This morning’s “message” is going to be different than usual - don’t worry... next week we will return to normal. Rather than teaching on a particular passage or topic, we will conclude this year with an informational look at the coming one. Since our large group is only together on Sunday mornings, I am going to seize this opportunity to present some goals for 2015 that I believe will further enable Calvary Baptist Church to achieve its vision of “loving the least of these in Jesus’ name”.
We are going to begin by taking a brief look back at this past year and identifying some of the major occurrences that took place. 2014 was a significant year in the life of our church, and we will spend a few moments remembering some of the ways God worked through us here at Calvary over the past 12 months.
Then we will turn our focus forward, as we look ahead to 2015. While we have come a long way over this past year, we are still far from home. I know that God has so much more in store for us. His desire is that we’d have an even greater impact on our city, reaching the lost of Seymour and Baylor County so that “none may perish, but all have eternal life”. That said, I am going to present several initiatives for next year that I pray will move us in this direction.
Obviously, we cannot anticipate everything that will take place in the coming months. Our church must remain flexible, and its ministries must always be open to change as various situations present themselves. Knowing this, the plans we discuss this morning are not necessarily set in stone, nor do they represent a complete listing of all that we hope to do in 2015. But they will serve as a launching point as we embark on our journey through the new year.
Before we begin, please know this… your pastor has prayed about each of these items that we are about to discuss. I believe that they are God’s will for us, or else I would not mention them. However, I also believe that God speaks to you just as He does to me, and am certain that there are things He’s revealing to you that He wills for our church. I urge you to share these revelations with me, so that we might prayerfully incorporate them into the planning process of Calvary Baptist Church.
I. A Look Back Over 2014
This past year we baptized 1 person here at Calvary. We added 9 new members through formal membership. Numerous former members have returned, and we have several who come faithfully but have not officially "joined" yet. Our average attendance has grown from about 5 each week to around 25. This year our church will take in over $40,000 and will spend about the same amount. You can view our financial statement (through November) here if you are interested.
In 2014 we have ministered to our community in numerous ways. Our Clothes Closet is probably the most notable, but we've also held a Food Pantry and a Back-to-School Celebration to help the needy in town. We've prayer-walked most of the city, given to missions (locally and abroad) and done several other things to "love the least of these" in Jesus' name. It has been a spectacular year!
II. A Look Forward To 2015
This year we intend to continue the renovation of our church that we began last year. I hope that we are able to provide better exterior lighting for the parking lot. We will begin saving and fundraising for new siding for our aging building.
As far as our worship is concerned, in 2015 we will have sermon series on Prayer and on the book of Romans. All of us are challenged to read the Bible chronologically. We will strive to contact all members each week and pray for one another more frequently. We will work to increase our Sunday School attendance - adult, youth, and child. We will offer giving online through our website, which will allow for folks to make their gifts using a debit card if they like. We will pray for and seek people for key positions, such as a worship/music leader.
Looking beyond our church, we will continue to reach out to the community and beyond. We will seek a more permanent home for our Clothes Closet. We will return to the Nursing Home twice next year. We hope to hold a VBS in the summer for kids. We desire to send at least 1 person from Calvary on a mission trip somewhere. We will post our messages online for world-wide access and perhaps have them broadcast on local radio. We will strive to become more involved in and relevant to our community.
You may be wishing that you’d slept in this morning. I’ll freely admit that today’s message would hardly qualify as a traditional sermon. It is not the way I usually preach. You might have felt more like you were at a business meeting than in a church service. If thats the case, don’t fret… next Sunday we are starting an exciting new series on prayer that will be more like what you are used to.
But I felt strongly led that today we needed to take a single Sunday to inform the entire congregation of several things that are either currently going on or coming up than many of us may not know about. As I matter of fact, it was so important to me that we do this that I even had my parents endure it… I guess they will have to visit again in order to hear a typical sermon.
Perhaps you are under the impression that today’s message was dry and boring, and has no application to your life. If so, I would respectfully disagree…
- Today we have remembered the works of God among us over this past year and praised Him for them.
- Today we have been challenged to read our Bibles every day, and have been provided with a specific strategy for doing so.
- Today we have been urged to pray for one another daily, to communicate with one another during the week, and to encourage one another always.
- Today we have been exhorted to giving generously through tithes and offerings in order to meet various financial goals that will expand the Kingdom of God in Seymour and beyond.
- Today we have been challenged to expand our ministries, to become more involved in missions locally and abroad, and to seek new and more effective ways of impacting our community for Christ.
- Today we have been encouraged to remain faithful in our attendance, and to bring others with us that our church might continue to grow.
Please take some time this week to pray for Calvary Baptist Church. I am expecting, believing, and praying for a miraculous year in 2015. I can hardly wait to see what God has in store for us, and look forward to taking the journey together! HAPPY NEW YEAR!