“Looking Forward to What God Has in Store for Us”
February 3, 2015
We are beginning a new blog on the ECC website! Along with other writers, the ECC staff hopes to post a new blog article once a week. Our primary audience will be the people of Evangelical Community Church. Hopefully, this will serve as an opportunity to better communicate what is happening in ministry, to discuss important issues, and to encourage one another.
Even though it is already the beginning of February, it still feels very much like the beginning of a new year. Over the last month, I’ve had the opportunity to ponder some of the blessings from the previous year and look toward the coming year with expectation.
The Lord was good to us in 2014. Some (certainly not all) notable achievements we should celebrate include:
• Establishing several new Community Groups
• Training our teens to lead Back Yard Bible Clubs at three different locations
• The ordination of the Rev. Isaac Gould
• Hosting the two-day Midwest Presbytery at ECC
• Maintaining a strong financial commitment to Missions at roughly 14-15% of our budget
• The Deacon led “Beans and Rice” challenge allowing us to raise $6000 for Matthew 25 Ministries
• The creation of a new church purpose statement
• The Preaching Weekend in November featuring Dr. Bruce Ware
• Serving the staff and students of Mt. Healthy North Elementary
• The generous and sacrificial giving of our people enabling us to reach our financial goals
As I consider the year to come, I’m filled with a great sense of anticipation for what the Lord is going to do in and through us as a church. As an Elder Board, we’ve worked hard to discern and clarify what ECC’s purpose should be.
One result of that labor is the new church purpose statement: Following Jesus by Loving God, Loving One Another, and Serving the World.
At the heart of that statement is the quest to equip God’s people to be faithful disciples of Jesus. It’s not enough to simply experience a spiritual conversion (though conversion is necessary). We are called to help lead, teach, and encourage one another to grow and keep growing in our faith until the very end of our lives. We’re called to reorient people to their highest calling-- bringing glory to God while learning to delight in the fellowship of the Trinity. We are called to the lifelong pursuit of holiness.
We see this as being worked out in three primary ways: corporate worship, a commitment to community, and service.
Worship is what directs both our community and service. It is our highest calling. It is both a means to an end-- a means by which God imparts grace and spiritual renewal-- and an end in itself. We are committed to worship that is directed by God through what is taught in the Scriptures. We are committed to worship that is Christ-centered, and gospel-centered.
One important conviction that came out of our Elder study on discipleship is that the spiritual growth we need is cultivated best within the confines of Christian community. We not only are called to love one another, we need one another to love us, encourage us, speak the truth of God’s word to us, pray for us, pick us up when we fall down, and spur us on toward greater faith and obedience. This conviction has led us to commit to the formation of additional Community Groups.
Our third key movement as a church is service. For us, service includes local outreach opportunities such as working with Matthew 25 ministries, ministering to the staff and students of Mt. Healthy North Elementary, and providing worship services to local nursing homes. It also includes our local evangelistic opportunities as well as our support of both short and long-term missions around the world. Our goal is to be a blessing not only to those within the church, but also to those outside the church wherever we can.
I believe that the Lord has positioned us well as we move into the future. The Lord has laid a solid biblical foundation. He has blessed us with an amazing staff and volunteer leaders at all levels. He is teaching us more about the necessity of prayer and our absolute need for His Spirit to be at work. He is helping us cultivate new relationships with one another and with people outside the church in the surrounding community, and I am genuinely excited for what God has in store for us.
Grace and Peace,