This is the pastoral report that I presented at our church’s 2019 annual business meeting.
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Philippians 1:3-6 NLT
Recently, I arrived at the church early one morning and saw something I had not noticed before. It was not anything new or different. Nothing was out of place and there was no problem. What I saw that morning had been there all along, but I just had not paid enough attention to see it.
What I saw was how beautiful our church campus looks. The grass was neatly mown, and all the flowers and shrubbery enhanced the appearance of the buildings. The layout of the campus caught my eye – the way the buildings are connected to each other in an aesthetically appealing way – and I thought of the planning and work that many through the years have invested in Grace Chapel. I noticed how well-maintained the campus looked and thought of those who give of their time and talent and energy to do the work of maintenance and repair. And I thanked God for them.
Then I began to think about what happens on our campus. Wonderful times of worship and celebration take place when we gather together. Groups of all ages meet in classrooms on Sundays and other days of the week to study God’s Word and pray together. Special church-wide events – and other small-group and family events – take place in those buildings, encouraging and increasing our fellowship together and love for one another. Activities and ministries take place which serve and impact the community around us. And all of this is done in keeping with the purpose for which we exist as a church family – to expand the Kingdom of God in our community and around the world through worship, teaching, fellowship, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I thanked God for what He is doing in us and through us.
Then I began to think about the people who make the spiritual life and growth taking place on our campus happen, and I began to thank God for those people. I thanked God for the faithfulness of our Grace Chapel family in financial giving. We look to God as our source – our provider – our “Jehovah Jireh” – as his Spirit motivates us to give, and our Grace Chapel family has responded with generous and even sacrificial giving through the years. I thanked God for the leadership of our Deacon Ministry Team and Management Board – for how they shepherd the spiritual life and health of our church family and steward the resources that God has provided for us. The spiritual health of our church family, the beauty of the facilities that I noticed that morning, and the fiscal strength that we have owe much to the leadership of these men and women as they follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. I thanked God for those who use their God-given gifts and talents in teaching, mentoring, organizing, managing, encouraging, and the multitude of other ways that individuals do the work of ministry in our church family.
I am grateful that God helped me to notice what I did that morning as I pulled into the parking lot. I am grateful for the presence and power of the Spirit of God in the lives of those who lead us in worship, teach us God’s Word, and mentor us to maturity in our walk with the Lord. I am grateful for the spiritual growth that I see happening in many lives – a growing love for Christ, for God’s Word, for time spent in prayer, and a growing love for one another. I am grateful that we are truly a “family” of followers of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit binds us together in love for God and love for one another. And I am grateful that God continues to open our eyes to the ways and places he wants us to serve him all around us as well as around the world.
Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!
2 Corinthians 9:15 NLT