It began as a small group Bible study at our home in Kansas City. My wife Annie and I invited young adults into our home for food and fellowship with the goal of being a place to meet other young adults and live life with a community. Due to scheduling conflicts, though attendance began to wane, and we decided to take a break from the Bible study and relaunch in the summer of 2017.
When we started the Bible study again, God blessed. People poured in, not just from New Haven, but from other Kansas City churches. There were soon too many people for our home, so we began meeting in the chapel at New Haven. Thirty people attended on a weekly basis and soon it was apparent the small group Bible study format wouldn’t work any longer. We needed to find a new way to keep our community together.
A member at our church, Kyla McAuliffe, reached out to me and shared her vision for starting a Friday night worship service open to the community. Her words were an answer to our prayers. We built a team and recruited people from all ages to lead the different areas such as the worship team, speakers, hospitality, and greeters.
The name SEVEN was chosen because we want to focus on bringing in the Sabbath together. The vision of SEVEN is simple: Love more. We want to be a community striving to love God and love people more, finding ways to build community that focuses on keeping Jesus’ commandment in Luke 10:27: “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart…and love your neighbor as yourself.”
SEVEN began on Jan. 5, 2018, and God has done amazing things. About 80 people attend each Friday and a glance at the audience shows people of all ages, people from almost every Adventist church in Kansas City and people from other Christian churches as well. There is even a pastor from the Church of God (Seventh Day) who brings his family of five each week to welcome in the Sabbath with us. It has been amazing to see the reach SEVEN has had in our community.
SEVEN isn’t perfect—we are still learning how to love more. Yet I am hopeful for the future and know that if we stay faithful to the vision Christ has given us, He will use us for great things.