by: Dan Jarvis
Our staff team recently discussed some of the goals we have for this particular season of church life. In the midst of uncertainty, it's easy to switch to "survival" mode and to lose track of the bigger picture. I was really encouraged by what was shared - and I think you will be too. So, here are the highlights:
GOALS for the rest of 2020
1. Unity. We all know we're being tested in a massive way in this regard - to let little things become big things - to get fed up and frustrated and maybe even furious at what's going on in our world. Some of those emotions converge in our church interactions - or at least, they can. So, will you pray with us about maintaining unity? Whether you take this as good news or bad news, I'm not sure - but every other church leader I've spoken with (from other churches) reports similiar challenges. Even churches in other countries are contending with the same mixed up dynamics. We aren't alone, and we'll make it through this - stronger if we stick together and stay on mission.
2. Memories. This is defintely a pivotal year in modern history - a year people will look back on. When we look back at church life this year - what will we see? We want to make this year count! Remember that Easter Sunday morning in, when we watched church in our homes? Remember that summer we invited our neighbors to church in our own backyards? When we watched like 10 copies of Trevor, our worship director, singing in harmony on our living room TV screens? Remember that time we had a big tent revival? Or when we had hamburgers outdoors during a congregational townhall? Remember how much we grew spiritually that year? When we matured in our application of the faith to a tough circumstance? When God used all of it to prepare us for the next step in our lives?
3. Re-engagement. It's no secret that our sense of community together has taken a hit in 2020 - because, well, that "together" part has been complicated. It still is. Our goal is to help each person who is willing find a fresh sense of "together" during the days ahead - whether continuing in something great you already have going, or filling in a desperately missing-blank in life. We were built to do life together - and if nothing else, this year has shown us how true that sentiment is. Right now we estimate that a little over half of our church family has been able to re-engage in physical worship services or groups. But there are still quite a few people who are disconnected. Let's all work together to reconnect and reengage!
4. Prepare for Discipleship Launch. At the beginning of this year, we cast a vision of a discipleship strategy that would engage our church family in real forward motion personally toward effectiveness and fruitfulness. We were building a plan that would help ALL of us move to the next level in our walk with Christ. Then, urrggh. Well, you know what happened then [covid]. So, here we are, set back a few months, but desiring to launch boldly into this vision next fall. The work of disciple-making is always "on" for Christians - our prayer is that this strategy will give all of us some tracks to run on and make it more intentional in our lives.
5. People Coming to Christ. 2020 is a fantastic year to become a Christian, wouldn't you agree? We've seen multiple people join our church family during our digital season, and we've made all sorts of new connections. That's exciting. We're asking the Lord to use our church family (that's you!) to bring even more people - not just into the church (although that's great) but into the kingdom. In the end, none of us are very concerned about how big our church gets, but we are concerned about people meeting Jesus and beginning a personal relationship with God. THAT's the main thing.
Hope this offers you a few ideas for how you can pray and participate with us in the days ahead. There are SO many opportunities to love, serve, and share.
Mission Reminder for the Week
Loving one more can begin in our prayers - not only to ask the Lord "who" but also to ask Him to provide for the "how". I've always been amazed at how God provides for those who take steps of faith and obedience - particularly when you are serving those in need (remember James 1:27?). Today, take a moment to pray for more opportunities to love one more - and pray for the money, energy, and ideas you'll need to be able to follow through!