Summary: Today, as we bring this year to a close and we begin to think about 2008 and where this new year will take us, I thought it would be wise for us to take a look back at where we’ve been as a springboard for where we are going.
Our Spiritual Checklist for 2008
On July 1, 2007, as we celebrated our 51st anniversary of Thomas Road Baptist Church, we shared an important vision for the next five years of our church. We talked about some of the goals that we want to see accomplished and why we should try to accomplish them. These goals are important because they are centered on what a church should be doing. They center on reaching this world for Christ.
Let me review these goals for you:
1. 5000 salvation decisions out of TRBC
2. 500 baptisms each year
3. 500 church members going on short term missions trips
4. 500 new churches planted
5. 500 missionaries sent
6. 5000 added to our attendance
7. 5000 added to our Sunday School/ABC ministries
8. 5000 of our members serving as lay ministers in our community
Over these past six months since we shared that vision, we have seen some amazing things happening within these walls. Also on that day in July, we unveiled the words that you now see on the back wall of this church, NOT I, BUT CHRIST! Those are powerful words that have guided our steps, focused us in our ministry endeavors, strengthened us when we felt like we couldn’t go on, and gave us hope when things seemed impossible.
Those four simple words, from Galatians 2:20, are the words that will serve as our church motto. They will serve as rally cry as we seek to reach this community and the world with the Gospel.
On May 15, we were all faced with a daunting reality. In an instant, we were all reminded of the frailty of life. We knew, at that moment, that we had a choice to make as a church.
In all honesty, it would have been easy for us to sit back and enjoy the sweet memories of what has happened here through the years. To reminisce of the many victories that God has delivered over the past 51 years. It would have been simple for us all to live in the past, to focus on our history and take great pride in all that’s been done. That certainly would have been the easy way out, the easy choice.
However, the difficult route, the difficult choice, would have been to strengthen our resolve and decide that God is not done with us yet. To stand up, shoulder to shoulder, claiming the promises of Scripture and the protection of the Savior and march forward. That was the difficult choice, but it was the right choice, and it’s the one we all chose.
Not I, But Christ! Four words that have galvanized our spirits and have helped us to see the impact that each of us could make when we put our total dependence in Christ. That’s who TRBC is, that’s who we are, and that’s who we will continue to be in the years to come.
Today, as we bring this year to a close and we begin to think about 2008 and where this new year will take us, I thought it would be wise for us to take a look back at where we’ve been as a springboard for where we are going. To recall those goals, that vision, that we shared six months ago and see how we are doing. And also, to see where we need to do a little bit better in order to achieve those goals.
Hab. 2:1 I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected. 2 Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.
Hab. 2:1 (NLT) I will climb up into my watchtower now and wait to see what the LORD will say to me and how he will answer my complaint. Hab. 2:2 Then the LORD said to me, “Write my answer in large, clear letters on a tablet, so that a runner can read it and tell everyone else. 3 But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
This is a familiar passage. One that my dad shared so many times over the years, one that I’ve shared several times in these past 7-1/2 months. Why? Because it gives us a clear picture of what God expects out of us with regards to the vision He places on our hearts.