A Note From Chris May 6, 2021

Earlier today, our elders said our goodbyes to Luke Schellhammer, who is moving to Michigan later this month. Luke has served as an elder the last 3 years, 2 as the head of our elders. I love Luke and Ali’s story, because I have personally seen the hand of God move powerfully in their lives. As servant leaders in our church, Luke and Ali and their girls were among the first to commit to launch the O’Fallon Campus in 2017, and have remained faithful servants for the entire journey. They don’t live in O’Fallon. They are just passionate about being a part of launching things that honor God and reach people with the gospel.


I celebrate with the Schellhammers today, because they were not always so faithfully committed. Years ago, they were Saturday night attenders, and literally sat on the very back row at the Shiloh campus. In a desire to help them connect, I often joked with them about moving up one row the following weekend closer to the stage. They didn’t. But God got a hold of their family, and a switch flipped within them. Over time, their faith went from attending church to serving the church. They stopped going to church and started being the church. Luke went from an attender of some men’s ministry events to a leader in training to the head of our elders. Ali went from someone not exactly loving crowds to a weekly servant among our setup team in O’Fallon. Their teen daughters Mackenzie and Madison jumped on board, too, serving in a variety of roles. Over the last few weeks as he is preparing to leave the area for his home state of Michigan, I’ve heard Luke say several times, “We will never be the same."


What was it? Did the sermons get that much better? Hopefully! But that isn’t it. Did the worship music improve or the coffee and doughnuts really hit the spot? Did something in the services or even in the opportunities change dramatically? Not really. It was within them. They chose to truly live out our church values like Get Messy and Pour It Out in their faith. They started praying more and soaking in God’s Word. They made their presence among other people all about other people and not about themselves. Are they perfect? I think they would quickly tell you they are not. But they are transformed.


As the elders shared and prayed over Luke this morning, we also presented him with a sword, representing the sword of the Spirit, God’s Word. On it is inscribed this quote: “Ephesians 6 – God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. Stand firm.”


And they will. Not because they are uniquely gifted or qualified. They will likely be mortified to be the focus of this note. They would tell you, “We are no better than anyone else.” And that is the point! They are not. They are just willing servants who are willing to be transformed.


Luke and Ali and the PCS families and the others leaving our area in the next few months leave a significant gap in service areas and leadership. It will take willing servants who are ready to move from the back row to the team of servants to accomplish what God has for us in the next season. Perhaps He is calling you to step up? Maybe this is your time to be transformed and commit yourself to serving His church in ways you have not been recently.


This weekend, we look at the next story in our Signs of Life series through John. Please read John 5 as we prepare for worship together.

Yours and His, 
Chris VandeLinde

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