New Ministry, New Vision

In July I accepted a new ministry. I moved from the church and ministry I was serving at FCC big logothe Lake of the Ozarks, to a ministry with the Forsyth Christian Church.

I could talk about what happened in which God led me away from my previous ministry to this ministry. Let me save that for one of the next posts.

With a change in ministry, location, and even variances in job description, comes new focus, purpose, vision, and goals. Here we have about a 12-year-old congregation whose minister retired and they realize where the direction they need to go. The congregation is mostly older folks, in fact, the town has an average age of 51. They sense the need to reach younger families with children and for several reasons. First, those people need the Lord too. They need to have Jesus offered to them. Second, they realize that young people are the future . . .  of anything. They grow up to be the church and the leaders in the church and the outreach for the church. So we need young families and so we have a vision of a children’s program with a support program to their families.

They want to bring their music into a contemporary model. Add newer songs and do the music in fresh ways. I know some feel this will draw the younger crowd, and it might, but it is a refreshing that can be a game-changer for all the folks in our church.

And, they are looking forward to a Biblical elder-ship to lead the congregation. Godly, Spirit-filled men leading with love and grace.

We are carrying out the great commission and discipleship development. We are seeking the Spirit’s empowering and guidance to fulfill our role and responsibility in the kingdom of God. We will stand faithful and true to Christ and his Word no matter what.

I have a new ministry focus. Pray for me.

bloggingthechurch

Bi-vocationality

I am a preacher.  I love to prepare messages that touch the heart and help the believer grow in Christ.  I love being in the pulpit sharing what I have been learning and need to express from God’s Word.  I love the church and want it to grow and be faithful and holy and a witness in the community it is in.

I have served 4 churches in my ministry.  With this fourth congregation, I am serving in a bit of a different way for me.  I am a bi-vocational minister.  I work a full-time job at a juvenile detention center as well as serve a small congregation.  It’s what was once called a tent-making ministry.  Working a job to serve a church.

Some people wonder why I do it, why any of us who are bi-vocational do this.  IT’s pretty simple.  Small church, cannot afford a full-time servant so I work a job and preach and minister to my 40 or so people in the congregation.

Under other circumstances, I would be a full-time minister and I do miss that.  There were certain freedoms and bonuses that come with it.  But, I am a servant of Jesus Christ and where he sends me I will go.  So, a small congregation, needing a minister to preach and care for them and a job opportunity that can take the financial burden of a minister off of them so they can relax and concentrate financially on more important things of ministry and outreach is where God wants me and that is where I am at . . .  and I blessed.

My church family provide a house, an office, and  a small compensation for serving and for that I am grateful too, but at the same time, I have been given more than when I served full-time; closer relationships with my church family, more intimate application with God’s Word (and no I don’t pick on them or single people out, but I am able to apply God’s word better to our situations), and I have more interaction with the community.

I thank God that I have been called to serve and to serve at his discretion and I am content and God is working through me and through my congregation.

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Is God in me?

A long time ago, I determined that I wanted people to see the presence of God in me. My desire is that whenever people encounter me, I have placed myself so into God that through the encounter, whether once, or a hundred times, they realized I have been in God’s presence and God is reaching into their life through me.

I have been given a lot of opportunities for God to shine through me.  Countless hours sitting with families as their loved ones go through surgeries.  Endless days staying with hospital patients, holding the hands of several as they died and passed on from this world.  I have been with families when they were suffering from grief when their sons died in tragic vehicle accidents, and preached their funerals and the funerals of murder victims, and the list would seem endless if I continued.

I have been blessed to serve God’s compassion to a lot of people because he has chosen to give me that capability.

How is it that we identify God by our faith?   That is what we will be examining.

bloggingthechurch

Discovering Grace

Whenever we think of grace, we think of God’s unmerited favor to us the sinner.  He voluntarily shares the gift of salvation through Christ.  That in itself is a cause for rejoicing.

But Paul speaks of “the grace given him” by God (1 Corinthians 3:10; Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 2:2, 7-9; 1 Timothy 1:12; use this link to read these verses at Bible Gateway,http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=the+grace+given+me&qs_version=NIV).

The grace God gave Paul was the ministry of reconciliation, particularly to the Gentiles.  Paul would always approach the Jews first, that is how God revealed and administered his grace to the world, to the Jew first.  If he found a Jewish community wherever he went, once he had preached to them (and often they rejected the message about Jesus) Paul went to preach to the Gentiles.  The time he spent in Athens and spoke to the philosophers in the Areopagus on Mars Hill (Acts 17) is one of those times.

The ministry of grace was the ministry to spread the Good News of Jesus, because he had received grace from God, even describing himself as the greatest of sinners (1 Timothy 1:5).

Are you a Christian?  Have you considered the ministry of grace God has given you?  God has sent each of us with this message.  Maybe as an evangelist.  Maybe as a servant.  Maybe as a social worker, or an engineer, or through encouragement or any other number of ways.

Paul sacrificed to be able to fulfill his ministry of grace.  He went through ridicule, beatings, imprisonment, ship-wreck and more to see that he was able to tell about Jesus.

Your ministry, whatever it is, involves your salvation, your sacrifice, boldness supplied by the Spirit, mission and ministry, love, joy, hope, everything that God gives that you get to share with the rest of the world.

I have found the most effective way for me to share about Jesus is to work with teens through church camps, conferences, and residential care facilities.  God has done more through me in those ways than in small one-on-one situations and I thank God for the benefit he gives others because of my ministry of grace.

God’s grace is seen in the life of the believe as we