the grace of Jesus from you. Some Sundays our sanctuary has visitors who don’t understand the grace of Jesus but will listen to you. Sometimes we’re able to go around the world to reach the nations with the good news, but we’re always called to reach those right here with the good news. With a God who loves and empowers us, a community that will lock arms and pray for us, let’s move together into the lives of our neighbors!

A Church OF Small Groups

Remember that the mission we are on is not for individuals but for a Church, not for any of us alone but for us together. So, we want everyone connected to other members of the family on the mission. Small groups are not just a ministry of Southwood but a place where all three relationships are lived out so that we can be on mission together. This includes a renewed emphasis and a new name.