Merry Christmas!! Reflecting on 2018

To all our RFC Family and friends: As we celebrate this Christmas season and the coming New Year, I can’t help but look back and see where God has brought us and what God has done for ALL of us this year. One year ago, if you had asked me and Dianne, Jon and Jean, Andrew or any of us what we were anticipating in 2018, starting a new church ministry would not have been on the list. Yet here we are. Together! Restoration Fellowship Church! A wonderful, warm, welcoming, worshipping family of believers!

From that first meeting together on April 29th to today, God has been in all that we have done. Some of you have been with us since that first Sunday as we gathered in the Kathleen High School auditorium; hurting and a little fearful, but excited to be together in a new ministry. We leaned on each other and our Lord to show us the direction He would take us and what He would have us do. Some of you have come over the months or recently joined us. Some are among our many Internet members. But you are ALL a part of the reason why God has and is continuing to bless Restoration Fellowship Church.

We have been challenged and inspired with the teaching and preaching of a number of guest pastors – Jay Ahlemann, Scott Priest, Aaron Malbuff, Brian Gash, our own Duane Smith and Jon Betz, our City of Lakeland mayor, Bill Mutz, Ken Taylor, Terry Wilcox, Norman Wilson and, of course, our pastor and friend, Charles Kirby. We have seen our choir grow in number and spirit as they brought our congregation into worship each week. This past Sunday evening, we were overwhelmed with thanksgiving at the response to our first musical, “Christmas is Jesus”, a worship experience that saw more people than ever before enter the doors of RFC and join together in praise as we celebrated the reason for this special season.

We have been amazed as God, through your faithful giving, has provided for each and every need. He literally opened the doors for us when we had nowhere to go, and in minutes, did what everyone said should have taken months. And we have rejoiced in the ministries of RFC – the weekly prayer meetings and men’s Bible study, the ladies’ fellowships, and the monthly potlucks. We have experienced the blessing of giving to others as we established Christ-centered mission projects to richly bless both the community and the students of Kathleen High School!

Psalm 23:3 says, “He restores my soul!” We adopted this from our very first Sunday, and it is true each and every time we serve Him in ministry to others. Restoration, fellowship, and church are not independent of each other. Rather, they are co-dependent and inseparable. We are restored as we fellowship with believers, and more importantly, as we are the church of Christ to a world in need. And a church like ours doesn’t happen without the help of each and every one of you: those who come in on Saturdays to setup and clean, those who operate sound and video each service, those who decorate and make our meeting place a sanctuary, those who greet, who usher, who tear down each Sunday, who go into the neighborhood and invite people to come, those who give and especially those who pray!

We love you all and wish you a God-filled, Christ-centered, joyful Christmas season and a New Year focused on Him and His kingdom. As a wise man (Charles Kirby) has often said, “The BEST is yet to come!”


-Darrel Gash Minister of Worship, Restoration Fellowship Church of Lakeland