Summary: This message was a part of my annual report to the church that I pastor.
Where are We Going?
Annual Church Conference
April 18, 2004
What have we accomplished?
The most important figure of the church is not how much money we bring in or what our morning worship attendance was but rather how many people we led into the Kingdom of Christ. Since November we have led 14 people into either a saving relationship with Christ or a rededication of their lives to Christ.
Worship attendance has increased from an average of 106 to an average of 124 for a gain of 15%. Sunday School attendance increased from an average of 86 to an average of 92 for a gain of 7%.
Our children’s church has become so large that we have needed to split into two separate groups. Our Walk on Water ministry has launched and has begun to reach out into the community. The food pantry is getting stocked more and more each week and we are ready to respond to those who are in need.
Since we began our campaign to reduce the debt in mid January, we have raised over $10,000.00 for the project.
Outreach and Prayer
We have made over 1100 outreach contacts through Servant Evangelism and 475 contacts through mass mail for a total of over 1600 contacts from both outreach and marketing.
The Sunday morning prayer team has been started again to cover the church and its ministries in prayer.
The cell group ministry is growing. Chad and Angie Noble graciously offered to open their home to help create an additional cell group. This has enabled us to offer two groups each Tuesday night.
What kinds of difficulties are we facing?
The state of our church is very strong indeed but there are some areas where we need to refocus our efforts to help the church not only maintain the growth that we have experienced but to push forward for additional growth.
The biggest problem that we have is that there is just not enough room to expand our current ministries. The fact is that our Sunday School is nearly at maximum capacity and there is no room currently free to create any new classes. This is a serious growth barrier that must be overcome if we are to see continued growth; the building committee is currently working on possible solutions.
Our sanctuary space is also a concern because we are growing closer to filling all of our space. The reality is that we have a problem that cannot be ignored but it is a fantastic problem to be dealing with. In short, we do not have the space needed to meet the demand.
What options do we have? We can build additional space to meet the need. We can create an additional worship service or Sunday School. The reality is that we will likely need to create a solution that will utilize a combination of new service options while we pursue a building project.
Where are we going?
As we look to the future, I believe that we need look at the vision of Jesus as guide for making plans for our church.
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Matthew 9:35-38
The need is great (35-36)
Jesus sets an amazing example for us to follow. Jesus went out to the people; He did not wait for people to come to Him. As Jesus went out to the people, He taught the Word of God. He preached the good news of God’s Kingdom and He healed those who were diseased. The reality is that Jesus went to heal the hurting and give hope to the hopeless. Isn’t that what our church needs to be doing?
When Jesus saw the people His heart went out to them because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. The fact is that the people that Jesus saw that day are really no different from the people today. There are so many in our community who are like sheep without a shepherd. When was the last time you cried over the lost state of your friends, neighbors and family?
The task of the church is to do as Jesus did so long ago; go out and share with them the good news that they are loved, that they can be whole and that Jesus died to save them. Jesus sees value in every person because Jesus sees people not as they are but as they can become through His transforming power. Don’t we need to do the same?