As we survey our community, we see countless people in need of Jesus’ love and healing touch. You may ponder, as we do, how you can reach out and make a difference in so many lives. It’s a difficult challenge to take on as an individual, but we are convinced that as American Baptists working together, we can make a difference by supporting the America For Christ Offering 2010.
This year’s theme—“With Willing Hands: Connect. Care.Celebrate” – is a powerful reminder that Jesus’ public ministry was all about connecting and caring for people in need. Through the work of the National Ministries, which is supported by the America for Christ Offering, we can participate with our Lord in connecting, caring, and celebrating the power of the Gospel:
The America for Christ Offering 2010 strengthens our churches by providing support to our pastoral counselors and chaplains, designing leadership workshops and conferences, promoting excellent discipleship resources through Judson Press, and providing opportunities for churches, individuals, and youth groups to participate in home mission through Volunteer Ministries.
We are encouraged by this year’s theme to come alongside people “with willing hands” to connect, care, and celebrate. How do we see Jesus at work in our community and country? How can we help Jesus with this important work?
Please join me in giving generously to the America for Christ Offering 2010 and help us to reach our goal. Together we can touch and change lives for the cause of Christ. Together we can make a difference. “For the love of Christ urges us on….” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
Sincerely in Christ,
THE MISSIONS COMMITTEE
- as people come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ;
- as children in poverty are reached through the Penny Project;
- as youth, children, and adults grow in discipleship;
- as communities are changed through Christian centers;
- as we increase church vitality through the Church in Mission trainings, and
- as we help to support and relocate refugees into churches and communities.
The Natural Church Development (NCD) process has concluded the first step of an ongoing effort to strengthen the life of FBC-D. The NCD tool is a research based program that has examined over 50,000 congregations throughout the world. The study indicated 8 primary characteristics in church life critical for congregational health and mission. The eight characteristics are: Empowering Leadership, Gift-Oriented Ministry, Passionate Spirituality, Functional Structures, Inspiring Worship Service, Holistic Small Groups, Need-Oriented Evangelism, and Loving Relationships. Thirty FBC-D people representing young and old, male and female, Euro-and African-American, andlong time members; as well as, recent members were giving a survey. The lowest minimum factor that appeared in the survey results was Inspiring Worship; a group was formed to work on worship. Some results are already evident on Sunday mornings.
The NCD theory is that by strengthening the lowest minimum factor you will also strengthen the other seven: a rising tide lifts all boats. The group has finished this step of the process and will now become part of a worship planning team in the Worship Committee. (If you are interested in becoming a part of this planning ministry, contact Pastor Bill.)
A second survey was administered and the results are in. Guess what? Inspiring Worship moved up but remained the lowest common factor. I am not surprised given the multi-racial character of the congregation. There are many expectations at any given time. Passionate Spirituality remained the same and the others all reveal significant stronger findings. I have presented these findings to Church Council.
We have consulted with Tucker Gunnemann, ABC Region staff who is trained in NCD, and we will now begin to work on Passionate Spirituality. What exactly is Passionate Spirituality, you ask? Good question! We will discover this together.
If you are interested in being a part of this next step in the NCD, contact me. I will be contacting some folks—about 4-6—to undertake this critical ministry. Passionate Spirituality is related to Inspiring Worship. But these are all subjective terms and we now need to find a common place where everyone can stand together and allow the Wind of the Spirit to blow through the hearts of the church. I am excited about this next step and look forward to sharing more with you as time goes by.
Thank You check recipients and others who received financial assistance from the 2008 Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering were overwhelmed by the generosity of American Baptist congregations in the midst of the most severe recession since the Great Depression.
George and Charolotte Gillespie, Moorestown, NJ, wrote: “We deeply appreciate the members of our ABC congregations—many of whom may have been dealing with their own financial problems—who contributed to the RMMO out of their love, loyalty and faith.”
Contributions to the RMMO in 2008 totaled $1,383,537. Of that amount, 57% was distributed as Thank You checks to 3,238 retired American Baptist ministers, missionaries and their widowed spouses. The average check was $258.69.
Thirty-eight percent was made available to people with emergency and other heavy financial needs, and 5% was used for administrative expenses.
Please join me as we Remember with Love and Give with Gratitude to those who have dedicated their lives to Christian ministry. Please make a generous contribution to the RMMO, which will be collected throughout the month of January, 2010. Our church goal is $800.
Your gift makes a difference.
The Missions Committee
Juliette McClung Donna Allix
Leslie Bailey Myrtice Beatty
Kathy Collins Martha Green
Eunita Haskins Dianne Hubbard
Joyce McDaniel Ann Richardson
Shirley Vincent Brandy Walton
What a great and glorious Easter service. Of course, it is kind of hard for Easter to be disappointing. Whatever hope we may have in this life as Christians comes to us from God’s faithfulness. And in raising Jesus from the dead God says that while death means fatal, it does not mean final. May the joy of this great season of the Christian year continue to live and reign in your life.
The Natural Church Development that produced the emphasis on “inspiring worship” is continuing as Mike Kuptz, Vickie Furman and I meet this coming Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. in the Conference Room to pray and plan a worship service. If you would like to join us, this is your invitation.
The “Share the Warmth” campaign is doing well and since we have until October to reach our goal of replacing the sanctuary furnace, let’s all continue in prayer and practice. One such practice might be to redirect some personal spending; say instead of buying Starbucks coffee, I might redirect that money to the furnace fund. I lose nothing and gain personal discipline.
The CROP WALK is coming up on Sunday, May 2. The participation by FBC-D has grown over the years and the money we have raised for famine relief has increased as well. This year I challenge the adults in the church to walk—it’s healthy and it is a ministry. You can’t lose.
Finally, I want to thank the congregation for its generosity and prayerful support for the work of Christ through the local church. God is good and great and we, of all the people on the face of the earth, are most blessed. May the Lord continue to walk with you and yours and may the grace of God continue to provide and sustain you in these days.
Peace and Grace,