Summary: A "state of the Church" message about what God is doing here at AWC and what we hope to see Him do in the future.
God is Moving Here!
A “State of the Church” Message About What God is Doing at AWC and What We Hope to See in the Future.
May 18, 2008
This won’t be like the messages I normally give.
As the message and sub-title indicate, this will be a “state of the church” message about what God is doing here at AWC and what we hope to see in the future.
Let me give you some really good news: we are up in every category that is measured for our church and even some that aren’t.
Attendance – We finished the church year averaging 48, which doesn’t sound like much, but it is an increase of 2 over last year.
We would actually be in the 70’s if everyone who identifies with this church in any sort of semi-regular fashion would all show up on a given Sunday. In fact it would be close to 80.
But part of the American culture right now is that weekly church attendance by Christians has fallen dramatically over the last few years.
That number doesn’t include the shut-ins or those away at college or anybody like that. That number is made up of those who come here on a semi-regular basis.
New families – 4 new families have made this their church home and there’s another that is starting to come occasionally.
Membership – 1 new official member, 3 more transferring their membership as soon as the paperwork gets done, and others have expressed interest in becoming members.
Salvation – three people that I know of have come to Christ through the ministries of this church.
And you know what’s really great about that? I had very little to do with that. It was you guys influencing others for Christ. I can’t tell you how excited I am about that!
Baptisms – we’ve baptized four people in believer’s baptism.
Giving – anticipated a $1250 deficit, but ended up in the black. We had parking lot repairs of over $9000 and our new piano at just under $10,000. The piano was purchased with bequest funds of Florence and Ray Hughes, but the parking lot repairs came right out of the general fund.
And just recently the church was made aware of the fact that we will be receiving a large gift from the estate of a long-time member who passed away a couple weeks ago.
Those are just the measurable, tangible things that I can show you with statistics and all that kind of thing.
Folks, I’m here to tell you – God is moving here.
Our primary purpose:
By now you’ve probably noticed that the front of the bulletins has changed a bit. Under the logo it used to say, “Real faith…in the Real God…for Real People…in the Real World.”
And we still believe that this is what God offers through Christ.
But lately, through much prayer, counsel, consulting, and sessions in which everyone involved in the ministries are the church were invited, we came to the conclusion that the primary purpose of this church should reflect the primary purpose of Jesus.
And that primary purpose was to restore relationships with God through His death and resurrection.
So if we want to be a church that actually reflects Christ accurately, then we needed to adopt His primary purpose as our own.
What is that purpose? Restoring relationships with God through Christ. And that’s what’s on the front of your bulletins.
This wasn’t something we just thought up over a board meeting while the sauerkraut was sitting in our stomachs.
The process of coming to this conclusion actually began about 3 years ago, when District Superintendent Isaac Smith asked us to be part of the Refocusing process.
This process has involved examination of the lives of myself and your leaders to see how God has shaped us for His service.
It also involved looking at the 120-year history of this church to see what God has done in the past and what has held it back from being the most effective for Christ and His kingdom.
Just those parts were long, and at times, painful, because it forced us to look at ourselves and the church and examine the hurt over the years.
But the main purpose of the refocusing process was to help this church learn what its primary purpose should be.
The purpose of Aberdeen Wesleyan Church is to restore relationships with God through Christ.
In my mind, the best way to do all that is to look at both the Greatest Commandments and the Great Commission.
The Greatest Commandment – to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Worship)
The second greatest commandment – to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Fellowship, Ministry)
In other words, as we become intentional about working on our relationship with God, it should overflow into our relationships with people.