Dear Church Family and Friends,
This coming Sunday we will communion as well as a fellowship meal followed by our second Family decision making meeting. Please bring a dish of food or two to share with others!
All church family members are invited by Matt Anderson and the Robotics Club to join with them for a special celebration event THIS COMING SUNDAY from 2:30 – 4:30pm. The Robotics Club did very well at their last competition and will be sharing with the congregation the work that they are doing.
Carol and I will be gone to Pastor’s Retreat from February 10th – 15th. We are excited about this opportunity to network with other pastors and leaders. Please be praying for us as we meet with other RNI leaders for mutual ministry and encouragement.
On Sunday, I would like to suggest that we begin the meeting at 12:30 and aim to conclude the meeting before 2:00pm. Our meeting will begin with a financial report. Arlin Martin will be sharing with the congregation regarding the tithing income and expenditures over the past number of months. I would like to suggest that we spend a few minutes in prayer after this followed by an hour of sharing in a discernment process together. I would like to suggest that we give our attention to discerning from the Lord about how we should proceed forward. We will place discernments on a white board as we find agreement in our hearts from the Lord. All items are open for discussion so please be prepared to ask any question that you might have. Not everyone may agree on everything, but no opinion or sharing will be discouraged. Discerning what God is saying may involve some conflict and may take some time and effort to listen to others and wait on God together. It is important that we approach each other with an open heart toward heaven and one another.
So far we have 5 specific directions for next steps:
• Serving others – God has called us to serve the poor and needy in our community
• Home Fellowships – God is calling us to meet in homes, to live in true community & mutual ministry
• Seeking God – God is calling us to give our attention to listening and spending time with Him
• Large Group Meeting – God is calling us to continue meeting as a large group each week
• Equipping Classes – God is calling us to equip the saints using weekly classes. Suggestions: Inner healing, financial peace etc..
Since these are discerned directions for our fellowship in the future. I would like to encourage everyone to continue to pray how you will participate in these discerned directions. When God speaks His people bear responsibility for obedience. If God is truly giving discernment to His people, then we must become sacrificially committed to do what He is saying. At the present time I am suggesting that we wait until the conclusion of the discernment process (after Feb 17th) before we launch new leaders and initiatives. For my part, Carol and I are beginning to discern a curriculum for an Inner Healing Class that we plan to launch later in February.
Several people have expressed that they are encouraged about the process. I am also encouraged that we are following a biblical discernment process rather than trying to get pressure one another to do what each one thinks is right. We are following the process of Acts 15:2-31 “Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question… 4 And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” 6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.7 And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren… (Peter shares discernment) 12 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles. (Barnabas and Paul share their discernment)13 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me... (James shares his discernment and then makes a statement that appeals to the hearts of most) 19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood…. 22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas,… (Spiritual agreement is present) 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell… 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. (The result was that Gentiles – THAT’S US – were allowed to become Christians!)
Please continue to pray for your church family. I believe that our vision and direction is being enriched and refined. I believe that God is empowering us to move in unity and purpose to become a powerful life-giving church in Crozet. We are called to be the living, breathing and active church of Jesus Christ! Instead of going to church as consumers, God is calling us to be the church as participants and partners with God!
We also will continue our series on “Being Church” for the next six weeks, God willing! There is a radical shift happening in the church. Overall, church attendance in America is on the decline. Over half of born again believers do not attend church while Megachurches seem to be growing. Sixty churches (including old and new) close their doors each week. This is an unprecedented time in history. What is the path that God has for us? This series, I believe will give many important insights for our discernment process and our planning for the future.
See you on Sunday!