If you were in worship on Sunday, September 16, you may remember that I did my annual anniversary/vision sermon. In it I used the waterfall picture here displayed to talk about the blessings that God is constantly pouring into our lives. However, to take full advantage of God’s blessing we need to walk boldly into God’s waterfall to receive the blessings for ourselves and to let them flow out to all around us. I then went on to enumerate some bold changes, or moves, or experiments that I envision God calling us to. More about that at the end.
What I didn’t take time to say is how thankful I am for the bold visions that we have accomplished over the last 8 years. One of the things about serving Christ at North Branch that I most enjoy is your ability to try bold change.
When I look back over the years between 1999-2004 I praise God for your bold vision to:
- Restore the sanctuary with “Victorian elegance and modern relevance;”
- Purchase the Sunrise House to use for the mission of housing the homeless;
- And increase mission giving to 20% of the budget.
(We accomplished all three if you count the debt retirement line item for the Sunrise House as mission money.)
This next five-year vision (2004-2009) has been less external and more internal. Towards that God has empowered us to:
- Begin each of the last three years with Passionate Spirituality months where we have studied best-selling Christian books in sermons and small groups;
- Pave the parking lot; and,
- Plant a new church.
When I think back over all that God has done through us in these eight years, I am profoundly grateful and deeply humbled.
And so it is that though my knees knock, I ultimately sense Christ’s hands carrying us to the bold changes that I laid out for the next year or so on September 16. They are:
- To actually begin planting this church for young adults and younger families;
- To welcome a Pastor of Discipleship with his/her differing gifts and vision;
- To engage in dialogue over a proposed Contemporary Service at 9 AM and something like our current services at 10:30 AM in order to meet a need and reach out;
- To bless the ongoing dialogue between Preschool Board and leadership over changes to keep this outreach ministry ever more vital.
So, may God give us peace and joy, as we move boldly in Christ’s will.