January Family Talk
January is a special month for Sharon and me. It was seven years ago this month that I began serving you as your pastor. In those seven years we have had wonderful times...and not so wonderful ones, as well. But through them all, we have seen God’s hand working with us, in us, through us, and sometimes...in spite of us! During these years Sharon and I have learned to love you more than we ever felt we could love a church family; and that love just continues to grow deeper and stronger with every passing day!
One of the January traditions here at First Baptist is our annual State of the Church Sunday. This year I have moved the celebration a little later than usual; it will be Sunday, January 31. On that day, we will have a combined worship service, a vision-casting message for 2016, and a special fellowship meal afterwards to welcome the sixteen new members who have become part of our church family in 2015! Make your plans now to be present to share in the celebration!
Since State of the Church Sunday will be at the end of the month, I need to tell you a couple of things in advance. One of the major emphases in 2016 will be deepening our spiritual lives, both individually and as a community. To help kick off that emphasis, we will be participating in a very special webcast, led by Daniel Henderson. We will meet in the Beacon theater on Saturday morning, January 16, at 9:00 (a light continental breakfast will be available beginning at 8:30). The webcast will end at 1:00. There is no need to sign up in advance unless you will be needing childcare during the event. If that is the case, we will need to know no later than Sunday the 10th. Look in this edition of The Messenger for more details.
The second thing that I need to tell you about is a church-wide discipling process that we will be involved in, called 24-D. For the next 24 months, we will look at the ways in which we as a church family can learn how to work more effectively as one big team. Over forty adults in our church have already agreed to be part of a core working group that will be giving 1-3 hours every week in discussion and prayerful planning as a part of this process. But I don’t want anyone to be left out! Everyone is invited to the “module meetings” where concepts will be presented and discussed, and anyone can join the core working group at any time. Our first “module meeting” will be Sunday, January 17, immediately following the morning service. A light lunch will be ready for you when you arrive at the meeting, which should last until around 1:30.
Let me close this month’s “Family Talk” by being very transparent with you. I know that, in some ways, 2015 has not been the easiest year for us as a church family...but it hasn’t been the most difficult, either! We have celebrated many victories, most recently the completion of our second annual Christmas Tree Walk, with over 2000 guests in attendance. But there have been difficulties as well...and God almost always uses such times to help us think more deeply and trust Him more fully. And, looking forward into this new year, I believe it could be one of the best we have ever had as a church family. With God’s leadership and our willingness to work together, great things can...and I believe will...happen!