I have never enjoyed a church meeting as much as I did this past Sunday evening. As I stated on Sunday morning, the fact that I was so looking forward to a church meeting could mean that there is seriously something wrong with me or that I am exactly where I am supposed to be doing exactly what I need to be doing. I’ll go with the latter for now. (You can be the judge over time.)
For over two hours, more than 30 people in church leadership discussed, celebrated, and even laughed about what God is doing in our church and in our community. We started out with a great conversation based on the first section of “Start This Stop That;” which focused primarily on leadership. First of all, church growth always begins with a hunger and an evangelical urgency to reach new people with the Gospel. We also talked about the need to strive for excellence in all areas of the church, especially children & youth ministries, music, preaching, and providing a welcoming atmosphere. As we move forward, we will focus on providing great training and better equipping our program servants in these areas of ministry.
Following our lively discussion based on the book we are reading together, we heard from several ministry leaders about how we ended 2012 and what we are looking to in the future. Let me fill you in on some of the highlights:
The “team” who cares for our facility gave an update on the replacement of the roof and other projects to enhance our campus for the sake of doing ministry. Our next project will be to address some of the worst sections of the church parking lot so that our facilities can be more welcoming and we can provide a safe environment for all people to enjoy.
The Staff Parish Relations (HR) team is hard at work to make a decision regarding a youth director. We have received applications, conducted interviews, and observed applicants with the students. The SPR is in no hurry to make a poor decision, so these leaders are taking their time to explore all options and pray for God’s direction in order to make the best decision possible for the church and community.
We looked at several trends that reflect how God is at work in our local church. For example, the deficit spending that has been occurring over the past several years is now turning around. If this trend continues 2012 could very well be the last year that our spending exceeds our income. The giving to our ministry operations in the third quarter of 2012 was up 19% from the previous year and fourth quarter showed an increase of almost 8%. These are incredible increases that should be celebrated as an illustration of how church people’s commitment and generosity allows for greater work to be done as we strive to “Know Christ and Make Him Known.” Worship attendance trends are also going in the right direction as we saw an average of 127 for the third quarter and 142 in the fourth quarter. God’s Spirit is drawing people who want to be a part of Christ United.
2012 was also a great year in missions for our church during which we gave away almost $18,000 to ministry organizations in our local community and throughout the world such as Mimosa Christian Counseling Center here in Burke County, YWAM (Youth With A Mission), and Burke United Christian Ministries to name just a few. There were also a record number of Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes collected and other gifts provided for families in our local community.
Finally, we discussed the need to provide environments in which people want to participate through worship, discipleship (Bible studies, Sunday School, small groups), and outreach. These environments are the spaces in which God will continue to change lives and transform hearts. Do you understand a little more now why this was such a great church meeting??? It is the highest honor in life for us as a local church to be at work with God, rather than for God, in his mission to redeem his creation. I look forward to see how we can continue in this mission for the year 2013!