As we come to the close of another year, we often reflect on where we have been and where we are going. As a church, 2012 has been a particularly eventful year. We changed our Sunday morning schedule in the spring and hired additional staff in the summer. Both of these decisions involved a lengthy discernment process that began in 2011 and received strong congregational support. Nevertheless, such changes are significant for any congregation. Change is never easy; it always requires adjustment on some level.
I wish I could say that 2013 will be the year of stability. It would be nice to sit back and not have to think about significant changes. Unfortunately, the world keeps changing around us and challenges us to adapt. As we look into next year, I want to highlight at least two areas of focus for January.
One area of focus for 2013 will be stewardship. While this includes financial stewardship, it is much more. As a congregation by necessity, we are shifting leadership and ministry support toward younger attendees and members. As we have experienced loss in recent years of ageing members (to death and assisted living facilities), we are finding the pews filled with younger people. This generation will need to pick up where the older generation has left off. This is not to diminish the continued participation but needed care of older members, but we must consider what will be in the next twenty years. We will need to reconsider how we use our resources as a part of this process. But at the same time, everyone needs to be faithful in time, talent and financial resources if First Baptist Church is to remain viable. We will be having a family conversation regarding stewardship in the early part of 2013.
I have been working with a small team to implement new communities/discipleship initiatives at the beginning of next year. We have found that discipleship looks a bit different for the younger generation. While the values are the same, culture has shifted significantly in the last fifty years. We will be piloting a new community beginning in February. This community has the potential for great impact in our congregation and our local community. I hope that some of you will consider joining this effort.
Will 2013 be a year of change? I am sure that it will be. What will those changes be and how will they affect each of us? I am not sure. Yet, I am convinced that God will lead us and direct us toward His vision for First Baptist Church. We may need to shift our resources; we may need to try new methods of ministry. May God give us the ability to hear His voice as we navigate our ever-changing world. May He give us the courage to adapt to new callings as we continue to fulfill the Great Commission.
(Matthew 28:19 NIV) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit