Congregation, I have been among you now for FIVE years. I can hardly believe that. When I started here, I was in my early forties. Now I’m in my late forties! In many ways it feels so much shorter and in others, longer! One thing I’ll say is that in 2015, I learned a great deal more about who this body sees itself as and where the heart lies. And I’ll admit that I’ve had to adjust my vision a bit to line up with yours.
Vision was a large part of my ministry this past year. As a pastor who has come from large churches (by Midwest standards) coming to First Congregational Community Church is a bit of a culture shock for me. I have big ideas of what ministry should be and where it should go. But that also entails large budgets and resources!
One of the things I love most about this congregation is the heart of the people. You want to give, help, and love your neighbor. But you also like being small. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The connections you have are the strength of your ministry.
So while our Vision plan will stretch us in many ways, it will stay true to our identity in most ways. The vision plan is really about doing what we do just a bit better; such as being a bit more invitational, outreaching, and open with our ministry.
2015 was a blessed year with our usual missions, fellowship and activities. And the fall festival brought a new ministry to our church as we passed on the food tent and instead gave away kids crafts, free clothing, and garden herbs, flavored water, and recipes! What a great outreach that day was!
The support of our Youth ministry continues to be strong, and we’ve had the blessings of new help in our Sunday school rooms. But we need your help in getting children into our church. They are the future and Jesus calls us to teach them about Him. But they continue to come very sporadically. We must pray for this area of our ministry and continue to actively work to strengthen and grow children’s ministry.
Our circles, bible studies, men’s group, CFO’s, and choir all continue to strengthen us as we seek to follow more closely. I thank you all and pray that you will forge on to even greater heights in 2016.
And if you are someone who hasn’t found their niche, there are always ways to use the gifts God blessed you with in His service. Talk to me and let’s figure out how to bring joy to your soul by fulfilling your purpose.
As I stated earlier, there’s nothing wrong with being a small church. But we must continue to be big in our ministry for the Kingdom and fulfilling our call if we want to continue to be blessed by God. I look forward to working through this with you in 2016.
God Bless, Pastor Lisa