DAWNINGS: One proud pastor

By Rev. Dr. Dawn Weaks 

Pastor, Connection Christian Church 

This month marks our eight-year anniversary as pastors at Connection Christian Church here in Odessa. My husband Joe and I came to serve in 2014, when the price of oil was sky-high and there were no houses to be had in the Permian Basin. We have seen the area grow even more numerically, in its cultural offerings, and in its educational opportunities. There’s a lot that makes me proud to be an Odessan! But of course, like any proud pastor, a big part of what makes me proud are the people of our congregation.

Eight years ago, our historic congregation took a huge leap of faith. Our leaders courageously and prayerfully considered how to be faithful with the resources God had given us so that we could reach future generations with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our discernment led to the selling of our downtown property and moving into a newly renovated building over by the mall. But our shift was more than a change of venue, which was actually the fourth location for the church in its 116 years of serving this community. Our biggest shift was that we determined to be more about blessing others than about maintaining the status quo. That decision alone has prompted many opportunities for our church’s spiritual and numerical growth as we try to keep up with the growth of the community around us. It seems when we say “yes” to serving others, God abundantly provides the ways and the means for us to do so.

Chalice Press just published a little book I wrote telling the story of the journey of our congregation’s transformation. Called Breakthrough: Trusting God with Big Change in Your Church, it highlights the special leaders in our congregation who took faithful risks in order to make room for God to do a new thing.

Now that the book has come out, I am hearing from church leaders all over the United States who are reading it. Their churches are struggling with shrinking attendance and budgets, especially after COVID. It is such a joy to tell them that yes, right here in Odessa, Texas, God showed up for our church, so God will show up for them, too. Every community needs churches who are willing to make the choice to serve others even more than themselves, no matter the cost. I am thankful for all of the many churches here in Odessa who do just that, especially mine.