Our mission as a church is clear: To bring glory to God by making fully devoted followers of Christ.
Our mission fuels our vision: We seek to be a gospel-centered church in our worship, disciple-making, community, and service.
These statements articulate why GBC exists. They help us draw a line in the sand as we say to the world, there are many good things we can do as a church, but this is the main thing we do. To quote one of our former pastors, these statements help us “keep the main thing the main thing.” That means everything we say, everything we do, and every dollar we spend should directly fulfill our mission and vision.
Two weeks ago, we had a quarterly members meeting. This is a meeting where every member of Grace Baptist Church should attend as we seek to make decisions and talk through ideas about how to fulfill our mission. I cannot stress enough how important it is that every member make it a priority to attend our members’ meetings. In the most recent meeting, we voted on two massively significant topics: we approved an annual budget and we voted to support a church planter.
A church budget is not just a financial document, it is a spiritual document. It reflects our priorities to help us faithfully carry out our mission. The leadership of this church takes this document very seriously. This year, our church budget exceeds two million dollars. That is a lot of money. We don’t take that lightly. It requires an incredible level of stewardship. The pastors work with our business office to ensure the budget fits with our vision moving forward.
Along with a level of stewardship, this budget requires an incredible level of faith as well. When we vote on a budget, we are making a commitment together as a family to give faithfully and generously to meet this goal. I want to continually remind you that the primary reason why we give of our earthly treasure is to show that Jesus is our greatest treasure. We want to see the good news of Jesus Christ spread throughout this region and around the world. So, while we take this document seriously, we also look at it with incredible joy.
Part of that joy comes from having the privilege of giving $570,000 dollars to missions last year. That accounts for 28% of all money that was given. We can only attribute this to God’s amazing grace. In addition, locally we will continue to use our two facilities as gathering places for the gospel to be boldly declared and lovingly displayed.
I want to thank you our church family for your cheerful and generous giving. None of the pastors or staff takes it for granted that we get to work here. It is an incredible honor to serve this church.
At the members meeting we also voted to transition one of our missionaries into becoming a full-time church planter. Fred Seiferth has worked at ABWE for 14 years helping train other missionaries in evangelism and discipleship. Over the past three years, God has given him a growing burden to use that training to make disciples in the Harrisburg, PA area. We got to hear Fred share passionately about God’s calling in this way. We also heard testimonies from several people who have recently come to faith in Jesus as a result of Fred’s investment in their lives.
This is exciting news because one of our corporate prayers that we have been praying is for God to use Grace to plant more churches. This is a direct answer to that prayer.
As I have watched footage of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, I find that it has led to serious reflection in my heart. I grieve over the lives lost. I grieve over the pain and turmoil caused as families lost everything they valued. I grieve over the thousands who have been displaced and have no place to go. This Sunday, I will share how our church plans to participate in the relief efforts. Our prayers, our resources, and (for some) our presence is needed to help the people of Texas rebuild.
As I reflect on what has happened, I find that a greater urgency welling up inside of me. I cannot settle for “business as usual.” People are dying. Hearts are broken. And that’s not just in Texas, but everywhere. People are going through horrible storms in their lives, but physically and spiritually. The only hope for the world is the good news of Jesus Christ. As the church, we have the unique responsibility and privilege to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). Every one of us has a calling to share in the ministry of reconciliation. And as we see in the life of Jesus, we do this in word and in deed.
Church, there are many good ways to invest your time, your talent, and your resources. I implore you to invest in ways that matter eternally. May God grant each of us wisdom to know how to do this. Would you join me in pleading with God to mobilize his church to be his hands and feet?
Please know that I speak for all your pastors when I say, we love you and are praying for you. Let’s give our lives to shine the light of Jesus Christ locally and globally—to the glory of God the Father.