I've had some time this week to consider what our church will look like in 2020. Thinking that way made me reflect on the last decade, what's changed and what I've learned in my first 10 years as a pastor.
- I had no idea what a text message was.
- I had dial-up internet - and was proud to have it! DSL / high speed internet was just too expensive.
- Until May of that year, I was still a single guy with no concept of the joy of a loving, committed relationship with my wife.
- I had a beeper. Cell phones were too pricey.
- My email address (I only had one - now, I've got three) was with AOL.
- I had done exactly one wedding and one funeral.
- The church I pastored then had less than 75 people. They passionately taught me about loving the Lord and how to serve Him.
- I thought being in PhD work was the most important aspect of my life.
- I had no idea how to leverage a website, a Facebook account, a Twitter account and a blog for the sake of the Gospel.
Prompted by a fellow pastor's blog, I've thought about what this decade would like if I could write it out in advance.
- Our church would be a loving outpost for those who are lonely, broken and in need of people who take Jesus' commands to love each other seriously.
- Our mission efforts, in Jacksonville, Cherokee County, Texas, the US and around the world, would reflect our passion for seeing the lost saved!
- Although I don't know how to quantify it, my prayer is for many in J-ville to come to Christ - and us to baptize them into the Kingdom of God. Not so we'll have a larger church but that the name of the Lord might be glorified!
- Our church will be a point of discipleship for those actively growing in their faith!
- Our church will be a place for worshiping Christ for who He is, who He has been and who He will be! Furthermore, that worship won't be identified as "traditional" or "contemporary" but by "glorifying!"
I've never cared much for measuring success / failure based on attendance numbers or by the amount / lack of money. Those are temporary sign posts. What I want to see is God moving within CBC, changing lives, changing hearts and leading each of us to become the followers of Christ we're called to be. Using our skills, talents and gifts, we'll serve the Lord by serving Jacksonville for the cause of Christ! Can you tell I'm fired up about this new decade?!??! Here's to seeing the Lord move between now and 2020!