The Butterfly Effect

How the Church Went Viral

By Darren Sloniger, February 11, 2024

Butterfly Effect-Small,seemingly trivial events may ultimately result in something with much larger consequences –For instance, when a butterfly flaps its wings in India, that tiny change in air pressure could eventually cause a tornado in Iowa.

8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of various Jewish sects—who began to argue with Stephen. 10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke. 12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. (Acts 6)

54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious with him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

And Saul approved of their killing him.(Acts 8:1)

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.(Acts 8:1-3)

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.

20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. (Acts 11)

“Preach the Gospel…sometimes if necessary use words.” (St. Francis)

The Lord’s hand was with them, (Acts 11:21)

and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.(Acts 11:26)

(2 Timothy 1:7) For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline…


Starting Point | Starting Point is for those who are new to West Ridge – and we define “new” as anyone who still wants more basic info about the story, vision, mission, and plan for West Ridge. If you’re new enough that you still just have “a toe in the water,” come get your questions answered, and hear what West Ridge is all about. Join us on February4th for an evening of good food, great wine (or punch), and casual conversation with staff and key leaders. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Financial Peace University | there’s one way out of the mess of debt, and it starts right here with you. You can change your future today by joining our Financial Peace University workshop at West Ridge. You’ll learn to pay off debt fast, save more money, and build lasting wealth. The workshop starts on Sunday, February 18, 2024, so sign up here.

Half Step to Serving | Half Step to Serving is a one-time gathering on Sunday, February 25th for 25 minutes to allow anyone interested in volunteering to hear from a few ministry team leaders about how to connect and serve on their teams. The meeting will be in the cafe space immediately following the 10:30 am service.

Splash and Swim - “Splash & Swim” is a family fun night in Adventure Island, the indoor water park inside The Centre of Elgin. A perfect winter reprieve. This is a free event just for West Ridge and it is a great chance to meet new people and for kids to make new friendships on February 17th.

Nica Work Trip Meeting | Curious about serving our friends in Nicaragua on an upcoming work trip? Stop by the Cafe after the second service on Sunday, February 11th for a short meeting to discuss what it all entails.

Bunco Night - Join us on the 4th Friday of every month for Bunco night! Bring friends or meet some new ones playing an easy-to-learn dice game. In less than 5 minutes you’ll be an expert. Click here for details and to RSVP.

Well-Watered Women's Retreat | As women, we need opportunities to hit “pause” on our daily rhythms and gather together to be encouraged, equipped, and strengthened in our faith. Join us for our retreat this March 15 – 17th. Early Bird registration is open now.

Tuesday Night Tune-up | Are Sunday services enough for you? Might a deeper and relational mid-week “tune-up” experience be that one thing you find lacking as you go through the sometimes muddy waters of this thing we call life? We meet weekly at 7:00 pm at West Ridge. REGISTER HERE

Support Groups - Life can be tough and sometimes you need a group to support you as you walk through trauma, Grief, Divorce or Separation. It helps us heal and to go through life’s challenges together. West Ridge’s groups are led by people who understand what you are going through and want to help. Click here for more info.

Men's Breakfast this Saturday the 10th - REGISTER NOW

Faith and Fellowship - The Women of West Ridge ministry exists to provide women the opportunity to intentionally grow in their faith. Come be intentional: Show up twice a month and build connections with other women. Have a safe place to share, to pray, to learn, and to encourage one another.We will meet on the second and fourth Mondays of every month at 7:00 pm in the Cafe. REGISTER HERE

Interested in taking your next step in Journey - Register here - we would love to help.

WR Cares Meals team - Does one meal make a difference in someone's life? If you have walked through a hard season, you know some of the most basic things can make you feel loved and seen. If you are interested in serving in this way click here and choose WR Cares.

DISCOVER YOUR INNER BARISTA TODAY! The Café is looking for a few friendly faces. No coffee drinking experience is necessary! This is a great opportunity for families looking to volunteer together (8th grade and up). Also, for High School students this barista opportunity looks great on a college application and the West Ridge Cafe can also provide you with volunteer credit. Details here

The Center for the Arts | (CFA) offers lessons to all ages and skill levels by mature, experienced and highly skilled musicians who are currently involved in the music at West Ridge and active as performers. For more information about Private Lessons click here.

West Ridge Connection Card | Do you have a prayer request, recently moved, changed numbers or your e-mail address? Let us know below. Or if you would like more information about West Ridge, please click here.

Give Online | Giving at West Ridge is out of gratitude to God, not out of obligation. Give via the app by clicking the GIVE icon below.