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stories of God’s faithfulness

Get to know Steve and Angela Musick - Click to open

A search for a new school drove Steve and Angela Musick to find a new church.

“Steve and I and our youngest daughter McKenna have been attending Wellspring family church for about 2 1/2 years. Before that we were not currently attending any church for a couple of years. I grew up in the Catholic Church and we had been raising the kids Catholic. We were attending St. Catherine LaBoure until we just felt like the Catholic Church was more about ceremony than faith and the church lacked connection to the people in the church except for on a superficial level.

“In 2020 when COVID was shutting down the world, we pulled McKenna out of the Lindbergh School District and she started at Providence Classic Christian School. She attended there from sixth through eighth grades. Once starting at Providence, Steve and I began asking families where they attend church. We knew we wanted to find a place to worship God and connect with people and help to make a difference for others. We were invited by several people to come visit Wellspring and so we did.

“The moment we walked in and saw Cheryl’s friendly smiling face there to welcome us, we knew we were on the right track. We attended service that day and were deeply moved by the service and the worship and the friendliness of the members. We knew we would be back the very next weekend.

“We are starting to find things to involve ourselves in at Wellspring. We have begun to work with the Life Team and will soon join the ranks of smiling faces to greet those who come to church service. We attended Family Camp this year and enjoyed the weekend so much. Getting to sit and just talk and get to know members was so rewarding. At the camp, we had fun worshiping God together with great music and activities.

“Wellspring services are educational and uplifting. They help us to understand and follow God’s word. None of us had ever really studied the Bible, and we love that the sermons are built around God’s words. We learn something meaningful every week. We love singing along with Tyler (Sparks) and the worship team. We walk out of Wellspring services feeling better, stronger in our faith and energized. As we grow in this church and our faith, we pray that our children as adults will also find the joy God’s love can bring and choose to worship him on their own.

The Musicks have three children. Phillip 24, was in the Navy for four years and now attends Webster University to study computer science. Maddie 22, attends the University of Kentucky, where she is studying nursing. McKenna, 14, is a freshman at Cor Jesu Academy. Steve is a dermatologist and Angela is a nurse practitioner in their practice.

“God has blessed us in innumerable ways,” Angela said. “He has given us three healthy, wonderful children and families that love us. He has gifted us with intelligence and given us great purpose in our careers. We actually get to help people. God allowed us to be born in this most prosperous and free country. He has given us His word that gives us direction in life. Now He has led us to a wonderful church to attend. We truly believe God even directed us in our quest to change McKenna’s school, which led us to Providence to bring us to Wellspring.”

The primary reason the Musicks came to Wellspring was the invitation from numerous members and the welcoming atmosphere when they arrived. They are very excited about the building project.

“It will widen our abilities as a church to welcome new members and families by our actions and by our surroundings,” Angela said. “We will be able to do so much more for our youth and the community.

“Our family is the prime example of Wellspring’s mission statement ‘Inviting our communities to belong and flourish in Christ.’ The new building with God’s continued blessing will help grow this wonderful foundation that the people of Wellspring have already created.

“Regarding our Vision Statement, what excites us most is that we are at a stage of our lives where we feel called to be involved and we want to help people in ways outside of our careers. We want others to know and feel and witness the love of God. Wellspring’s vision fits perfectly with how we feel God wants to work through our family to connect with and help others.”

Get to know Josh and Liz Bancroft - Click to open

Move to St. Louis a blessing for Bancrofts

Josh and Liz Bancroft traveled quite a distance in their move to St. Louis but the journey has been worthwhile.

They began attending Wellspring in February 2022 and soon started building friendships while settling in to their new church.

They say they feel “incredibly encouraged and loved by all at Wellspring, and have felt like a member of the family, being blessed with people in Wellspring who have welcomed us into their homes and by their families.”

Josh has enjoyed helping set up for various events and has been able to connect and encourage others. Liz is grateful to be a member of the women ministry’s team. She has enjoyed leading one of the summer Bible study sessions and has been working in the nursery.

The Bancrofts have gone through a lot of transformation in the last few years and appreciate finding a church that has strong biblical values, based in God’s truth, while also acknowledging and holding in tension so many beautiful diversities of belief and conviction.

One thing that especially attracted them to the E-Free denomination was reading online about how the church honors and recognizes the doctrines of Calvinism and Arminianism, acknowledging that both schools of thought have valid points of logic. They say they “have come together over our differences of doctrine in this area and really appreciate finding a church that supports both of us on our sanctification journey. We have found a beautiful body who leaves space for working out our convictions, continuing to pursue God’s truth in a fallen world, and feeling emboldened to have a positive impact in the lives of all of those around us, knowing that love, truth and grace must all be present together to make Christ known to our world filled with rejection.”

They say God has been faithful to them in the way He led them to Wellspring.

“It’s not every day that you ask someone to pray for your 1,000-mile cross-country move, and to pray that we can find a good church, only for the very next words out of their mouth to be the name of the church you ultimately join a year and a half later. Nor is it every day that you spend six months looking for a place to live, to land a mere 20 minutes from the church that was recommended by the friend on the other side of the country.

“And for one of the first Sundays that we attended at this new church to feature a panel of former foster and adoptive parents; the very next step we ourselves had been feeling led to for nearly a year. Only a God as big as the universe could orchestrate calling a young couple to move across the country, lay on their hearts a call to foster, and subsequently lead them to the very church that they would feel inspired, encouraged, empowered and motivated to take those next steps into the big asks and unknowns of foster care.”

The Bancrofts are especially excited to see the positive impacts Wellspring is going to have on the next generation.

For a short while, Liz was a part of a church that is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, and she is so excited to get to be seeing “a church on the other end of that spectrum having their whole future in front of them, getting to experience every milestone, traverse each step in the journey and getting to experience the mistakes every human and every church makes on this side of the veil of perfection.”

“To see the long-term vision that Wellspring has to cultivate a church that will continue spreading the Gospel long after each one of us has moved on. Knowing that the mission of Christ is a forward-moving, intergenerational commission that neither begins nor ends with us in the here and now, but that we get to be a part of that long, long narrative of community impact has been a ministry area near and dear to our hearts for many years now.

“A question we often ask ourselves is, ‘If a particular church were to cease to exist one night, would the community notice the next morning?’ The first step in impacting the world for Christ is to impact the local community for Christ. We are very excited to see the vulnerable of the next generation be less vulnerable through the ministries and generational impact Wellspring is having in the area and beyond. We are so excited to partner with and be a part of reaching the next generation and the most vulnerable through foster care.”

Get to know the Mike Wodicker Family - Click to open

Wodickers find Wellspring an ideal church for their children

Like many other worshipers at Wellspring Family Church, Mike and Erin Wodicker are excited about the plans to renovate the facility. They pointed to the big welcome area that is being planned, which will provide a beautiful space for welcoming neighbors. And if all goes well regarding fund-raising, a more appealing facade facing South Lindbergh Boulevard will be added so that the church looks appealing to those driving by.

“We’re so excited to see what changes God has in store for Wellspring and we hope to see the fruit of growth, but we also pray that even as we might grow, that we continue to be a church that is a family where we feel like we belong,” Mike said.

Mike and Erin have been attending Wellspring since the church’s inception in January 2020. Previously the Wodicker and Nolle families had attended Christ Community Church. Erin is the daughter of Rick and Mary Ann Nolle, who also worship at Wellspring.

Mike and Erin met in youth group in 1994 when Mike Priest was the youth pastor. The Wodickers have four children—Lucy, twins Jack and June, and Henry, all of whom attend Wellspring. The Wodickers live in Barnhart.

“Wellspring ministers to our family in so many ways,” Erin said. “Wellspring has been family to our four kids as they’ve been a part of the children’s ministry and the youth ministry. They all have such lasting memories from Kids in Motion, Camp Motion, KKC, youth retreats, children’s church and Sunday school.

“One huge highlight for our family every year is Wellspring Family Camp. That weekend is as special to our kids as any family vacation we’ve ever taken. It’s such a special time where we can be together with our church family and have fun, feel refreshed, grow in relationships and learn.

“Wellspring is also the place where our gifts are nurtured and we are provided opportunities to serve others. Serving others is such an important part of our spiritual growth, and we’re so thankful to be a part of a church like Wellspring where all of us can find ways to serve. We love being a part of a church where we are encouraged to explore and use our gifts.”

Mike enjoys serving as an elder and as a member of the worship team. Erin is currently serving as the co-coordinator of family camp, on the youth pastor search committee, and on the NEXT campaign team. Jack, June and Lucy love to serve in different aspects of the children’s ministry and enjoy the chance to help out with preparing coffee and donuts on Sunday mornings. Henry looks forward to chances to serve at Wellspring as he grows and loves the opportunity to pray for the church.

“We’ve seen our kids grow in their faith as they have progressed through children’s ministry and into youth group,” Erin said. “Moving from children’s ministry to youth group was a big growth point for our kids, as well as attending youth retreats.

Mike and Erin have loved the topical deep-dives of Sunday school and find themselves always growing in a new area of faith there.

“God has been so faithful to our family. As a family, we’ve recently been talking a lot about Psalm 104, which describes how God causes the grass to grow for the livestock and how God is sustaining all things, and that He is faithful and can be trusted. We’re still learning to trust Him more and more, but His faithfulness to our family has been constant.

“As a next generation destination, our kids are excited to have a new, pretty, and comfortable place to hang out and talk to friends in the new lobby. They are so excited about eventually having a gym to play games in with the youth group and with friends, and the ability to engage with kids they are serving in Kids in Motion and Camp Motion.”

Get to know the Ritland and Williams families - Click to open

Ritland families devotedly serve Wellspring

John Ritland is one of the best-known members of Wellspring Family Church. He is an elder, just as he was for many years at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church. After Cornerstone and Christ Community Church merged in January 2020, John met Bonnie Portell, a Christ Community member, in March of that year at a ministry fair and the two later married.

By his first wife, the late Susan, John had three daughters, the youngest of whom worships at Wellspring. That’s Anne, who attends with her daughter, Olivia. Bonnie serves as ministry coordinator. John and Bonnie live in Kirkwood; Anne and Olivia live in Webster Groves.

John has been involved in many ministries during his years of service in the Evangelical Free Church of America.

“Wellspring has provided fellowship opportunities with both new and long-time friends and solid teaching and preaching from our staff,” John said. “I’ve enjoyed the opportunities to lead the small group ministry as well as leading two small groups, and teaching a men’s Adult Education Hour class. I’ve also enjoyed serving as an elder and in various other roles relating to our facilities.”

His granddaughter is one of many youngsters who have benefitted from a church ministry.

“I enjoy the friendships I’ve made with adults and kids though Family Camp and Kids in Motion (formerly Kids Club),” Olivia said.

“The definition of ‘minister to’ is ‘to take care of’,” Anne said. “The people of Wellspring have taken care of me and my family so well over the years. The church (meaning the people) has supported me and my family in numerous ways: through providing prayer, mentorship, accountability, teaching, and community.”

Olivia enjoys working in the nursery and playing with the babies. Her mother also serves in the nursery.

“I have volunteered in several different roles at Camp Motion over the past few years,” Anne said. “And I regularly sub for Sunday School teachers and Kids in Motion leaders when they need someone to fill in.”

John pointed out that growing in the faith involves serving.

“I’ve enjoyed seeing Bonnie serving in her behind-the-scene roles and my daughter serving in women’s ministry,” he said. “And it’s been fun to see both Anne and Olivia serve in the nursery.

“I grow in my faith through my Sunday School class,” Olivia said. “As I continue to go to church and eventually youth group, I hope I will grow more in my faith and in my relationship with God.”

Anne said she is regularly challenged by the messages from the pastors on Sundays.

“Participating in women’s events encourages me and helps me learn and grow as I hear other women’s stories of how God has worked in their lives,” she said. “Outside of church, my job as a librarian at a public high school challenges me daily to live out my faith in a way that is real and tangible to the students with whom I interact. And being a parent constantly requires me to ask God for wisdom, patience and grace.”

John praised God for His faithfulness to him and his family.

“Wellspring Family Church brought Bonnie and myself together in marriage after we had both lost our spouses. Together, we have five daughters, all of whom are following the Lord, for which we are very grateful.”

“I can see God’s hand in my life, especially over the past several years. God has been faithful to provide community, love, peace, and support when my mom died.

God provided me with amazing friends and family to walk with me and support me through the process of getting divorced. He has been faithful to take care of Olivia as she navigates life with divorced parents. He provided a full-time job that is able to meet our specific needs.”

A recent exciting development at Wellspring it its plan to renovate its facility, which will better help the church serve its children as well as provide a place for friends and neighbors in the general community to feel welcome as members invite them into a personal relationship with Jesus.

“Our proposed pre-school and gymnasium will attract families with young children and youth,” John said. “A well-designed 500-seat auditorium will provide opportunities for community events including speakers and performing arts. The spacious lobby will provide opportunities for connecting with newcomers and old-timers alike, and the living room-like spaces will provide comfortable small group venues.”

“I am excited about the welcoming and inviting environment.,” Anne said. “I want Olivia to go to church not because she has to, but because she wants to. And a welcoming and inviting environment, referring to both the people and the physical space, plays a big role in our desire to go to church.

“I love seeing Wellspring continuing to reach out and minister to our community. In the same way that Jesus ministered to the community around him, Wellspring should take care of the people around us. The Big Splash events, especially the ones geared towards kids, have really pulled in community members and it’s been exciting to see so many new faces enjoying the events. In a world that can sometimes be negative and overwhelming and dark, Wellspring is a needed light.

“I believe that reaching people for Christ is more of a marathon than a sprint. In order for people to want to know about our mission and about Christ, there needs to be a solid foundation of relationship. So we build those relationships as we continue to reach out and invite the community in.”

John likes that Wellspring is beginning to look at mission fields as well as the supporting ministries. Referring to pastor Jeff Block, John said, “I especially appreciate Jeff’s reference to the mission field of ‘neighbors.’”

Get to know the Nolle Family - Click to open

Nolles overjoyed to watch grandkids grow in Christ

Rick and Mary Ann Nolle have traveled on a long and blissful journey with Christ as their guide.

They were saved in July 1981 and began their Christian walk as a young family.

“It seemed like we changed churches as our life changed, and in 1994 God brought us to the First Evangelical Free Church of South St. Louis County—and that decision was confirmed by our kids at our first Sunday morning service when they begged to come back that night to attend youth group,” Mary Ann said.

The church later changed its name to Christ Community Church, until the merge with Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church and the formation of a new church: Wellspring Family Church.

“Mike and Lisa Priest joined the church shortly after we did, and Mike was promoted from youth pastor to senior pastor in just a few years,” she said.

Rick worked with Mike on the acquisition of the current church site on South Lindbergh Boulevard, where the church moved in December 2000. In 2001, the Nolle family moved from Jefferson County to their present home near the intersection of Tesson Ferry Road and Butler Hill Road in South County.

“Mary Ann and I share a heart for family, and that was our primary connection to CCC over the years,” Rick said. “Our kids grew up in the youth group; our youngest daughter went to PCCA (Providence Classical Christian Academy) for a couple years and Mary Ann taught Sunday school for little ones who are now graduating high school. Miss Trudy was indeed a saint, as she taught our four kids through middle school years.

“Over the years, we’ve seen our kids grow up, have families of their own and be steadfast friends with the families we were in small group with decades ago—like the Newells and Winfreys. Truthfully, it might have been time for us to change churches about 10 years ago, when the kids were all grown and married, but God brought us a new generational experience with friends from church. Our small group are the kind of people we’d trust our lives to.

“Now, as we look ahead to the next generation, Mary Ann and I have the pleasure of watching our grandkids grow in Christ. They are developing the same deep, supportive friendships with the next generation of WFC families that benefitted our kids so greatly in their Christian walk.”

The experience at Wellspring has brought great joy and spiritual blessing to Rick and Mary Ann.

“It is such a joy to have our grandchildren worship alongside us!” Rick exclaimed. “We are excited about youth group at church, and to see our grandchildren so involved with it, and in serving the younger kids in children’s church and Kids in Motion.”

Get to know Bob Koons - Click to open

Bob has been a part of Wellspring since its inception, following more than 20 years of active involvement with Cornerstone. Bob lives in Webster Groves in the home he made with his wife Karen, who is now with the Lord she loved.

“Every Sunday, I get excited to see my family at church. I’m called to be an encourager. I am so excited about our staff and our newest staff members including Susan Andrews, and everything she brings to the table in the Children’s Ministry.

“I love what Pastor Jeff Block is doing for our church. I love his energy and ideas. His sermons are so powerful! And I am very excited about our partnership with The Way; hearing Pastor Chris Ndjungu really touched me. I think he’s as good as Billy Graham!

“I believe that God has given me the gift of hospitality. My wife and I have always loved having people over to our home and using our home to help grow relationships. Recently, I had 50 people over for the Fourth of July and to watch the parade.

“I feel so blessed to have a new church family and they have been a tremendous blessing to me. I love the focus on Church as a Family at Wellspring. I really look forward to Family Camp each year. It’s how I get to know people. I think Camp Motion is terrific, but it wears me out! I wish I could do more! I’m 83, but I love the children and the chance to serve.

“One of the things I am most excited about is the direction of our church. I’m grateful that Pastor Mike keeps us so involved in missions. I love that our mission is about bringing people in—not just into a church, but into a relationship with Jesus Christ—so they see what we stand for. There are so many unchurched people in our community. It’s absolutely incredible what all we do in our mission fields. I am excited about what we’re doing now and what we’re about to do in the future.

“The NEXT campaign is right on target and I love what it stands for: the focus on our next generation.

“It’s very exciting to me to see the changes in our focus in the last three years. Our Vision of everyone serving in mission fields—it’s more than just a Vision statement, we’re really doing it.”

In closing, we asked Bob if there was anything he would like to add and he said in true Bob Koons style, “Any more questions, and you’re going to have to talk to my agent.”

Get to know the Hageman families - Click to open

To the Hagemans, church membership means involvement.

Christian worship is steeped among the Dave and Christy Hageman and their family. Their son Chris and Chris’ wife Jill, have three daughters: twins Mia and Isobel, who are attending college this fall, and a younger daughter, Charli, who is in Wellspring’s youth program.

The Hagemans do much more than worship; they help in various ministries as well.

Dave’s contribution comes through the worship team, “by using my gifts and talents in music to create an environment for the congregation to fully worship God, and it allows me to connect to God in a deeply personal way while I play.”

Christy is involved in the sewing ministry, Sunday school, Women of Wellspring, kitchen help, Bible study, Camp Motion and prayer groups.

Chris enjoys taking part in Sunday school. “It is also a joy to support creative endeavors, specifically music, for special services,” he said.

As for Jill, she says, “I love caring for babies in the nursery and mentoring and teaching youth.”

The spirit of volunteering one’s talents to edify others at church is something that has impressed Charli.

“Wellspring has a very good way of noticing people’s gifts and wanting to put them to use,” she said. “Over the years I have had people come to me with opportunities of ways to express those gifts, like helping at children’s church and helping with construction projects”

And Mia said she loves helping out with the nursery and the homeless ministry.

Dave and Christy have grown in the faith through a deeper prayer life and a deeper Bible study. They have learned to draw closer to God through various studies and in conversation with others and in service to the church.

Chris says God has shown His faithfulness to him and his family “in a million ways, but primarily in giving us faith when we feel helpless. Whether it was health, stress, work, no work, death, near-death… He didn’t just show up, He was ever-present in our hearts in working through His people.”

Jill added that “He has taken us through lots of financial difficulties by providing just enough for us and using others to help us when needed. He has surrounded us with people who care about us.”

Dave and Christy are excited about Wellspring’s future because of the strong connection the members have with one another and the fact that they can be transparent with one another. They say that creates a strong body that can be in ministry together and of one mind.

Charli says the Wellspring community “is so precious, and over time the people you sit next to on Sunday mornings become your family, and that relationship with others is a bond that is stronger than anything and I have experienced – so many friendships where those people began to feel like family as well.”

Jill is excited about what she anticipates will be more opportunities in the future to bring in non-believers to hear the gospel.

Chris pointed out that “one of the things that excites me the most about our church is flexibility of the congregation and leadership.”

“We are grounded in God’s Word and His Spirit, we are free in Him to change and move in that freedom, be it the mode of worship, teaching style or missional challenge,” Chris said. “I am excited to see this further experienced and broadened as we hold fast to the truth but have the tenderhearted tenacity to be bold in our creativity.”

Wellspring’s mission of inviting people from local communities to belong to and flourish in Christ gives Chris additional hope of “seeing the lost become found, lives being rebuilt, experiencing the gospel with my brothers and sisters around the globe, engaging with others with different backgrounds and traditions.”

The church aspires to become a community destination offering a welcoming and inviting environment, especially to the younger generation.

Charli said, “I think as time goes on things have to change because catering to each generation gets more different over time, as people are less likely to believe something someone else does because they want to be different from others. But updates of making it more and more clear that our church is open to anyone, and anyone can have a relationship with God is so important, especially with the next generation.”

During the next 10 years, Wellspring’s vision is to see a growing family on mission sent to local or global mission fields to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in order to see the gospel transform them.

“I love the commitment to serve and minister to the needy here and far away,” Jill said. “It exemplifies what the disciples did in Acts and what Jesus calls us to do.”

To Mia, this vision means “helping those in vulnerable situations not just seek a better situation here on earth, but show them the light of Christ and the eternal rest they can have in God.”

Dave and Christy expressed the vision this way: “We are to go out and spread what we know of God and live as His children. We need to be all in for the gospel so none will be lost. He also commands us to care for those who cannot care for themselves and so we serve Him when we serve others.”

Get to know the Heuiser family - Click to open

Heuiser family loves Wellspring’s programs

Brad and Tanya Heuiser started attending Wellspring Family Church in January 2022

She mentioned that Wellspring has ministered to her children through Wellspring Kids, the Wednesday night kids program and the youth group.

“They do a great job of pouring into the lives of our kids,” Tanya said. “The adult education classes challenge us to reflect on our lives and better ourselves. We have a small group that loves us, supports us, and challenges us regularly. Ultimately, the church is our extended family as much as our own flesh and blood families.

“We serve in Wellspring Kids both on Wednesday night and Sunday mornings. Brad also teaches Children’s church once a month. We have served in Camp Motion twice and are always blown away by how much we are blessed by serving those kids. The Wellspring Kids teams and Camp Motion teams are amazing, and we are happy to have such a solid group of people to serve with. We strongly believe that a person’s faith is only fully unlocked through serving others.”

Brad is finishing his master’s degree in Christian Education through Dallas Theological Seminary. Brad and Tanya are becoming more consistent in their faith and in their closeness to God.

“We are proud to see both Aidan and Elliot seeking Christian friends in school and thrilled to see them surrounded with such great examples in the youth group,” Tanya said. “We know how important it is for them to be surrounded by people who are strong in their faith.”

She pointed out how God has shown His faithfulness to her and Brad.

“God led us to Wellspring at the point when we needed this (church) family the most. We have often seen God show up at just the right time, whether that is an unexpected financial blessing at a moment of need or a friend who is available to speak into our lives when we are struggling. God’s people have always been here for us.

“We are thankful for the youth leaders who pour into the lives of our middle schooler and high schooler. We are also grateful for the nursery and Sunday School teachers who care deeply for our daughter. We are blessed by our small group, who continuously challenges us with thought-provoking discussions to help us grow in our faith. We care genuinely about one another and live out Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

As parents, the Heuisers said they are always excited to see a church focus on ministering to the next generation.

“Having spaces that are more easily used by children and youth can have a big impact on a ministry’s ability to be successful, but mostly we are excited to see the body of Christ working together to reach out to the future of the church,” Tanya said. “We are most excited about seeing what happens when everyone pulls together to do the work of the Father.”

Wellspring’s mission of inviting local communities to belong and flourish in Christ is gratifying to Brad and Tanya.

“We are most excited to see the gospel spread to those who have never heard it before,” Tanya said. “We are also excited to see others come to Wellspring and be accepted and loved the same way that we were.”

The church’s vision of going into local or global mission fields to meet the needs of the most vulnerable of the next generation while teaching and preaching the gospel.

“We are extremely excited to see how God reaches new areas and new groups of people through the faithfulness of the people of Wellspring,” Tanya said. “Too often local churches are guilty of focusing on things that happen internally. It is refreshing to see how many people at Wellspring are focused on serving those who are outside of our walls.”

Dan Walter: The Next Guest - Click to open

From Dan Walter, Elder

When I retired from full-time pastoral ministry, Pat and I visited here and we stayed because of the loving, family atmosphere. It was a place to have a ministry and to be ministered to.  Relationships were most important to us; the building was secondary. However, the building is our home turf.

Immediately I could see ways to improve our facilities. God gave me the opportunity to put into practice one of my other spiritual gifts, craftsmanship. So along with a host of other volunteers we began to make a difference in the appearance of our church home. It all started with a new carpet in our long entrance hallway. Then we painted the hallway. New lighting was added. Restrooms were updated. Floors were stripped, waxed, and sealed. Paint and carpet were added to the sanctuary.

You see, an attractive and clean place for worship is important to me when we gather. And I think it’s even more important to our guests when they visit for the first or second time. But what does that have to do with “Next Chapter?” I’m glad you asked.

Jesus’ last command to us was to make disciples. Jesus says in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” This is crucial to the life and work of the Church, and we are a local entity of the universal church. A meaningful description of a disciple was given by Christ at Gethsemane: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to by my disciples.” (John 15:7-8). 

But Jesus didn’t start there with his disciples. It all started with a relationship. They were attracted to Jesus and awkwardly asked, “Where are you staying” (John 1:38). What they wanted to say was, can we tag along? Jesus gave them an invitation, “Come and see.” And thus began the first step of a great journey with Jesus. The miracle of transformation began. It is a process followed with Jesus’ next invitation: 

  • “Come and see”
  • “Come and be with me”
  • “You will remain in me ”

We want people in our community to “tag along.” We have an attractive body of believers where seekers in our community can find genuine purpose for their lives as a growing disciple of Christ. It starts with connecting and an attractive facility can help make that happen. I deeply appreciate the unique spiritual gifts and talents exemplified in our church family. As our name connotes, we are family, a loving family. We are a place for spiritual growth and care. And it’s something we want others to experience.

An attractive facility will enhance the opportunities for making more disciples and better disciples. The step through the front door is a “come and see” moment in the lives of those God will draw to himself and to us. Do join us on this exciting “NEXT Step.” 

 

Get to know the Winfrey and Crawford families - Click to open

For Dave and Renae Winfrey, who have attended church in the Wellspring building since the beginning of Christ Community Church, church as a family is literally a family affair. They delight in worshiping with their children, and now their grandchildren.

“I have always thought of church as a family; a place where people will rejoice with you and mourn with you, a place where you can receive and give a helping hand,” said Dave Winfrey, who enjoys working on the church building and helping out where needed. “Christ Community was a great place for my kids to grow stronger in their faith and now Wellspring is a great place for my grandkids to grow in their faith.”

“Wellspring provides a welcoming, nurturing environment for me, our adult children and their spouses, and now our grandchildren,” Renae said. “Our grandchildren love the Big Splash events. Our grandchildren who are old enough for youth group love it. Even our four-year-old granddaughter listens to the sermons and asks me about some of the teachings in the sermons.”

Their daughter, Becky Crawford, feels the same way. “This has always been a place where we feel welcomed and loved,” Becky said. “Our kids, Nathan, Gabe, and Ellie, enjoy coming to church on Sundays and love attending youth group. Wellspring is our church family; we can’t imagine being anywhere else.”

Becky started attending with her family when she was 18. When she and Dave Crawford became engaged, Dave moved to St. Louis and started attending, as well. The Crawford family lives in Barnhart across the street from her Dave and Renae Winfrey.

“I love that everyone is so nice and welcoming at our church and that no one feels left out,” Ellie said. “Coming to youth group is one of my favorite things and something I really look forward to each week.”

Gabe agreed. “I really like going to youth group and I love the lessons that they teach there” he said.

Nathan loves the music and worship at church. “The sermons are always really interesting and keep my attention,” he said.

Renae is already seeing some impact on the next generation now that both of her daughters and their families attend Wellspring.

“I love that Wellspring’s Vision includes growing and nurturing what I call ‘Kingdom Kids.’ Kingdom Kids are heavenly citizens in the making, and I’m so happy to be part of a church that values the process of growing heavenly citizens.”

Renae has been called by God into kingdom service as well, such as leading women’s Bible studies, leading women’s prayer group or decorating for Christmas. “Whatever the task, Wellspring has embraced that call to service and I appreciate that so much,” she said.

Recently Renae has been called to be the prayer chair for the capital campaign called “NEXT: The Next Chapter for Wellspring.”

“I have seen God equipping those He calls,” she said. “Sometimes the task or ministry He calls us to seems so overwhelming, and indeed it is, if we try to do it in our own power. But I was reminded recently that He is sovereign. He equips. He leads. He keeps me in perfect peace as long as I have my mind and heart stayed upon Him. He’s teaching me to trust Him even more, to walk humbly with Him — hand in hand, and to stand in whatever ways He has called me to stand.”

“What excites me most about our mission of ‘Inviting Our Communities to Belong and Flourish in Christ’ is seeing people grow in the truth and knowledge of the Lord and dwelling in unity and loving God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength. That’s what I think belonging and flourishing in Christ means.”

What excites Dave Winfrey most about Wellspring, is,“that it is a vibrant and growing congregation,” he said. “It is not only growing in numbers but also in outreach and depth of faith.”

True and sound biblical teaching and principles are a priority for the Winfreys, “and we are so grateful for that” Renae said. “Wellspring offers adult education classes which have been and continue to be rich in biblical truth. Wellspring also offers various opportunities to minister to one another. And Wellspring provides opportunities for fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

“I’m so excited to see what God has planned for Wellspring. I’m so eager for Wellspring to be known as a “House of Prayer.” For on that foundation of prayer, we will see God move in miraculous and remarkable ways in the hearts of people at Wellspring and in the hearts of people we minister to.”

Through the years and through generations, God had shown His faithfulness to the Winfreys and Crawfords.

“God shows His faithfulness to our family on a daily basis, from the most basic of answered prayers to miraculous healings,” Dave Crawford said. “He has shown us over and over again that He is holding us firmly in the palm of His hand.”

God continues to write the next chapter for Wellspring and continues to show His faithfulness to the next generation.

“My hope is that when my children are grown, they will attend here with their children,” Becky said. “To know that Wellspring is shepherding the next generation and is a place where multiple generations of families can come together and worship God is exciting.”

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Dave and Renae Winfrey have been married for 54 years and worship with Becky and Dave Crawford, the Crawford children Ellie, Nathan and Gabe, and now the Winfreys’ daughter Sarah and her husband Cody Brandt, as well as the Brandt children, Charlotte, Zach and Emma. The Winfreys’ son Matt and Matt’s wife Jeanine live in Columbus, Ohio, with their children, Peter and Ben.

“We are very, very blessed to have such a wonderful family, and they all walk with the Lord. We praise God for His goodness to us.”

More stories coming soon! Come back soon.