Here are the top 13 moments of 2013 at C3 based on my recollection. They are in no particular order.
1. Message on Eternity. (April 7, 2013)
I selected this message because of the response I received while I was preaching it and the comments I received afterwards. I feel God used this message to get our community focused on him. In a sense it provided a little bit of revival in our family. I spoke on how God has set eternity in our hearts and the only satisfaction for that eternity is to be in the presence of the glory of God.
2. Missions Teams
One of the big transitions we made in our church family this year was the transition from traditional life groups to missions groups. We believe one of the greatest teachers of the faith is to put that faith in action. This fall we saw the start of 4 missions groups with tremendous results. I am excited about the future of our groups.
3. The Offering.
How can I not put this blessing of God in here? In November we took up an offering of over $27,000 to pay down the debt on the land. It was so awesome to see the looks on people’s faces when they realized what God can do when we unite under his name.
4. Christmas 2013
I was blessed by the two Christmas services we had this year. Not only were both events well attended but there was a spirit of momentum and excitement that hung in the air as well. It was fun to see the vibrant worship and lively conversations. It was great!
5. Elizabeth’s Baptism.
On September 15th I did something I have never done at Celebration before. I gave a sermon on someone being baptized that day. Honestly, I didn’t know what kind of response God would give. God chose to give us Elizabeth, and it was wonderful! Since then Elizabeth has been attending our church and even brought a friend. This is the highlight of the year right here because it will make a difference for eternity.
We are going into 2014 with a whole lot of momentum. It’s exciting about the New Year and what God has planned for us.
7. The intro sermon to “Start”
On October 13 I gave a “preview” of the Start campaign and boy did God fire us up! We learned that God has given us a great vision for our church and we have to do is follow him there. We learned that wile God is with us he is already there. Just like he was for David when he met Goliath, Daniel when he was thrown into the Lion’s Den, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego learned when they were thrown into the fiery furnace.
8. Having people share with me how they are growing in their faith.
Several of you came to me and shared how God has helped you grow in your faith this past year. You took that step, you got out of the boat, and you were lifted by God’s hand. Those stories always excite me.
9. Your generosity.
Our church helped out numerous families over the past year. Because of your generosity I get to do the fun part, give them the help they need. One family we helped was just this past Christmas, who didn’t even have money to buy toilet paper, but through your generosity we were able to help that family with coats and gifts. Thank you!
10. Gorilla Warfare.
This past summer I gave a series of messages on dealing with the gorilla in our life. We think we have this gorilla caged and controlled but every now and then he escapes and ruins our life. In this series we talked about letting Jesus into that cage and deal with the gorilla once and for all. Many of you spoke to me how this helped you deal with some pretty serious issues in your life.
11. Adam and Laura arriving.
While it was sad to see Penny leave her post as Children’s Minister (Shout out to Penny!), it was exciting to bring in Adam and Laura McManus in as our new Youth and Children’s Minister. Adam could not have started out any stronger as our youth leader. He is a welcome addition to our team and church family.
12. The switch in worship setup.
This year, Bobby had us turn the worship set-up 90 degrees to the left and it has been a great change. One thing I celebrate about the change is our congregation’s ability to be flexible. We have made many changes throughout the years (and more to come) and your ability to be adapt has helped us reach out to more and more people. I applaud you for this C3!
13. We Can Do It!
At the start of 2013 I set out on what I called a Listening Tour of God. I didn’t set any agendas or goals or even planned to pray. I just wanted to listen to the voice of God. I wanted to listen for myself and on behalf of the congregation. After about 7 months God spoke something clear and confident in my heart. He simply said, “We can do it.” Not Me and God together can accomplish anything, but if we pull together and unite under God we can do what he has set for us to do.
With that comment God laid out an incredible vision for our church family.
The vision is to create spaces where people can be accepted and loved by God by glorifying him and serving them (the community). We plan to do this in awesome ways. In the next two years, Lord willing, we plan to…
- Go to two services. One of the reasons we need to go to two services is to resolve the tension between reaching out to others and still keep the family atmosphere we enjoy. We can achieve this by seeking to stay small in our growth strategy. The only way to do that is to provide more smaller venues.
- Successfully reach out to the community by expanding our Missions Groups ministry.
- Break ground on our new building the spring of 2015.
- Move into our new building the fall of 2015.
Part of the vision God gave me is he said that I was not to leave it to chance that His presence would be at the YMCA. So the plan is start another service in the Y as we move to Chuckatuck. The idea is to start a service to reach out to another group of people our regular church is not reaching out too.
Okay, this article is no longer about 2013 but 2014 and 15! We had a great year in 2013 and I look to even a better one in 2014!