I have been looking for something to express how I feel about leaving 2012 with all of the accomplishments, all the church growth, personal growth, and even the things that have happened that seem to be bad, they are growth opportunities. I loved this picture the moment I saw it.
Here we have a fish who has been contained in this little bowl and he is ready to broaden his horizons. I feel that same way when it comes to church at Out Of The Box Worship Center. We have an awesome place to worship together but the people have grown to the point that we need to expand. We set a record in attendance this past Sunday of 276 people. God is at work in our midst and I believe He is just waiting on us to make a move.
By the way, every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters to God. You matter to God and you matter to us.
I read a new book by Andy Stanley in October and I believe it is a game changer for churches who want to grow and enlarge the kingdom of God. The subtitle of the book is “Creating Churches Unchurched People Love To Attend.” This is what we are all about, going after those people who haven’t rejected God but they have rejected the church. Reaching out to the 26,000 people in Carroll County who do not attend church. These are the unchurched and by the way, these 26,000 people “matter to God.”
Several people are now reading “Deep and Wide” together, we will meet several times in early 2013 to discuss things in the book that we can learn and grow from. If you would like to get a copy of “Deep and Wide” and read along with us and also meet with us as we dream and vision for 2013 and beyond, please do so.
From September through November 2012 we had a total of 472 different individuals who attended services at OOTBWC. Add to this a good number of people who will never sign a register and that number will be well over 500 individuals. This is great but it also tells me that we have a lot of people who are coming and finding the 1030 service packed and they are choosing not to return until we make room. We averaged 245 in attendance for each of the Sundays in November.
There is one great and easy way that we can make room immediately and we have done this before. Individuals and families can make a decision to attend the first worship service at 9am and then serve in the second service at 1030am. Every person who serves is helping to change lives. It is happening, people contact me every week and tell me what God is doing in their lives through the ministries at Out Of The Box Worship Center. There are so many opportunities to serve. To name a few that you can pray about, the band, media, video, greeting, ushering, children’s ministry, street greeters, and the list goes on and on.
Will you answer the Call to make room but not drop out. We are not asking anyone to stop coming when the best opportunity for you and your family is to worship at the 1030 service. If you choose to make the move, you will get the same order of worship in each service and by the way we are approaching an average of 100 people in the first service so it isn’t a concern that one service doesn’t have the same feel as another. If you remain in the 1030 service then we celebrate with you also, maybe you can serve in the earlier service…The opportunities are endless.
Here are some questions to think about.
Who is going to reach out to 26,000 people who do not go to church but live really close to us?
What will “we” do to reach this group of people?
When we reach them, what will we do then?
If we have space issues now, how will we accommodate even more?
Great questions and questions that have to be asked. We have been given a mission by God to reach the people who are yet unreached.
I am personally having the time of my life while doing just what God has called us to do. Here are some things that I am personally doing as your pastor to make the dream that God has given us come true.
I am planning ahead with Jay for the messages you will hear in 2013. These messages will include things such as the following. The Good Life, what is it and how do you life it? The End, what are some of the things the Bible says about the end of the world as we know it and is it coming soon? Prayer and how to be more effective in prayer ministry, spiritual disciplines and how to follow hard after God, family matters and how to live together as the people of God, husbands and wives, parents and children, children of God and God. Finances, do you have them or do they have you? We will answer the question “What On Earth Am I Here For? These topics have come from those of you who have share with me things you would like to know more about, you asked for it and you’re getting it.
Here are a few more ways we intend to be in ministry with you in 2013.
#1. Along with the weekly sermons being posted in audio online, we now have a video camera and intend to quickly begin uploading the video each week. Along with this we are exploring airing our services live via online streaming.
#2. As a congregation, those who choose to take advantage of it will be reading The New Testament together this year. There is a facebook group you can join and discuss together what you are learning each week in your reading, there will be a blog post from me each week with insights and commentary on what we are reading together, and finally each Wednesday evening at 6:15pm we will meet together downtown to have Bible Study around the text we are reading for that week. This could be eye opening for all of us because the Bible was intended to be studied together in community. You still have time to join this group and be a part of what God is doing. Sign up on facebook here http://www.facebook.com/groups/386682914747739/?bookmark_t=group this is an investment of my time, let’s read the Bible together.
#3. For the college students, we have created a group for you “Called.” Again for those who wish to join, this is a community where you will get a devotional each week, you will have constant access to ask questions, either in the group of privately through face to face, text, and messaging. I plan to visit all of the campuses where we have students in 2013, a time for us to get to know each other better but more than that, just good fun and fellowship. If you want to be involved go and sign up on the facebook group page and you can do that by clicking here http://www.facebook.com/groups/517821001575881/?bookmark_t=group this is another investment of my time to be there for you and your needs to the best of my ability.
#4. New Life Groups are being added throughout the year, get involved and get to know people better and grow.
#5. Pastor Pam and I are looking into and planning for a new Recovery ministry that can be offered to anyone in need of recovery. We often think of people who are addicted to substances but the fact there is so much more. Porn addiction is rampant in our society, as are so many other things. It’s not as simple as alcohol and drugs. If you feel led to work in a recovery ministry or you are in need of such a ministry, your contacting me would help us to better plan.
2013 is going to be a blessed year. There are so many ministries happening and so many lives being changed. It is my prayer as we prepare for 2013 that you will agree to pray with us and for us and don’t stop there, come and join us in the work.