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!
One of the key characteristics and core to our DNA as a church is to be externally focused. That means that while we care for and disciple our own folks who regularly attend, we also make sure that we are engaged in serving our city and beyond. We will never lose sight of reaching those who are not connected to Jesus or a church, one at a time. We’ll keep looking for ways to serve our city. Here are some updates from Pastor Michael, who leads our Outreach Team.
Compassion International, Santa Rosa, Ecuador
We have received an update from Compassion International about the church and Compassion Center we are helping build in Santa Rosa, Ecuador, with last year’s Christmas Eve offering. In their update, we learned that this church is actively engaged in evangelism, and they recently saw 300 people come to Jesus within 60 days! A revival is breaking out! This news blows us away, and we’re excited to be partnered with a group of people so committed to Jesus and the community they are called to serve.
You can read all about this update and see some pictures by [CLICKING HERE].
We’ll start sponsoring the kids at this church on August 29th. Start praying now about being a sponsor to a child in Santa Rosa, Ecuador.
J. B. Wright Elementary, Amphi Middle School, and Craycroft Elementary
For the past year, we partnered with J.B. Wright Elementary in a variety of ways. We helped clean their campus, assisted families and children during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and did a large shoe and school shirt donation drive at the beginning of this year. They were so grateful. Pantano delivered in a huge way! Thank you! This was possible because our Mighty Mentor team, led by Faye Chandler, and Deanna Campos, the school principal, opened the doors wide to us.
Deanna is now the principal at Amphi Middle School and has asked the Mighty Mentors and Pantano to follow her there. We go where the doors are open! We have already started our partnership by providing over 250 backpacks for this school.
J. B. Wright Elementary has not been abandoned. Elements City Church will continue to support J. B. Wright, so they will continue to be blessed!
We also delivered 150 backpacks to Craycroft Elementary school for their students.
Serve Our City – Sunday, November 14
Mark your calendars as our next Serve Our City is coming this November. Over a dozen other churches are joining us as we make a difference in Tucson.
Thank you Pantano for continually Loving People to Jesus – both in Tucson and around the world!
Glen ElliottSubscribe: https://pantano.church/blogsubscription
Yes, I know the word “amazing” is overused, but I don’t have a better word to describe two amazing things that are part of Pantano. These two things make a huge difference in lives; in people they were designed to serve both in our city and in our church.
Serve our City
I’m so excited to announce that we are going to be doing Serve Our City again this year. Here’s how it works: on Sunday, November 17th, we’ll forego having regular services in our auditorium and do service in our city. Instead of gathering to worship, we’ll scatter to share the love of Jesus throughout our community. Put the date on your calendar and watch for more information on how you can sign up a bit later. We’ll have lots of serving opportunities for you as an individual, as a family or as a small group. There will be various kinds of service projects from which you’ll be able to choose. This day will be an amazing day for our city.
Our New Student Union
We had an incredible open house on Sunday as a couple thousand of us got to see the inside of the new Student Union for the first time. And this Sunday (8/25), our students will have their first full service in their new facility! Two Sundays ago, we had 305 students on campus, and it was standing room only in their old digs. This past Sunday, we had 381 – 76 more than the previous Sunday. I’m pretty sure our students will be inviting even more of their friends to join them. We couldn’t wait any longer to open and use this high tech, highly interactive environment that’s perfect for students.
I’ve been at Pantano 21 years, and in doing that math, that means I’ve been here for over 1,000 Sundays. I’ve had some great Sundays at Pantano, but this celebration of our students and the open house was my favorite Sunday of them all. Why? It was so fun to watch everyone as they got their first look at the inside of the Student Union. It was fantastic. Folks were smiling, grateful, and excited for the amazing experience this building will provide students. I was so jazzed to see the unified love and commitment for our students from those of us who call Pantano home. I love that we are a church that so values our children, students, and young people. Thank you, Pantano!
Thank you to all who helped make this possible! However, we still need to finish paying off the construction loan. It will take about $2.3 million to free us from this debt. I’m praying we can do this quickly so we can free up funds in our regular budget for more ministry and service to the people at our church, in our city and around the world. If you haven’t given or can give in addition to previous gifts, please prayerfully consider a generous one-time or regular donation in addition to your regular giving. To pay down the loan, we’ll need everyone sacrificing something. You can give on our mobile app, or online, with a check or cash, stock, or property. Just designate your gift to Room for More. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Let’s truly finish this project!
Sunday, December 30th
Well, this is my last blog for 2018. The year is coming to a close and we are looking forward to 2019. This Sunday, December 30th, Brian and Mandy Lucas will bring an incredible message about the rhythm of looking back and looking forward. I’ve heard their message and it’s terrific – it’s practical and encouraging. With them speaking in our adult services, I’m freed up to get to speak to our students! I love having that opportunity. It’s important that I get to connect with our students every once in a while.
On January 6th we’ll start a new teaching series called Transform. God is in the business of transforming what currently exists to become something that has his imprint. He wants to transform us to become more like Jesus. But, he doesn’t stop with us. He wants to use our church to transform our city in unity with and through other churches of all kinds. In this series, we’ll look at God’s transformative work in us, through us and with others in our city. We’ve got a great series planned, with something special each week. Come each week open to God’s Spirit. If you do, you might find yourself being transformed!
Transformation happens best when we focus on one thing at a time, so we’ll start the Transform series by looking at the use of “one word.” This is the fifth year we’ve done this project. We seek God and ask him for the one word that captures the most important change or transformation he wants in our life. One word allows God to do his laser-focused transforming thing in us. You’ll get to hear a story of one person God transformed last year through their one word. I’ll guide you through discovering and then living out your one word for 2019.
Serve Our City
In my first blog for 2019 as well as during service on January 6th, I’ll update you on our Serve Our City event that happened on Sunday, December 23rd. As I write this, about 1,000 of us have signed up to Serve Our City on December 23rd. Way to go, Pantano!
I truly hope for all of us a blessed New Year as we follow Jesus.
I want to wish you a very merry Christmas. In the midst of all the activity of this season, may we all remember that God came to us to be WITH us to show us how much he is FOR us and loves us. May we find gratitude in God taking the initiative to come to us to draw us back to him.
Serve Our City – Sunday, December 23rd
Remember, there are no regular Sunday services this coming Sunday, December 23rd. Rather, we are taking our church to our city. Most of the pre-planned service activities were filled by last Sunday but check the website here as some spots have opened up. Or, look for a person or family in your neighborhood or your circle of connections that you might serve; check our “Serve Your Neighborhood” option (here) to get some ideas and register. Be prayerful (ask God) and creative! Don’t just take the Sunday off; use the time to be WITH someone and show them you and God are FOR them.
Our basic serving times will be 9:30 to 11:30 AM. Don’t forget to wear your t-shirt and post your pictures with #serveourcity and #pantanochristian. Children’s programming is available on campus (BY RESERVATION ONLY) from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM for children birth through 4 years old. Children 5 and older should plan to join their families for appropriate projects as noted in descriptions. Please RSVP for children’s programming here.
Christmas Eve Services – Monday, December 24th
Our services are at 1, 3, 5, and 7 PM. They are one-hour, family-friendly services. We’ll have songs we can sing as well as some special songs. I’ll share a short message. We’ll end with candle lighting. And, every year we add some sort of surprise! We’ll have children’s programming up to age 6 (no registration needed), if that is helpful for your family. It’s not too late to invite folks to join you. And as usual, we’ll have cookies and hot chocolate in the courtyard and photo booths in the lobby for family Christmas photos. Plus, it is the one time of the year you’ll see me in a tie!
Sunday, December 30th
I’m really excited about the message that Brian and Mandy Lucas will be sharing the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s. They’ve developed an amazing teaching to help us look back to 2018 and look forward to 2019.
Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed so at Pantano we are officially entering our Christmas season! Here’s an overview of what we have planned for Christmas this year. This Sunday we’ll start our three-week Christmas series called Bring Christmas Home. And that just kicks things off!
December Nights are back and we’ve expanded it one night and added some new things to make it even better. The event is free (except for the hayrides and food for purchase). We are adding a new live “Road to Bethlehem” experience. And of course, you’ll be able to roast marshmallows, sing Christmas carols on a horse-drawn carriage, get your free family Christmas portrait (those are often such a pain to schedule…right?!), or join us for a snowball fight. There will be crafts, cookie decorating and a whole lot more including live entertainment.
This year we’ll have the event on Friday and Saturday nights from 5:30-8:30PM on December 7, 8 and 14, 15.
Go to mypantano.church to sign up to serve as we still need volunteers and/or some of the supplies so we can keep this a free event. And, you can sign up and pay for hayride tickets. Just click here for all things December Nights! Don’t forget to invite family and friends to join you!
Serve Our City – December 23rd
I’m so excited about how we are going to bring Christmas home to our city in a unique way this year; on Sunday, December 23rd, instead of having our usual church services on our campus, we are going to “be” the church by going out and serving our community and neighborhoods. We’ll be doing some work projects (cleaning, painting, etc.) at both the new Gospel Rescue Mission Center of Opportunity and GAP Ministries. We’ll also have a variety of other ways you, your family (and yes, kids too!) and friends or small group can serve. We’ll also have a few projects on our campus if you are unable to drive to another location. We’ll have special Serve Our City t-shirts for anyone who signs up. You can sign up at mypantano.church. We’ll be talking about this all of December and more information will be coming soon. Plan to use that Sunday morning to bring the spirit of Christmas to your community.
Christmas Eve Services – December 24th
As you’ve come to expect, we put on a terrific one-hour Christmas Eve service for the whole family with a short, clear gospel message, singing, and candle lighting. This year we’ll have 4 services at 1, 3, 5, and 7PM. We’ll have children’s programming available for children up to 6 years of age. Invite others to join you at this great event!
Christmas Eve Offering
Our annual Christmas Eve offering will go in its entirety to support the new Center of Opportunity (4550 S. Palo Verde – south of Ajo Way); it will be a full service, one-stop location for those who are homeless or in crisis. The organization has been given the old Holiday Inn conference center that has over 300 rooms and a lot of space for all the critical services necessary to help the homeless become self-sufficient. We are excited to actually serve there for our Serve Our City Sunday and provide funds to help them convert the rooms and spaces to serve the homeless in our city. You can give online or at the service.
We hope you are able to join us at one or all of our Christmas season events, as we “Bring Christmas Home” this December!