Pastor’s Perspective – September 2013
Over the past several months I have used this article to articulate where we are going and what we plan to do here at First Baptist Church. This wasn’t always the case. I originally began writing these articles in order to share opinions on local and national news stories. I did this in order to get to the theological level of political and popular issues. I truly enjoy writing these articles, as I am a self professed news junkie, but in recent months the important news has been occurring here at First Baptist Church. For that reason it has become necessary to use this space to share news and notes about what First Baptist Church is up to. Once again I will devote this space to updates concerning what God is doing at 6520 Pilliod Road in Holland, Ohio.
First Baptist Church is on the move, but it is important to note that the direction was not recently or haphazardly conceived. We have been working toward many of these goals for nearly six years. While the plans have been in the works for years, the execution of our strategies are now moving at a fast pace. Of course this is how most growth (including most Church growth) occurs. Like the mighty tree, a Church can take a long time for the roots to grow. The formation of a good foundational root system is imperative to the future of a fruit bearing tree. Once the foundation is strong, once the roots can get a steady supply of water to the tree, then the tree bears fruit. After spending years on foundational work we are now starting to see some green shoots and buds that portent arriving fruit.
There are, however, still a few steps that we must take to solidify the foundations of the Church. One of these steps is to ratify the current constitutional amendments, previous discussed at the June Annual Meeting and the summer Cottage Meetings. The Constitutional amendments establish the new A.C.T.S. Ministry Team structure. The A.C.T.S. Teams include the Attract, Connect, Train, and Send Teams. The new teams will not operate as Boards seeking to make decisions, but as true teams, seeking to involve as many people possible in the “hands on” work of the Church.
Participation is the goal of the ACTS teams, and they would love to have you involved in helping as Greeters, Ushers, Hosts, Hostesses, Teachers, Facilitators, Inviters, Communicators, or any work of discipleship that God is calling you to accomplish. If you would like to participate in the ACTS teams then please contact the Church office or one of our ACTS team leaders. We would be glad to get you started.
The vote for the Constitutional amendments will take place on September 15 (the day of the Chicken Bar-B-Q). The vote will not involve a meeting, but will be a simple paper ballot that every member will get a chance to cast.
Another step that we have taken is that we are now celebrating two worship services each Sunday morning. Our traditional worship service begins at 9:15. The traditional worship service will feature a liturgical structure with the singing of classic hymns and responsive readings. If you enjoy worshipping as we have in decades past then the traditional service might be the one for you.
The Celebration Service is for people who are looking for something a little bit more modern. Beginning each Sunday at 10:45, the Celebration Service will feature our Praise Band leading songs that you might be familiar with if you listen to K-Love. You can sing along with the Band, with the words projected on the screen for your convenience, or you can just sit and listen as the music prepares your heart for the preaching of God’s word.
Regardless of what time you worship God, the preaching of God’s word remains central to worship at First Baptist Church. I will be preaching from the same Biblical text and with the same theme for both worship services. So while the sermons will not be the same in both settings, the word of God will be preached with the same intent and the same central message to both groups.
We are very much aware that you may not see all of the same people that you have enjoyed worshipping with. For that reason we have set up a regular fellowship time for those who attend both services. From 10:15 until 10:45 we will have coffee and donuts available for those who attend either service, so whether you stay late or show up a few minutes early, take the time to join us for some premium coffee and great fellowship each and every Sunday.
Another important change is that we will have ongoing children’s programming through both worship services. Our children’s church will be the highlight of the week for those who attend it. We will be placing an important emphasis on the education of the young so that we can introduce them to Jesus in a way that they can easily understand and relate to. We are still looking for a few good teachers and some dedicated helpers to provide these necessary programs for the children of Northwest Ohio. Please see Jude Ehrsam or me if you are interested in helping.
We are also learning new ways to communicate and invite people to worship with us. The month of September begins the first of many entries into the world of mass communication. It begins with a simple radio advertisement on WPOS-FM. The radio ad will run several times a week and will invite people to our worship services. As time goes on we are preparing to engage in more publicity and outreach, seeking to create a presence on radio and utilizing any door that God might open for us.
As you can see there is a lot happening here at First Baptist Church, and there is more to come. In October we will be hosting our first ever Trunk or Treat event, with a wonderful celebratory theme to make Halloween a safe and enjoyable experience for all ages. There are so many wonderful opportunities to serve God and God’s people coming up. As the foundational work reaches its conclusion, the next stage of labor will arrive with new opportunities to experience and new people to meet.
Make sure that you fully participate in the experience. Join us for one or both of the worship services. Invite your friends and family members. Help us in the fellowship time or during the worship services. You do not need to have any special skills in order to be a part of what we are doing. Can you make coffee? Then you can help. Are you someone who can carry an amp or set up a table? Then you can help. Do you have a friendly smile and a great attitude? Then you can help. If you love the Lord and have the ability to assist then we want you to be a part of what God is doing at First Baptist Church.
God’s people have been up to a lot this summer. We have prayed and toiled. We have spoken and listened. We have thought and acted. We have struggled through times of waiting and moments of pain, and now together we are moving forward to the place where God is calling us. Come and join us. Pray for us. Stand with us and by us in the months to come. And join us as we witness what God can do when God’s people say YES!
Happy to follow, blessed to lead.