2012 delivered a variety of opportunities to grow in the study of the Word. We worked through the book of the Kings, II Timothy, and Obadiah in our Sunday morning worship time and also spent time topically looking at several benchmarks of what a healthy church looks like. Those who participated in the Sunday School hour reaped the benefit of looking into the lives of several Old Testament saints, understanding Christian parenting and marriage, and grasping the messages of 1 John and Galatians. Sunday evening time together brought us into a deeper understanding of our Gospel identities in Christ and what their implications are: our identity in Christ as a family that gathers, disciples who grow, servants that give, and missionaries that go. We were also able to have several of our men use their individual personalities and understanding to present the book of Philippians passage by passage on Sunday evenings, and have most recently closed out a study of the joy of heaven with our Pastor Emeritus. Wednesday evenings were designed to challenge us in our theology of prayer as we looked at each of Paul’s prayers in the New Testament and the priorities of content he included in his prayers. This Fall, Evangelist Jerry Svinksty challenged us on 6 different topics from the Word as well. A good question to ask then of each one of us is, did the Word that I heard in 2012 fall on good ground and bear fruit?
2012 also delivered a variety of opportunities to serve in. There were many ministries that carried on as before and some new ones as well. Many things done with the heart of a servant go unrecognized and unnoticed, whether a kind note passed on, a meal for a family, a ride provided, helping with a work project, cleaning, working with the nursing home, teaching a kids class, etc. Some others naturally attract more attention as an event style such as our new MC Hoops outreach, Good News Clubs, Kids’ Day Camp, Awana, Jail Ministry, etc. From the so-called small to the so-called great, Christ is honored with faithfulness and pressing forward. I thank each of you who have served in these capacities and the many others that haven’t even been named.
As we move into 2013, we would be missing the point of the church’s existence if we did not live to make much of the Triune God by making disciples. The genius of Jesus’ command to make disciples is that it is all encompassing. It includes evangelism and edification. We need to begin seriously thinking like missionaries in a new culture to reach the lost and bring each person closer to the next step in Christ. Jesus reminds us that this commission in Matthew 28:18-20 is done as we lean on the promise that He is with us always. We need to work with the Lord in moving people from the community (unchurched) to the crowd (regular attenders) to the congregation (members) to the committed (maturing members) to the core (ministry-minded). So, what does a core individual look like? Though they are not one who has, by any stretch, arrived, they are working hard in these following aspects, by the Spirit:
- Living consistently under the control of the Holy Spirit, the direction of the Word of God, and the compelling love of Christ.
- Using their spiritual gift.
- Learning to share their faith (word) while demonstrating radical love that amazes the world it touches (deed).
- Giving evidence of being a faithful member of God’s church, an effective steward of life, relationships, and resources, willing to minister to God’s people, and an available messenger to nonkingdom people.
2013 is a call for a team of SHCC disciplemakers to move the community to the crowd, then to the congregation, then to the committed, then to the core through the Truth, genuine love, and the power of the Spirit. Will you join in God’s mission? What is the next spiritual step you need to take?