Summary: Our annual End of the Fiscal Year necessitates assessing where our church is and what we should be focusing on in the next year. Your congregation should hear something like this from you, too.

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I truly thank God for His allowing me to pastor a congregation like you. It is my distinct pleasure to serve you as you serve the Lord.

We are in a small “bedroom” community that serves the two larger cities. A bedroom community is one where people choose to live even though they work someplace else. That is a very good sign for the community. We are a place where people want and choose to live with their families.

Our church is one that truly wants to serve the community and in so doing, we are truly walking our Christian walk. As with any church, most of our membership either works at jobs or have other things going on a daily basis, which cuts down the available time you are able to spend doing things for the church. That is why we need to take advantage of every single opportunity we can to let others know about us.

Our goal is to grow this church! I will let God determine the amount of people in this church, and I will concentrate of growing the ways in which we can serve the community around us. It is our desire to let everyone who sees us, actually see Jesus in us.

There are several ways in which to do this, but there continues to be one way that stands out above all the rest. That one way is to be a church of prayer, but to do that, we must first truly be a people of prayer.

Although this church has a night each week that we devote to prayer, due to having jobs and other legitimate responsibilities, only a few can take advantage of it. But that deals with the gathering together to pray. We can all pray no matter where we are or what we are doing, and God hears all the prayers of the righteous.

There are many people who spend their time going to church but do not have a habit of prayer. That is like getting in your car but choosing to sit in the driveway without going anywhere. Your car is meant to take you to other places.

Likewise, prayer is meant to take us other places. It takes us from our daily grind into the world of God’s desires. It refocuses our minds away from the world and onto His Kingdom. And just like the car, if we do not use it for what it is meant for, we are just wasting our time going through useless motions.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:17 tells us to “pray without stopping!”

LUKE 11:1 also tells us about prayer.

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."

As Christians, we also want to know how to pray effectively and according to God’s will, don’t we?

COLOSSIANS 4:2 instructs us in prayer;

“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”

Do we devote a daily time to talk with God? To share our dreams and our disappointments with Him? To seek His help?

PSALM 102:1 resembles our plea to God.

“A prayer of one who is overwhelmed with trouble and who pours out problems before the LORD, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea!”

And finally, prayer is so important that the Bible equates it to food and how our bodies suffer when we do not eat, our hearts suffer when we do not pray!

PSALM 102:4 says,

“My heart is struck down like withered grass because I forget to eat my bread.”

If we ever stop being a church of real prayer, we will stop being a church and end up being nothing more than a social club. And if the membership of this church does not fully utilize prayer, or stop being a people of prayer, the church will never grow beyond its present ability to reach new people for Jesus Christ.

As your pastor, I do not want to know who gives what amounts. That is something between you and God, and it does not involve me. That being said, you need to know that giving to the church is not only needed, it is a requirement in God’s eyes.

How many of you enjoy having people cheat you, or keep something that really belongs to you? In the following passage, God speaks firmly about our giving to Him.

MALACHI 3:8-10

“ 8 You have cheated me out of the tithes and offerings due me. 9 You are now under your God’s curse, for you have been cheating me. 10 Bring all your tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple to feed others. If you do, I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”

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