The Water's Edge Church worshiped in its new building for the first time in March, marking the start of a new chapter for a ministry that began 12 years ago as a multi-site ministry of Faith-Westwood United Methodist Church in Omaha.
From that start, the congregation has grown to about 1,000 adults and about 300 children fifth grade and younger.
The Rev. Craig Finnestad, who has served The Water's Edge congregation since its inception, said the church will continue to live out its mission.
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the World Service Fund is the financial lifeline to a long list of Christian mission and ministry throughout the denomination. Through the Four Areas of Focus churches are Creating new places for new people and revitalizing existing congregations.
Just as Jesus reached out to men who would become His disciples along the shore of Lake Gennesaret, The Water's Edge Church is reaching out to the people of Omaha to make 21s century disciples.
|The Rev. Craig Finnestad prepares to serve communion during the consecration service April 8 at The Water's Edge Church in Omaha. Photo courtesy The Water's Edge.|
"Both Faith-Westwood and the Nebraska Annual Conference were so supportive in the early years, and we wouldn't be where we are today without them," Finnestad said.
The Rev. Doug Delp, current pastor at First United Methodist Church in North Platte, Nebraska, was serving as pastor at Faith-Westwood UMC when the congregation discerned a vision for a multi-site church.
"I think the church had felt like it had become a little inward-focused, so after I had been there awhile, that desire to be outward-focused really began to take hold.
Delp was succeeded at Faith-Westwood UMC several years later by the Rev. Steve Todd. The issue of whether to remain a single church or to transform into two congregations came up almost immediately.
"Bishop Ann Sherer called Craig and me into her office and told us we needed to figure out if we were one church or two," Todd said. "So we began a process of discernment and to help the congregation discern. The vote was something like 90 percent in favor of having Water's Edge become its own church."
While Faith-Westwood re-established its identity, The Water's Edge starting forging its own culture within the ministry context of western Omaha, first at a middle school and then at Millard West High School.
Positively impacting lives is the continuing goal of The Water's Edge.
"The Water's Edge congregation counters the prevailing reality and narrative of mainline church decline as more people, new people, and more divers people find acceptance and belonging in the vibrant faith community," Bishop Saenz said.
"I understand that The Water's Edge leadership is already making plans to build more parking, expand their facilities, and is praying about the launch of a second campus within the next five years," Bishop Saenz said. "Adelante!"
Finnestad said the day of the first worship that chapter one for the church is now completed, and chapter two was just beginning.
"It's been so cool and rewarding to see The Water's Edge grow from a dream to what it is today," Finnestad said.
Todd Seifert, communications director, Great Plains AC
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the World Service Fund is the financial lifeline to a long list of Christian mission and ministry throughout the denomination. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the World Service Fund apportionment at 100 percent.