Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Ministry Anniversary

Today is a unique day in that it is the 1st anniversary of the beginning of my tenure as Senior Pastor at Chillicothe Bible Church. It has been an amazing year in many ways, though it has also given me multiple opportunities to remind myself of something a friend said to me long ago: "Most pastors overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, but seriously underestimate what they can accomplish in five." I seriously overestimated what I could get done in 12 months time, but my past experience in ministry gives me a high degree of hope for what the next 4 years will bring. Among the things I've seen happen this year are:
  • A transition to preaching every week instead of a few times a year. This aspect of ministry really turns my crank. I love to share God's Word with people this way. It's just so much fun!
  • Movement among a few of our people to cultivate relationships with the lost people they know. 30 people participated in Evangelism is Relationships training to spur them on in this.
  • Karen and I have gotten to know several of our neighbors and had a couple of them over.
  • We are getting to know the church family much better and seeing where people's hearts truly lie (for good and sometimes ill).
  • Four of the pews that used to serve as "seating" in our hallway have left for better locations and been replaced with cafe style tables and chairs.
  • We've hired the best summer intern with whom I've ever personally worked and I'm enjoying seeing his ministry develop.
  • The office got repainted and reorganized into a more efficient workspace.
  • I hired my first secretary and two short-term replacements while she was out with two separate knee surgeries.
Along with these things (and others) though, so many goals remain to be realized. Among them are:
  • The launch of a MOPS ministry to reach young mothers and their children.
  • Mobilizing the rest of the church with a heart for the lost people in their lives in such a way that many of the roughly 10,000 non-Christian people in our community find Jesus.
  • Seeing fruitfulness and reproduction from our disciple-making efforts.
  • Watching the children of our community meet Jesus, follow Jesus, and serve Jesus with their lives.
  • Renovating our building and adding parking to make it more visitor friendly.
  • Leading our church out of the contemporary/traditional debate about music in worship and into an authentic experience of worship that inspires us to follow Christ more closely regardless of musical style preferences.
  • Creating a new members class and helping each new person find their "fit" at CBC.
I'll be excited to see how God uses us these next several years. I know we have the pieces for a great work of God's art. I am just trying to keep myself submitted to Him as a tool for His use in process of creating it.


Bill Allison said...

You, Karen, and the kids are breath of fresh air blowing in Chillicothe... and we love and appreciate you, your family, and your ministry!

Greg said...

Congratulations, Joe and Karen!
Sometimes it feels like you've been gone forever but I am so thankful to see how the Lord has been using you two throughout this whole great big change in your lives.
We still miss you but we can see how God has been molding and making you through the good times and the challenging times. The crucible is hot but it is so good when we shed some of the dross that so easily creeps into our lives. God is so faithful to us! Keep fighting the good fight in the streength that God gives!

The Bullhorn said...

Both of you men have my deeply felt thanks. There are no words sufficient for the value of good men who are with you in the fight. May God honor both of you for your commitment to Him despite very difficult roads to walk.