How wide is the ‘threshold’ that helps us step into a new year? Can the threshold be wide enough to take us all the way into the middle of February? I hope so, because I want to take a moment to look back at 2014 and then focus on Looking Forward into 2015.
2014 was a remarkable year for the life of our congregation. Our mission giving was exceptional with almost $140,000 given and over 1000 days of volunteer service. We had mission teams in Haiti, Romania, Pine Ridge, and Wind River. We also had an incredible outpouring of supplies, volunteers and resources for the Parker Task Force that included over $19,000 from our Christmas Eve offering!
At the same time, we grew in our average worship attendance and finished the year well into the black from a General Fund financial perspective. Our Vacation Bible School was bigger than ever and our Little Blessings Preschool continues to grow in remarkable ways.
We have been blessed! The Spirit of God has been moving among us and we cannot take that for granted.
Now it is time to look to the future to look for our next steps. There are wonderful opportunities on the horizon. But you also know that with every opportunity comes a challenge of some sort. For example, while we celebrate the growth of our preschool, we are also challenged with creatively developing space for the expansion to take root.
That brings me back to thinking about the mid-February threshold! February 18th is Ash Wednesday. That is the day when the season of Lent officially begins. Lent runs all the way through Holy Week and the great celebration of Easter. This year, Easter is on Sunday April 5th.
You know that the season of Lent was traditionally a time of preparation. Candidates who were new to the faith would receive instruction in the faith during Lent in preparation for being received into the church with full membership responsibilities on Easter morning. We typically use Lent as a time of study, reflection, and focused prayer.
This year, I would like to invite you to join me in 40 days of prayer. The season of Lent is actually 40 days long (not counting Sundays!) starting on Ash Wednesday and ending at the close of Holy Week. During our season of prayer, we will provide a particular ministry focus for each week. Our prayer focus for each week will emphasis continued clarity about our missional vision, the undergirding of new ministry efforts, our outreach into unique areas of our community, along with our own personal prayer for the growth and development of our journey as disciples of Jesus Christ.
We are thankful people! We look at what the Lord has done and is doing…and we are amazed! But we also have a deep desire to see the mission and ministry of our congregation continue to grow into the opportunities and challenges of the future.
You will be hearing much more about our 40 days of prayer. For now, please mark Wednesday February 18th on your calendar and make plans to launch our season of prayer with a special time of worship.
God bless you all! I am Looking Forward to seeing you on Sundays as we continue our journey into the life of Jesus.
Yours in Christ,