This was a letter to all SPBC members and included in our Jan-Feb newsletter
Dear SPBC Family & Friends,
God is so good. Our God is faithful yesterday, today and tomorrow. He never wavers on endurance. He is in every moment, no matter the trial or the trouble. His presence is our present!
As I look back over the past three years as your pastor I am grateful. God has led us with cords of kindness and bands of love (Hosea 11:4). The focus on God and advancing the gospel, along with the sweet spirit of fellowship is truly a blessing to be a part. God has added 52 people as members of our church family and many more in those family relationships (~27+) along with several new friends of the church body. This is only a work of grace and God deserves all the credit.
As we look ahead into the next year and beyond I believe there is so much more God wants to accomplish in and through SPBC. 2013 will be another journey for us. We will be climbing a mountain. You will need to prepare. In January we start a new teaching series that will last a few months going through the book of Exodus. Moses met God on a mountain and the people shied away. As we approach this mountain I do not want anyone turning back because together we can reach the summit. God has already prepared the way and He is at our destination. The mountain beckons. Are you ready?
Here are a few mile-markers to reach the summit:
There are people to be reached in your neighborhood and at your workplace. Will you invest in at least 3 relationships this year for the sake of sharing the gospel with someone who has never heard it?
Our midweek (Wednesday) services in January will be a time of training for us to share our faith and be intentional as a church ministry to reach out to others. We are starting a new program called “SPBC Cares” that will involve us writing letters, making phone calls and even personal visits to those who are a guest at our worship services or to those who simply need encouragement. We will also pray for people and their requests. The program will take place the first Wednesday of every month. I hope you will participate in some way.
There are prayers to be prayed. Did you know that every prayer not prayed will never get answered? God has chosen prayer to be the means of His activity and when we pray – truly pray, then He shows up in a big way. I am asking God to teach us how to become a prayer-saturated church, marked by His presence. In January there are at least two small groups that are forming prayer circles; one on Thursdays at 1pm and the other on Sunday evenings at 6:30pm. It’s a short 4-week active study on praying for our children, to get many of us moving in this direction. On February 24 @6:30pm, we will have a “Concert of Prayer”. I believe it will be one of the highlights of our spiritual lives if we will allow ourselves to truly be surrendered the Holy Spirit. Then on March 2, the church will pray outside the walls into the streets prayerwalking neighborhoods & sharing information about our church upcoming outreach events. Let’s pray and see what God does (Ephesians 3:20-21).
There are gifts, talents and resources to be set in motion. Every believer in Jesus Christ has something to offer to the glory of God. Remember the poor widow who gave two small coins and the wealthy persons gave much money in a showy way (Luke 21:1-4)? Jesus teaches us that it is not about equal contribution but equal commitment. This principle is true across the board of our time, talents and treasures (finances).
SPBC has a great opportunity in front of us to make a large impact for God’s kingdom and future generations. I would like to challenge us this year as a faith family. Our meaningful membership covenant calls each member to faithful service in these areas. In specific, I am asking every member to do three things:
1) Connect with a Bible Group to grow in loving God & loving others. Enclosed is a list of groups that meet for Sunday Bible study & fellowship. If you would like help selecting a group please contact Pastor Dave or try them all and then decide. If you would like to start a new group, we would consider helping to facilitate that. There are quite a few new classes that we would like to start but have been waiting on the right time and the right teacher, perhaps you could be an answer to prayer.
2) Serve on a ministry team. This means knowing your time & talents you explore ways you can serve God through His church. Enclosed in this letter is a list of ministry team leaders. Please contact the team leader of the ministry where you feel your best gifted. We are organizing our entire membership database to track that each member is serving in some measure. “Each one should use whatever gift they have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1Peter 4:10).
3) Contribute financially. I know what you’re thinking; “The church wants my money. I can’t believe the pastor just told me to give!” Let me be clear, God does not need your money and I am not telling you to give, God is. The Bible shows that our giving should be systematic (1Cor 16:1-1); sacrificial (Widow’s Offering in Luke 21:1-4; 2Cor 8:1-6,10-12); willing & generous (2Cor 9:6-9; Galatians 6:9-10; Philippians 4:14-20); and visionary for advancing God’s kingdom (Matt 13:44-46, 25:29; Luke 16:10-13; 2Cor 8:7, 9:6-15). My point is that a church that is not asking its members to give is a church that is dying in its mission and disobedient to its Lord. In all, I am asking you to prayerfully give as the Lord leads and has blessed you. Enclosed is a copy of our annual budget. If you have questions or can help us be more effective in our budget please feel free to contact a member of our Finance Team or Pastor Dave.
In all, if you are still reading this letter it means you care about the things of God and this church family. For that I am grateful. I have tried to share some of my heart for you and SPBC. I cannot wait to see what God will do in 2013.