From 10-20 to 2020
This week marks 20 years since Connie and I returned to Midlothian to be Lead Pastors at the Lighthouse. In 2000, we were called “Midlothian Christian Fellowship”. The Lighthouse moniker came a year later, after an office Christmas Party we hosted at the Oasis on Lake Joe Pool. Since we were near the water, we decided on a “nautical Christmas” theme, and we found some Lighthouse Christmas ornaments at our local Christian bookstore, which were given as gifts. It was the first time I had even taken notice of the powerful message of Lighthouses: protection, warning, and endurance. A lighthouse shines a powerful beam of light for the purpose of saving lives. One of the attendees was part of our prayer team, and God showed her that the Lighthouse theme was to be a part of who we were to be in the future. I’ll never forget her holding the ornament in her hand and saying, “This is it! This is it!"
About a year later, in 2001, we chose the name “Lighthouse Coffee Bar” for a youth concert venue we created from part of our building. Over the next six or seven years, thousands of young people gathered to hear the latest music along with a message of hope. Eventually, we were known as the “Lighthouse Church” in Midlothian, and the theme carried over when we moved the Lighthouse Coffee Bar to an abandoned pawn shop that was adjacent to our property.
Light. Hope. Safety. Protection. These words describe to us God’s message to the world, through the sending of His Son, Jesus, to our dark and confusing world. This message is just as relevant today as it was in the year 2000, or even 2000 years ago.
On October 20, 2019, a tornado completely destroyed the location of our first “Lighthouse” Venue, taking with it some storage areas, including the place where those lighthouse Christmas ornaments were stored. Just a bit of nostalgia? Yes. Can and will it be replaced and rebuilt? A resounding, “Yes!” As one person who had attended those early concerts wrote on social media, “The building is gone. but the memories are not."
At this time we are still awaiting the insurance company’s estimate of the rebuilding costs, which should come at the end of this week. The debris has all been removed, and an empty foundation slab sits where the venue once was. The rest of our main building remains empty as we wait. Our Healing Center, where our church offices are located, has been repaired and we are moving in today! The roof was replaced and the back wall repaired. New carpet, paint, and light fixtures really brighten things! We have completed two beautiful temporary classrooms for our toddlers and elementary children at this location.
Our older children now meet at the “Community Room” located in the front of Lighthouse Coffee. Children are dropped off on Sunday mornings for their own special time of worship and lively, creative Bible teaching, while the adults meet at Vitovsky Elementary just down the road.
We enjoyed several memorable events over the Holidays. Our annual “Carols and Candles” Christmas service was held at Lighthouse Coffee, as well as our New Year’s prayer, worship and sharing time, which we call SEEK. These were very special family times, with all ages packed into the limited space of the Coffee Bar. Overall there is a feeling of hope, anticipation, and joy. We refer to ourselves as “Lighthouse Family” and that has been very much the mood. Outreach to other ministries continue, including a very successful trip to Mexico, and we helped Manna House by purchasing “Christmas Angel” gifts for children.
Storms come and go. Devastation happens. Seasons change. But the Lighthouse is still shining in 2020. We have hope.
Thanks to all who have been a part of the journey!
- Pastor Dan