The Future of Faith

image

Over the next few weeks, our 2024 Task Force will begin the next phase of their work. We have been praying, listening, evaluating, and discussing the plans and priorities for the future of Faith. One thing has become abundantly clear – God has His hand upon this church family and He is challenging us to trust Him for the exciting season ahead

The concept of Faith 2024 is based on a beautiful Bible passage – Acts 20:24.  Paul was leaving his friends in Ephesus and facing certain persecution as he headed home to Jerusalem.   In a moment of courage and a clear sense of direction, he wrote “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from The Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

I am grateful for the godly men and women who serve with me on this task force. The weight of our responsibility is heavy, but not burdensome. It is thrilling to be part of a process that we know is far greater than our ability or capacity. We are humbled by the prayers of our people and the sense that God is walking with us.

I can tell you that my heart is rejuvenated by the exciting future The Lord is laying out for us. It is refreshing to report that while facilities and finances are part of the conversation, the primary focus is on our mission and influence for the gospel in our community and beyond. I’m so glad to be serving alongside folks who have a serious case of the “Faith Spirit.”

Please continue in faithful and focused prayer for the next phase of our work. We hope to share a “plan of action” with the church family early in the fall season (October). I can assure you that Faith 2024 will be more than a decade or a date on the calendar. It will be a clear direction and an exciting destination as our church family embraces a God-sized dream and trusts His ability to carry us along.

Membership Matters

Membership-Matters-001The church is described in God’s Word as a Bride, a Building, and as a Body.  Using the “Body” metaphor, Paul explains this concept in I Cor. 12:12 – “For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body – so also is Christ.”

At Faith, we have embraced the reality that God has given us a beautiful body of believers that make up our church family.  Each member has a responsibility to fulfill their function in the context of their roles.   When new members experience our “Faith Journey” class we always discuss the expectations and the benefits of membership.

The Expectations of Membership include:

  1. I should be an Attending member. 
  2. I should be a Giving member.
  3. I should be a Growing member.
  4. I should be an Accountable member.

The Benefits of Membership include:

  1. I will have Spiritual Leadership
  2. I will have Biblical Teaching.
  3. I will have a Caring Community.
  4. I will have Opportunities to Serve.
  5. I will have a Voice in church decisions.
  6. I will be part of a church with a Big Vision.

In Thom Rainer’s little book entitled, “I Am A Church Member” he reminds us of this important truth: “God did not give us local churches to become country clubs where membership means we have privileges and perks. He placed us in church to serve, to care for others. to pray for leaders, to learn, to teach, to give, and, in some cases, to die for the sake of the gospel.  Many churches are weak because we have members who have turned the meaning of membership upside down. It’s time to get it right. It’s time to become a church member as God intended. It’s time to give instead of being entitled.” (p.6)

As the pastor of Faith, I can honestly say that we are blessed to have members who take their role and responsibility seriously.  However, we are not immune to our culture.  We have members who are lacking in commitment as well.  My prayer, and my heart’s desire is for God’s people to experience a revival in what it means to be His Bride and His Body.  Membership matters.  I love serving alongside the members of Faith Baptist Church!

Beginning 2014 with a Firm Foundation

bible readerGod’s Word is both a light and a lamp for our feet and our path.  The Psalmist declared that “The Law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  Moreover, by them your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11 NKJV).

As we begin a brand new calendar year, I am preparing a series of messages that we are simply calling “The Grand Story.”  Following an outline in D.A. Carson’s book, “The God Who Is There” – I will share an overview of the whole Bible and how His Story is connected to our story.  The entire Bible is a tapestry woven together as a glorious unified whole by the very breath of God.   There is a brilliant connection between the Old and New Testaments that focuses on a single theme – The Grand Story of a Mighty God who creates, protects, rescues, redeems, and sustains His people for all time and eternity.

Faith Baptist Church is firmly founded on several core values that find their origin in The Grand Story.  We must return eagerly and regularly to these core themes to remain well grounded in God’s Word.  It is my hope that every member of our church family will embrace these foundational stones personally and with great conviction:

  1.  We are a Biblical church.  God’s Word is our guide book for life; we are committed to practice the principles found in the Bible.
  2. We are a Relational church.  People are the primary focus of our ministry; we value relationships and seek to help others grow as followers of Jesus.
  3. We are an Intentional church.  Loving God and sharing His love with people is the premise on which we operate; we do what we do on purpose.
  4. We are a Transformational church. Through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, lives are being changed as people become more like Christ;  our culture is changed as a result.
  5. We are a Missional church.  Our heart beats for God’s glory among the nations.  We are committed – at any price and at all costs – to reaching the whole world with the Gospel.

These concepts, or core values, clarify our focus in all areas of ministry and mission.  They shape not only what we believe, but how we behave as a church family.  My prayer for Faith in the coming year is that our foundation will be very firm as we press toward an exciting future!