I’m in my 23rd year here at Pantano, and there has never been a new year with so much change and a profound sense of a new beginning. I believe God has timed everything to help us start 2022 fresh and new.
Our remodeled auditorium is almost done. The carpet will be finished this week, and the theater seats will hopefully be installed at the end of January (due to supply chain issues; we have temporary chairs set up)! We are installing the sound, lights, cameras, and video wall this week. We’ve moved the Café back inside. Since holiday break has ended, let’s all reconnect this Sunday as we start a new year and launch a new teaching series!
New Lead Pastor
Pantano has its 9th Lead Pastor – Trevor DeVage. Trevor will be with us the next two Sundays! Trevor and I are in a season of transition from now until the end of May. I’ll continue to lead and teach as the Campus Pastor until Trevor and his family move here in June. Trevor and I will be developing my new job description this spring that will take effect this summer. We’ll officially install Trevor as our new Pastor on Sunday, January 16th, and he’ll be teaching that day.
New Teaching Series
This Sunday (January 9th), we’ll start a new teaching series called Rooted. “Rooted” is our church One Word for 2022. It’s based on Colossians 2:6-7, and I’ll be sharing what it means for us. I’ll also be asking you to prayerfully identify your One Word for the year based on the idea of “rooted.” I really like how Jeremiah uses the rooted metaphor; take a moment to reflect on these verses:
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8
A New Beginning
Michael Goodwin has been hired as the new Lead Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church (Alvernon/Pima). He starts on January 10th! I’m so excited to launch Michael to help Emmanuel be a life-giving church in a part of town that so needs Jesus. Our Elders will be ordaining Michael this Sunday, affirming our confidence in his call, character, and gifting. Pantano will continue to partner with Michael to help him thrive in his new role.
And Some Things Never Change
There’s lots of change and new things at Pantano these days. But, some things never change. Over the holiday break, I reflected on how amazing you are, Pantano. When I say that, I’m talking about YOU. I’m so proud of our church! You are generous! You serve our church, each other, and you serve our community in amazing ways. You faithfully give so we can to accomplish the mission God has given us. For our Christmas Eve offering, you gave $95,888 to support the Tucson Homeless Work Program. Wow! That’s incredible! Thank You! I’m so grateful to be able to serve with you all.
With Christmas, the auditorium remodel nearing completion, and a new Lead Pastor confirmed, we’ve got quite a few new things coming. I know change is challenging for many. But these changes are leading us to an exciting great beginning for 2022 and beyond. Here’s what’s coming so you can keep track…
THIS Sunday (12/19) – Our volleyball court, used for our overflow during our auditorium renewal, will be closed to complete the remodeling. Our overflow is moved to the Student Union for this Sunday only.
6 pm Christmas Eve Service at the Tucson Convention Center. Things to remember:
Sunday, December 26 – No Sunday Services
There will be no Sunday services the day after Christmas. To give our staff and volunteers a break from this busy season and allow them to rest and spend time with their families, we’ll be closing our offices from December 27 to December 31, 2021.
Sunday, January 2 – Special Prayer Service
Sunday, January 9 – First Sunday Service in the Remodeled Auditorium
This will be our first regular service in our newly renovated auditorium. We’ll kick off the new year with our focus as a church for 2022, and our new Lead Pastor, Trevor DeVage, will be with us on campus!
Sunday, January 16 – Auditorium Remodel Celebration and Trevor DeVage Preaching
Today, we’ll formally celebrate our auditorium remodel! We’ll have Eegee’s, Krispy Kreme donuts, and the rock wall will be open for the adventure-seekers! We’ll officially pass the torch to our new Lead Pastor, and Trevor will give his first message.
There’s been a lot to beat us down these last couple of years. Covid related issues, racial conflict, political polarization, and more. It’s been a tough couple of years at Pantano as well. We’ve had more than usual staff turnover (like the rest of the country!). There’s no systemic problem here, as each person’s departure was unique. But that change has been disheartening, and it has especially affected our students. Relationships are important! Then, add that during Covid I announced our search for my successor. More unsettledness. Then, add the disruption of remodeling our auditorium…lots of challenge, change, transition, and uncertainty. That’s not good for a church or any group of people. But today, I’m so encouraged. Here’s why…
Serve Our City
This Sunday (November 14) is one of the best Sundays of the year. It’s Serve Our City day. Over 1000 folks have committed to serving all over Pima County. 11 other churches are joining us, and there’s still time to sign up! Find your place to serve by going to https://pantano.church/serveourcity/. Remember that we will not have regular Sunday services as we’ll be the church out in the city.
Our auditorium remodel is coming along well. The construction crew did their final cement pour this week. It’s all looking good for us to use the new room in January. But please pray, as our biggest concern is that the chairs arrive with enough time for installation. Shipping concerns are a challenge for everyone! By the way, you can help us pay for the remodel by giving to our Building Fund – Room for More at https://pushpay.com/g/pantano. And, we’ve got some great things planned for January to start the new year better than ever!
New Lead Pastor
We have a very promising candidate who has been enthusiastically endorsed through all the interviews that are a part of our process. We’ve carefully vetted him. Keep praying, as we will likely make an offer this week. It’s not done, but we are close. I can’t wait to introduce my successor to you. I’m so excited and encouraged!!! I’ll be giving you an update and more details soon.
Christmas Eve Service
I’m also so excited about our Christmas Eve service at the Tucson Convention Center (December 24, 6 pm). I love that we’ll all get to be together for one service! We are inviting the city, and we’ve got some ways to encourage our guests to begin a journey of faith. Plan now to invite your friends, family, and your “one” to join you. You don’t want to miss this.
I can also add how exciting it’s been to see and connect with so many new folks who are visiting Pantano for the first time each week. I’m encouraged that God is bringing us through a season of challenge and change!
We are finally starting the auditorium remodeling project! Before I get into the details about the necessary moves to make this happen, I’ll explain the WHY behind the remodel; the carpet is 30 years old and beyond repair, the pews are breaking, and more importantly, we need to fix the dangerous slope. But, there’s a more significant reason; We want to have a facility that is welcoming to not only those who follow Jesus but to those who have yet to connect with God through Jesus. Like Jesus, our focus is always on those who are yet to step into faith. Target and other retailers remodel their facilities every seven years. Those who didn’t, like Kmart and Sears, are out of business! Churches don’t have to be fancy, but those who fail to keep their facilities up find they can’t connect with new folks.
We will be holding services during construction! Starting this week, we are configuring Coop Court (the indoor cafe prior to COVID) for our worship experience. We are putting in wires, lights, sound, and a stage. Seating will be on the flat floor. So, Coop Court will not be open for the next two weeks and until we all meet there on August 29th (when we’ll close the auditorium, as that’s when the demo starts). Until then, we’ll continue to meet in the auditorium and Volleyball Court. Beginning August 29th, we’ll offer overflow seating in our Volleyball Court with an extra-large screen to view services in that area if you arrive late or want more physical distance.
Our lobby will remain open and available during services.
Restarting Our 1 pm Service
We will also be adding our 1 PM service time again! May I encourage you to consider our 1 pm service to make more room for others, especially guests, at 9 am or 11 am? The 1 pm service time is an excellent option if you like to sleep in or if you want to take advantage of the cooler morning hours to get work done around the house.
Café, Kids, and Students
Our Café will be extending its hours and will remain open up until the 1 pm service. Students will not be holding services during the 1 pm service time, however, our Kids Ministry will be offering nursery and preschool for kids ages 0 – 5 years old.
Our online services will continue to be available for all three service times, as well as on-demand throughout the week.
You can go to our remodel webpage to see what the project will look like when it’s finished. We’ll keep this page updated with any new information. You can reserve a pew if you’d like one for your patio, to make a kitchen table nook, or however you would like to use one! Visit https://pantano.church/remodel/ for more information.
Change is never easy or fun. But this change will be worth it. Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation!