Every Story Matters!

Posted by Dr. Drew Shofner on

Every story matters! There are 175 more people attending life at The Church at Severn Run than there were a year ago! Every number is a story...every story has a name...every name is near and dear to God -and it matters! Can any of us say, toward God, that someone else's story doesn't...

Running The Race(s) for Severn Run

main image

Stephen Hord is taking life as a Severn Runner “On The Road” literally. Through the heat, through the pain, through the training, and by running races, he strives to raise a donation of $5000 to Severn Run’s On The Road campaign. This is his story.

About two years ago, Stephen Hord and his wife were praying about finding a church close to their home. Although they drove past the church entrance often, one day God tugged on their hearts about visiting The Church at Severn Run. So they did. 

“We walked in and it felt like home so quickly,” Stephen shares. “We even ran into two families we knew.”

Stephen also says that he especially loved the church because we have Run in our name, and the congregation is referred to as Severn Runners.

“There are two activities that I love more than anything else; playing guitar and running,” said Stephen. “I feel most alive and closest to God when I’m out on the road and trails running with praise songs in my ears, (although don’t ask me to repeat that at mile 9 of a race--God is usually carrying me by then!)” he adds. “Long-distance running is such an accurate metaphor for the faith journey…I think this is why it’s one of Paul’s favorite illustrations in his letters to the churches.”

You may have seen Stephen on stage with the worship team, playing guitar. He has been giving music as his offering since coming to Christ. But when he heard about “On the Road” and the church’s mission to become a church of 5,000 believers, he knew he wanted to do more.

“Something was stirring in me to do more, something new, to use my love of running for the Kingdom. That is why throughout the year of 2017 I am running 32 races covering more than 262 miles ‘On the Road for The Church at Severn Run.’”

Because the mileage is the equivalent to 10 full marathons, Stephen has playfully nicknamed this his #yearofinsanity2017.

As we strive to be a church that reaches 5,000 people with the love of Jesus, Stephen has set a goal of raising $5,000 where each dollar represents one person who may or may not know that Jesus loves them.

This hasn’t been an easy endeavor for Stephen. He has fought physical pain, emotional upheaval, and the struggle of keeping his eyes fixed on the task God has set before him.

“Earlier this year, I had a string of difficult races and I even considered throwing in the towel in the middle of one. Then, late in the morning at mile 10 of a half marathon, two visions came rushing into my mind. First, the feeding of the 5,000 reminded me that there are still so many people who are looking to be fed with the miraculous love of Jesus. Then, my mind’s eye saw Jesus carrying the cross. I realized that no amount of temporary pain or discomfort or difficulty that I was experiencing would have stopped Him from his mission. I knew I had to press on. Acts 20:24 says it beautifully. ‘But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly the gospel of the grace of God.’” 

God is teaching him so much as he strives to stay faithful to this calling.

“The mantra I’ve adopted is “Run as far as you can, then take another step,” said Stephen. “It’s only by faith in His strength can I do anything. Proverbs 4:12 promises, ‘When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; and if you run, you will not stumble.’” He holds on to that one.

Stephen needs help to reach his goal of raising $5000.

He has been faithful to his running, and he is looking for others who will also be faithful to God’s tug on their hearts. Stephen is asking for prayer from everyone, as what he is doing takes a toll on the body. He is also asking for donations so he can do what God is asking of him and donate a dollar to On The Road for every member and potential member of our church of 5000.

You can follow Stephen on Facebook (@ facebook.com/thumper135) to see when he races and share your prayers and encouragement.

Please also visit this page  to donate, learn more about Stephen and see his finish times and upcoming races.


On The Road Update

main image

We’re officially six months into our On The Road journey, time for a big update! We’re really happy with how our biggest capital campaign ever is starting out, and we know that God will continue to do amazing things through each one of you who have chosen to participate as well.

The Refresher

Here at The Church at Severn Run our mission is to reach as many people as possible by creatively revealing the love of the Father through the life of the Son in the power of the Spirit. In 2015, God called our Lead Pastor Drew Shofner to begin pursuing our next big milestone: becoming a worshipping community of 5,000 growing disciples. Currently Severn Run is composed of about 1,300 people and we are getting closer each day to maxing out each and every physical resource that we have on our campus to accommodate new Severn Runners. In order to achieve our goal of becoming this amazing community of 5,000 people, we are aiming to raise $6 million that will help us reduce our current financial responsibilities and plan for future expansion opportunities. These funds will also help us increase our mission capital and broaden our ministry friendships both locally and globally.

In February we officially launched On The Road church-wide and gave each one of you the opportunity to join us on the trip of a lifetime! We were really excited to get over $1 million in pledges in the first round of commitments as well as an amazing return from the creative ideas initiated from our $5 jar giveaway back in January.

Where We Stand: Commitments

On page 11 of our On The Road brochure, we set specific Severn Runner giving goals based on family units, and we wanted to give you an update as to where we stand there:

What’s not shown here are the 46 families that have pledged outside of a specific category as well as those of you who have chosen to give without turning in a commitment card.

That being said, our current pledged total is:
$1,007,973 coming from 201 families.

At the end of our two-year campaign we plan to see $2.5 million come from Severn Runners total. That means we’ve got an additional $1,492,027 in pledges and 404 Severn Run families remaining to reach our goal. We can’t wait to see what God does through those who are going to make future commitments.

If you and your family are still deciding on what you can commit to On The Road, feel free to reach out to anyone here on staff with questions you may have along the way. And remember, you can turn in your commitment card any Sunday in the giving basket, or online by visiting ontheroad.severnrun.com.

Where We Stand: Total Given So Far

Severn Runners, you are faithful to your commitments! We are so excited to see that over $187,000 has been given to On The Road so far. We are on track to meet our commitment goal by the end of our two-year campaign, and here’s how we can stay on track! By the end of 2016 we are making it our goal to have at least $500,000 total given to the On The Road campaign. That means we only have $313,000 to go in the final 6 months of the year.

$187,000 Given To Date
$500,000 End Of Year Goal
$313,000 To Go!

Where Do You Stand?

If you’ve committed to On The Road, or given to anything here at The Church at Severn Run this year, you should have received a giving statement in the mail last week. This giving statement is a great way for you to check in on where you stand with your regular tithes and offerings as well as your On The Road Commitment. If you have turned in a Commitment Card to On The Road at any point in time, you will see a quick update of where you stand on the right side of your giving statement. It shows gifts given to date and the balance that remains in order to fulfill your commitment in the next year and half. If you are noticing that your On The Road gifts are not showing up in that column, be sure your gifts are designated clearly in your chosen form of giving.

What’s Next?

Our next big call is coming soon at our 10th Birthday Party this August. We’re praying for this time to be a place where many families are able to commit to the On The Road Campaign for the first time, as well as a time where those who have already committed to continue to listen to God’s call to generosity on their lives. Please join us in praying for our 10th Birthday Party on August 21!

In 2017, we are looking forward to launching the “Ask” portion of the On The Road Campaign that aims to partner with community members and businesses to raise the remaining $3.5 million. Be praying about who you personally know that may be interested in giving towards our goal of becoming a worshipping community of 5000 disciples who will make a huge difference in our community for Jesus.

Ready to Start Now?

If you’re ready to help us meet our year-end goals now, here are a couple of action steps you can take!

Send in your commitment card.
Click here to submit your commitment card to On The Road today. This card lets us know that you are getting On The Road with us and helps us to know where we stand with our goals! Also, did you know that those who commit to On The Road get an awesome free gift from the staff? You may have seen them around!

Set up your On The Road gifts online.
One of the best ways to remain faithful to your On The Road commitment is by setting up a specific recurring gift on our giving page. Click here to visit the giving page to get started.

Helpful tips:

  • Select “On The Road Capital Campaign” under “For.”
  • You can give weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Choose the frequency that is right for you
  • You can set a start and end date right away! Utilize this feature for an easy way to “set it and forget it!”

If you prefer to give in-services each week, be sure to visit the On The Road Pit Stop in the Atrium to pick up a few of our On The Road Giving Envelopes. Stick them in your wallet or Bible to help you remember to give to On The Road at your committed frequency.

We are so excited to see what God will do next through each one of you! Thank you for an amazing start to On The Road, let’s keep the good times rolling.

Every Story Matters!

every story matters

Every story matters! There are 175 more people attending life at The Church at Severn Run than there were a year ago! Every number is a story...every story has a name...every name is near and dear to God -and it matters! 

Can any of us say, toward God, that someone else's story doesn't matter? The heart of our faith is that every life is worth the blood of Christ! Every life is of infinite value to God! That's how He loves and because He values the stories of other people -we do too!

So, we just want to praise God for your willingness to invite others, to be a bridge and help other people know they really matter to God!

Every empty seat represents a story that is probably someone living their life without the knowledge and the benefit of the love of Jesus Christ. Every empty seat represents someone for whom Jesus died, that He's going after--but we're not. From now on, when you see an empty seat, I want you to see a person that we have to get out on the road and reach!

Our purpose as a church is to reach as many people as possible. How we're going to do that? I don't know, we're gonna walk with Jesus and see! We are gonna move out on the road to be creative in revealing the love of the Father in the Life of the Son in the Power of the Spirit and reach as many people as we possibly can because "God so loved the world..." (John 3:16). This is a Jesus-centered journey! He's passionate about every life! Every person matters, every human life is of infinite worth and value to the Lord our God!

Let's keep it up and reach as many people as possible -until heaven is full and hell is as empty as possible, our work isn't done! -Dr. Drew Shofner

The Campus Prayer Walk

main image

The Severn Run Campus Prayer Walk

In the cool breeze and the bright sunshine of a beautiful spring day, on April 24, 2016, Severn Runners participated in a Campus Prayer Walk around The Church of Severn Run. Upon exiting the back of the church building, we donned our sunglasses, turned to the right and began a time of prayer and reflection.

wash hands

Station 1: Clean Hands. Pure Heart                    

…he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:3)

This is actually the way to start any time of prayer. At this station we confessed any sins, grudges or burdens that we were carrying. Then we washed our hands to symbolize that God had cared for and cleansed us of those things.

Station 2: Staff and Ministries   

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (Ephesians 1:15-17)

There are many people who help The Church at Severn Run reach those who need to know Jesus personally. Here, we wrote prayers for our staff and ministries in little journals.

We went through as a family and I was awestruck about how God is working on my children's hearts. The prayers that each one (7 &10) wrote for the staff members were very touching. What they wrote on their footsteps for where they want to go with the Lord showed their conviction, and the names of friends, teachers, and family they put on the wall showed their love
for others. We took our brick home to decide on a verse together and then put it in a place that is visible for all of us to have a daily reminder.”  
-Kari Skelton

Station 3: Our Purpose                  

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

The Church’s mission, commandments, practices, and passions were clearly displayed at this station. We asked God to help us to see and help us fulfill our individual serving places in the purpose of our church.

prayer warrior tree
Station 4: The Tree of Prayer Warriors                      

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)

Here we prayed for the commitment to our passion of “Living Jesus”. We placed our thumb in wet, green paint and then placed it on the tree as a symbol of our commitment to abide in Christ throughout our Severn Run journey.

Station 5: Build the Road         

And it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the road!
    Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”  (Isaiah 57:14)

At this station we prayed that we would do our part to bring the Gospel to those who need to hear it. We were encouraged to take a brick to write a motivational phrase on. Then we placed it somewhere at home where we would be reminded to work hard to spread the Good News. 

“In our congregation we have a wide range of people: from those who are unsure of their faith or just starting out on their walk with Jesus, to folks who are very spiritually mature. It was cool to see the many different approaches people had when walking the brick path and then picking one up and writing a verse or saying to remind them to pray.”

   -Daniel Lenhert

Station 6: Beautiful Feet                     

How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
    “Your God reigns!”   (Isaiah 52:7)

On a long white piece of paper we traced our foot as a reminder that we each have a Jesus story to share with those around us. We prayed to live our lives every day as a witness to those around us; that we would live in such a way it would cause others to want the saving grace that we enjoy.

Station 7: Let’s Go             

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

There was a large map of our area including the location of partner ministries. We put a pin on an area and committed to praying for the people in that specific area for the next two years—that they would come to know Jesus in a personal way.

prayer wall

Station 8: Salvation Station          

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:1. 3-4)

At this station we wrote down names of those in our lives who need to know Jesus on a wristband to wear this week as a reminder to continue to be in prayer for them. We also wrote those names on a glass wall and picked some other names from the wall to pray for as well.

“The wall where we wrote names of people and made the bracelet to wear was great. Names came to mind that I didn't even think of at first. Wearing my bracelet has reminded me to pray for them.”

 -Heather Hartwell

 Station 9: It Will Be Done        

“According to your faith let it be done to you.”  (Matthew 9:29b)

Here, we thanked God for the campus that we have, and asked him for the resources to build more and larger facilities to house the souls that have yet to know Jesus and enjoy a church home. We wrote these prayers on construction flags and claimed the ground for Jesus in faith!

Station 10: I Will Go             

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”  And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”   (Isaiah 6:8)

At this last station we prayed about our personal commitment to stay On The Road over the next 2 years by praying, asking, serving, and giving. We took a cross necklace as a reminder of our commitment. Learn more about what being On The Road means here


The Campus Prayer Walk was a meaningful way to engage with the campus and pray about the work that has already been done at the Church of Severn Run, how we see him at work in our daily lives, and anticipate in faith what God will continue to do.

Enjoy a brief slideshow of pictures taken during the Campus Prayer Walk by following this link.


The Ignition Banquet Kicks Off On The Road

main image

On Friday, February 18, over 400 people gathered at the Ignition Banquet in the Worship Center that was transformed into a banquet hall to launch our On The Road capital campaign.

The evening was filled with fun, food, games and great conversation. A meal of salad, rice, chicken and green beans was expertly served by the boys and girls of Club 56 who generously volunteered their time to serve the food and bus the tables.


Pastor John and Bonni Mace hosted a fun game based on The Price is Right where in two rounds five contestants bid on the cost of various items on the Severn Run budget. People were amazed that the yearly toilet paper budget was under $500. Lee Nicholas won the game’s showcase by correctly guessing the monthly budget for the building’s mortgage.

Although the evening was wrought with fun and games and ended with a great time of worship led by the Worship Tribe, the purpose of the evening was to share the vision for the Future of Severn Run.

It is not enough to just be a church; there is a larger purpose—to creatively reveal the love of the Father through the life of the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit to our community until everyone has heard the message of God’s love.

And in order to grow our church community from 1200 to 5000+ disciples, we must first share about Jesus. Second, we must have the kind of space that allows all of those people to have a place to worship, serve and grow. And this is what On The Road is about—to gather the resources to expand ministry and friendships, and to create environments to make room for everyone.

This campaign isn’t just about a building—we are each challenged to give all we can so God can use our investment to reduce our current mortgage, increase our missions and other partnership involvement, reach more people in our community, and plan for future expansion.

There are four specific ways you can get On The Road: Give, Serve, Ask and Pray. When you give an offering (beyond your tithe) designated to On The Road each month for the next two years, you help us get closer to implementing the vision God has given. When you serve by helping with events, or by joining other areas of the On The Road Serve Team, you help make the journey a success. By asking others to help, or inviting them to be a part of Severn Run, you can help others experience the blessing of extravagant giving. And when you pray, you help fuel the journey and guard against mishaps. 

And so we ask that you prayerfully consider the role God has for you over the next two years that we are On The Road. Remember that even a small gift is not small at all when you put it into the hands of God.

Learn more about On The Road.


Read Severn Run Stories, be inspired, and stay up to date with what's happening here!