Aiming Ahead by David Niblack

                                                    

As we look ahead to 2012 as a church family, we make plans with an attitude both of caution and confidence.  We have caution because we know only God is in control and often he intervenes, overturning our small plans with things bigger and better.  After all, the church grows like a living organism in a wonderful, messy, and complex way.  There are thousands of facets of life God will work out this year through his people in the rough and tumble of life together.  How could the countless moments encouraging, praying, helping, crying, giving, teaching, loving, rebuking, singing, serving and everything else God can do be captured by a crisp “vision statement” posted on the website?  

Moreover, often the most important vision comes from those who are earnestly seeking God and not necessarily those in leadership.  

Yet we are also confident because God often uses our plans to accomplish his purposes.   The Apostle Paul, the early church, and even God himself make plans (Philippians 1:9, Romans 15:20, Ephesians 1:11).  Articulating direction and goals serves to bring unity, focus, and the very conditions that cause the organic life of a church to thrive.  As we prayed and talked as elders about the year ahead, we found three areas we want to give special attention to this year.  They are listed belong along with some of the concrete ways they will take form in our church. 

1. WE DESIRE A RENEWED FOCUS ON BEING “SPIRIT-LED.”

●      Relaunch the prayer ministry team.  Every Sunday morning, the prayer team stands in front to serve anyone who would like to receive prayer.  We want to invest in this ministry and see new faces trained and integrated into the existing prayer team.  We hope the increase the awareness and the potential of Sunday morning prayer ministry.  We also want to create more ways for testimonies of God’s work to be communicated to the church for the encouragement of others. 

●      Increase prayer and ministry training for LifeGroups.   Small groups provide the normal place for ministry prayer and spiritual gifts to be shared.   Clear, engaging training can help foster more openness to the sharing of gifts and prayer in our small group communities.  

●      Preach through 1 Corinthians 12-14 beginning in the spring.   After Easter, we will have a message series through 1 Corinthians 12-14 and listen afresh to the way the Lord has told us to be “Spirit-led.”  We are convinced that God’s word is sufficient to equip us where we are now and help us get where he wants us to be. 
 

●      Four Encounter Worship Services throughout the year.  The purpose of the Encounter services is to provide a focused place for us to worship and experience the power and presence of Holy Spirit as a group together.   

2. BUILD ON OUTWARD MISSIONS MOMENTUM

●      We would like to host another Christianity Explored.   God clearly was working in the lives of those who attended Christianity Explored class this fall and we would like to build on this momentum.   We plan on hosting another course this fall and are exploring the possibilities of a similar course over the summer. 

●      We would like to partner with an on-going ministry in Haiti.   This January we got to see from the front-line the ministry that is happening in Haiti.  One conviction we have is that building on-going relationships with people who are living in Haiti and committed to ministry there is key to ensuring fruitfulness in missions effort.  We are going to pursue a partnership with the school in the Mariani community near Carrefour, Haiti.  

3. CONTINUE STRONG DISCIPLESHIP

●      We hope to start a rigorous leadership course.  We’ve realize that we need to be investing in future leaders for the church.  We hope to start an intensive class that would include theology, church leadership, and Christian life content to equip members to serve the local church. 

●      Launch a women’s study parallel to the Men’s Fraternity courses.  We have seen a lot of fruit come from our Men’s Fraternity courses.   The course has brought strength to the men in our church, and in turn has influenced families and our community.  We desire the same thing for the women. 

Conclusion

One of the most inspiring doxologies in the New Testament is found in the letter that talks more about the church than any other.  In Ephesians, Paul reminds his readers that we serve a God who “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”  That is the best possible news as we look toward the future.  For all that we can image, for all that we can think, and plan, and hope, and do, for all of that: God can do “abundantly more.”

 

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