Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Last 11 Months

In early September I gave an update about some major changes taking place at our church. In many ways I have enjoyed the past 11 months more than any other segment of ministry with a local church. When all of those changes came to be (new name, new constitution and by-laws, new worship space, and cleaned up membership rolls) I was overwhelmed and unprepared in many ways. I was used to being defensive. I had been in some unhealthy church situations and wasn't necessarily prepared for a season of peace! 

But that's what we've had. We've had a season of peace. And it's been really, really nice. I was truly hoping to type up this post and be able to say we have doubled in growth, we are reaching more people than ever, and we've sent out 10 missionaries! But that's not the case. The truth is we've lost some folks and we've gained some. The truth is we are not much larger than we were a year ago. Close to the same really.

However, a lot has changed. And is changing. It was last May when I felt the Lord leading me to try to lead our church through change. I was scared, but shared with our folks what I felt was needed. They supported those things. This past May I took some time off again and reflected on the last year and what God was doing. Then I felt the question come, "Now what?" I wondered to myself whether it was time to change more or to simply sit back.

Here are few of the conclusions I came to:

1. It's about faithfulness above all things. Are we as faithful as we could be? No! Are we seeking to be a faithful people? Absolutely. Are we engaging the lost around us as we should? No! Are we asking ourselves hard questions that will cause to truly think on these things? Yes! And when I look at the overall health of the church I see God has done amazing things. We have seen tremendous spiritual growth in many of our people. We have added new members who have come with a maturity about them in Christ and that has helped others seek all the more to grow. We have seen guests come most every week. We've been blessed and we've sought to be faithful. 

2. Some things did need to change. One of the major areas of change we are facing right now is in our Children's Ministry. God-willing in September of this year we will launch a revamped children's ministry for Redeemer Church!

3. I also came to the conclusion that we could use some outside help. Some partners as we sought to be a healthy church. Thankfully God granted us a few faithful churches in our area who have helped through some of our transition. But we also just began the process of being a partner church in the Pillar Network! And now we seek to find the areas that still need strengthening so that we can be a healthy church that plants healthy churches.

So I guess I'm writing this to say God has been very gracious and kind to us. We've seen Him working in and through us this past year. And we do not believe He is finished. There is work to be done within our own faith family. And there is work to be done throughout SWFL and to the ends of the earth!

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