That phrase comes from Ephesians 4:12 and it is God's plan for how the ministries of the local body of Christ, the church, is to go about her mission of making disciples. The context of that passage outlines how God given leadership to His church has a responsibility to equip and empower the saints of God to carry out the work of the ministry of the church as a whole so the church will be edified or built up, strengthened and grow. When the church leaders and saints all do their part, the kingdom of God is expanded and God is glorified in that.
I thought in light of that I'd update you on some of the work of the ministry that is taking place at Calvary highlighting a few committees that have been working hard at their responsibilities. The nominating committee has presented to the church the slate of workers for the new church year that begins in September. Also, all of our Sunday School positions are filled which is no small undertaking. Every classroom is full as people gather each Sunday at 9:45 to study God's word in the Bible Study hour. Our R.E.A.C.H. Sunday School teams faithfully follow up on absentees and prospects. Our Sunday school attendance continues to average from 70 to 80% of our morning worship attendance which is incredible and I say to God be the glory! This demonstrates the importance of getting people connected to a small group from the corporate worship crowd and how well ya'll do at including people. I'm so proud of you.
Your trustees are hard at work maintaining our property. We've recently had a number of major things to deal with, our air conditioning, phone system, oversight of getting a bathroom installed in the Narthex, plumbing leaks and roof leaks that have caused some damage to the Happy Followers classroom are all major projects they've had to tackle. This is on top of the ongoing maintenance issues that need to be addressed weekly. Maintaining our property is a huge challenge and I'm thankful for these trustees.
The Personnel Committee has been hard at work as well and has processed approximately 60 resumes for our associate pastor positions. Initially we are looking to fill the position for discipleship and administration. Farther down the road, we would like to see an associate pastor of missional outreach and family ministry. This is a slow and tedious process and they are earnestly seeking God's will for the man that He has chosen for this first position of discipleship and administration. We're much closer than we were when we started and they are actively interviewing potential candidates. Please pray with us that God will make His will known to each member of the committee in the upcoming days as they seek God's man to join our team. When we have someone to present to the church for consideration, that news will be publicized as appropriate.
The ad hoc vision committee I appointed continues to pray for God's direction about our future. We're seeking the Lord's direction for the long term future ministries of Calvary and what we can do here to reach as many people with the Gospel as a neighborhood church and how we can make the greatest impact on our community for Christ. Through prayer, study and research on a number of spiritual and physical needs as our church is in the spiritual business of making disciples that takes physical logistics; we've been asking the Lord to guide us. We’re asking questions such as how we can maximize our existing space, what future space needs to we need to plan for over the next 20-30 years and what will this community look like in 20 to 30 years? How will BRAC and APG impact our church ministry? How can we plant new churches or develop other campuses to reach other areas when we max out our property here? Other immediate questions related to current space needs with a burgeoning children's and youth ministry weighs heavy upon us. One of the things the vision committee has sensed of the Lord's leading is to see what realistic options there are at developing our church property with an updated master plan. The current plan we have in place is over 30 years old so we’ve asked for the wisdom of local experts in their fields, knowledgeable with the town code and what limitations there are with current codes. Some folks from the vision committee and the trustees informally approached the appropriate town leaders with some initial ideas we had to help us with space needs. We learned that those ideas would not be well received. While that was disappointing, it was also helpful and gave us direction on how to proceed. You learn through these kinds of discussions that this process is a tedious one as we balance stewardship of resources, needs for space but also gaining the approval of our plans with the town and our neighbors. We are confident that as the Lord leads us, He will go before us to make it all work the way He wants. Pray for this team and the trustees as they pray and seek God’s face and the wisdom of others who can help us develop our master plan.
These are just a few examples of the work of the ministry by the saints of God taking place here at Calvary for the edifying of the body of Christ. Space will not permit at this point to recognize all of our ministry teams/committees who are all actively putting together their ministry action proposals for our 2012 budget process that is well under way. I know some might be discouraged we’re not currently meeting our budget need this year but we’re always careful stewards of God’s resources and the church is sound financially as God’s people are faithful with their tithes and offerings.
We've had a great time in the Word of God with my summer preaching series seeking to answer the question of “What is God like?” as we seek to know the God the Bible and not the god of our understanding. Those messages are available on our website on the media tab and it is simple to invite someone to listen to it with an email invitation feature. We just recently added a feature that allows you to download the study guides that have been given out on Sunday mornings also. I trust these have been helpful to you and I’m thankful for all these volunteer committees who do their work so I can continue to labor in the study and preach the word. I plan to conclude this series on the attributes of God on Labor Day weekend with the names of God and how they reveal His character to us. You won’t want to miss it, but if you’re traveling, catch it later on the website. I plan to preach a series this fall through the Book of Revelation to give us an overview of the book and will conclude this series by Christmas. It should be an exciting adventure.
One final thought as I’ve been discussing saints doing the work of the ministry. Last Sunday was the last Sunday Ernie & Marie Moretz would be with us. For 57 years they have been members of Calvary and they are faithful servants. They are moving to North Carolina to minister to their family. They have faithfully modeled servant-hood and the Ephesians 4:12 principle and we will miss them, but we wish them God’s blessings as they go.
What a joy to pastor a church where the saints are doing the work of the ministry and edifying the body of Christ. Updating you from my little corner of the world to yours…
Pastor Ralph Green
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church www.calvarybelair.com