Dear members and friends out here on the prairie,
2022 is now in the rear-view mirror and 2023 lies before us. I am determined to enter this new year with great joy. Why? Three thoughts: 1) We have good news of great joy that is for all people, namely, a Savior has been born (Luke 2:10-11), 2) We have a good task of great joy to make more and better disciples (Matt. 28:18-20), and 3) We have a good God of great joy who has promised to strengthen us with His joy (Nehemiah 8:10). I want to encourage you to walk with me into this brand-new year with great joy.
The Joy of Better Focus
As I enter this brand-new year, I am committed to focusing on three main things. First, I want to focus on my relationship with the Lord. I want to reignite my relationship with the Lord by focusing on a better devotional life and prayer life. I also want to take more seriously my participation in Baptist Church Planter’s Leadership Journey that will fuel my knowledge and love for the Lord. Second, I want to focus on my relationship with my wife and children. I want them to get more and better time from me. I want to be more present at our family outings and events. Indeed, with my fifth child set to make his debut in just a few weeks, I want to be a better husband and father. Third, I want to focus on my relationship with you – my church family. I want to pray better prayers for you. I want to preach better sermons for you. I want to lead and oversee this church body in better and greater ways.
Since these are my top priorities this year, I promise you that I will not take on any additional ministry responsibilities. Certainly, I must continue in my commitments to our State Fellowship as the Chairman of the Council of 10. Yes, I must still participate in my community roles as a Kiwanis member and Chaplain for the American Legion. But I will not be taking on other leadership roles or responsibilities for this year. This means that I will not be accepting “extra-curricular” speaking engagements at camps or conferences. This also means that I will not be taking part in special ministry events as a committee person or chairperson. For this year, I must take concentrated time to focus on my relationships with the Lord, my family, and church family.
The Joy of Last Year
As I enter 2023 with great joy and a better focus, I’m also so grateful for last year and all that God accomplished in us and through us. Last year was truly a year of great joy for our church family. This past year, people were saved, baptized, and added to the church. Indeed, we brought in eight new members this past year. What joy! We were also able to host and participate in conferences, camps, and missions’ trips that saw much spiritual fruit, including young men accepting the call into full time Gospel ministry. What true joy indeed!
Perhaps the best highlight for me this past year was my missions’ trip to South Africa with Willie and Sadie Van Der Molen. Our two weeks out on the savannah were simply wonderful. We were able to lead in a youth camp that Welkom Baptist Church (in Welkom, South Africa) hosted. We were able to preach, teach, sing, counsel, and lead in a variety of different events at this youth camp. Seeing a young lady come to faith in Christ and hearing of two young men saying yes to pastoral ministry truly delighted my heart and filled me with great joy. Thank you, Prairie Flower, for sending me and the Van Der Molens on this great adventure to the heart of South Africa.
The Joy of New Goals
So, with 2022 and all of its’ highlights behind us, and with my firm commitment to be a more balanced Christian, husband, father, and pastor, here are my church goals for this brand-new year, submitted to you with great joy…
- Preaching – In terms of preaching, my goal is to simply plow through the book of Genesis this year. We are half-way through this incredible book, but we still have a long way to go. I have purposely left out a lot of special speaker slots for this new year so that we can continue to meaningfully meander through this beefy book of Genesis.
- Leading – In terms of leading, my goal (if the new church constitution is ratified) is to transition our leadership team (pastors and deacons) into two separate teams – a core team (comprised of staff pastors and potential lay pastors) and a deacon team (comprised of deacons only). Surely, things will be clunky for a bit as we get used to a new rhythm of life and leadership out here on the prairie, but this new form of distinct church leadership will be so good for our church family, resulting in better shepherding, accountability, and fellowship.
- Overseeing – In terms of overseeing, I want us to declutter our lives and ministries. We need to begin to focus on a few things and do them well, instead of doing many things and doing them poorly. This will take a lot of prayer and evaluation on my part, but this year will be a brand-new year of me, and my fellow pastors, quietly assessing all of our ministries and determining where we can “cut the fat” to be leaner and faster as a church body. Why? Because “we desire to be a strong church that makes disciples for the glory of God.” This isn’t just a catch phrase for me. This is a reality to be prayed for and planned for.
With Great Joy,
Lead Pastor, PFBC