January 17, 2017
Dear FBCD Family,
I can tell you that I have had few experiences in ministry to rival the meaningfulness of baptizing Jackson Anand on Sunday as the FBCD church family gathered around to support him. It is truly a holy thing to be a pastor, and to be a participant in moments in which God's grace is so clearly felt. Let us all continue to pray for Jackson as his young faith develops. And let us all be reminded of the meaning of our baptism, in which we affirmed our belief in Jesus, our gratitude for his salvation, and our promise to follow him as Lord.
We also ordained a group of truly outstanding new deacons on Sunday. I am excited to meet with the deacon body on Saturday morning as they begin their work for 2017. A deacon leads and serves, and leads by serving. I look forward to serving alongside the deacons this coming year. Our church is truly blessed to have such a wonderful body of women and men serving us in this role.
Earlier last weekend I took the staff to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit for a staff retreat. On that retreat I led us through discussions related to how the church is doing, how each staff member is doing, where God is showing up for us right now, and the joys, challenges, goals and dreams each is perceiving and pursuing in their work at FBCD. We also planned essentially the entire church calendar for the year, trying to work out in advance a mix of activities that will meet our goals for ministry and also be manageable and sustainable for the staff, volunteers, and facilities.
We are all still celebrating the launch of the FBU program this past Wednesday. Over 120 came out to participate in one of the seven classes and support groups that were offered by our dedicated volunteers. The energy in the building Wednesday wassomething wonderful to behold, and especially because a lot of it was provided by visitors enticed by one of the new programs. As a staff we have already decided to carry the FBU program through the entire 2017 year, with terms in Spring, May, Summer, and two in the Fall. Keep on inviting people — FBU is an unthreatening way to cross the threshold of our church for the first time.
In our preaching right now, we have now discussed three "Things Christians Do" and this week come upon one of the most demanding of these — Loving Enemies. Based on Matthew 5:38-48, I will continue to seek to offer preaching that combines taking Jesus' teachings with the utmost seriousness and asking realistic questions about how, in the world we live in, that we actually do this.
Finally, on the personnel front, this week we launch a search for a new half-time Office Assistant for the front office, shortly thereafter will begin our search for a full time Minister to Families with Children, and will have one other happy staff move to announce very shortly.
FBCD is on the move. The sense of God being present and moving is very profound.
Blessings on you this week —