Yesterday was our annual Vision Sunday at Laurel Baptist Church. This has always been an enjoyable day as we focus on what the Lord desires to accomplish through our church in the new year. We distribute church calendars, hand out a free gift to all in attendance, and share goals for the ministry.
The Lord led me in a different direction this year. Since our beginning 6 years ago we have always had a theme and centered the entire year around that one theme. This year, I transitioned into more of a focus rather than a theme. What’s the difference? Historically for us a theme was most often restricted by time, but a focus was more related to a goal. For us, in this season of ministry, the goal is simply God; the focus is more prayer. What about the plan?…the theme to move us forward?…the strategy for marketing our ministry to the community? Well, that’s just it. I’ve taken me out of the equation. Our plan is to pursue God through prayer and let Him lead.
Just because we don’t have a “theme,” so to speak, this year doesn’t mean we don’t have goals. Annually, around the summer, I begin praying about what the Lord desires for me as I lead our church to honor Him. In September I share theses goals with our staff and on Vision Sunday with our church. In case you missed last night’s service, here are ten ministry goals God has given me for our church in 2015. They’re just goals. Goals that will only be met as the Lord leads.
#1 – LEAD OUR CHURCH IN A PASSIONATE PURSUIT OF GOD – PRAYER.
We are going to continue our Sunday altars of prayer at the conclusion of each message. We are going to intentionally create an environment of dependence upon God rather than on one another. Our Wednesday night services is going to be strictly a prayer meeting. This is the focus – prayer. This is the goal – God.
#2 – AIM FOR SIMPLICITY IN OVERALL MINISTRY CALENDAR AND PHILOSOPHY.
We’ve lightened up the church calendar a lot to give simplicity and freshness in our overall ministry. We are focused LESS on programs and MORE on pursuing God.
#3 – LAUNCH A STRATEGIC PLAN FOR MORTGAGE PAYOFF AND NEW CONSTRUCTION.
It’s exciting to be a part of a growing church. It’s amazing what God has done here in nearly 7 years. After several renovations, a building expansion, and parking lot addition, and many other projects, it’s time to seek God about the next building. This will be the big one! Our desire is to have God’s heart in this matter whether it be new construction, relocation, or whatever the Lord has for us.
#4 – INCREASE OPPORTUNITIES DURING OUR MONTHLY REACH MINISTRY.
On the first Saturday of each month we host REACH – our organized time of reaching people in our community for Christ. Over 80 people each month participate in this Great Commission endeavor. But with a church our size more should be involved. Historically, we’ve limited REACH to simply door-to-door canvassing. I recognize that due to health and other factors this is difficult for every member of our church. So, this year we are giving three distinct opportunities for every member to be involved in REACH.
- First, door-to-door canvassing and tract distribution.
- Second, take gifts to first time guests who have visited in the past 30 days.
- Third, community outreach projects that share Christ’s love through gifts to children in the hospital, meals for public servants, free gift wrapping in December, meals to the homeless, and so much more.
#5 – OFFICIALLY BEGIN OUR DEACON MINISTRY & EVALUATE ADDITIONAL STAFF NEEDS.
Our deacons have been training for months and will be ready soon to serve our church family providing needs of member care and assistance to me. This is an exciting step of ministry for our church. We also, every year, do our best to evaluate our staff needs based upon the Lord’s direction and provision.
#6 – LAUNCH A HOMESCHOOL GROUP FOR OUR MEMBERS.
We have approximately 10 families that homeschool their children. We desire to provide a group for those children to be a part of, through the membership of our church, that will cultivate friendship, field trips, and additional education through arts, music, and Bible training.
#7 – ALIGN GROWTH GROUPS FOR TOPICAL STUDIES ON SUNDAY MORNINGS.
While we will maintain our two Sunday morning service schedule while also providing topical studies related to evangelism, parenting, marriage, finances, etc. in 4 to 6 week increments throughout the year. As you show interest in these Bible studies you can sign up to attend one of the groups from 9:15am – 10:00am before attending our second worship service at 10:30am.
#8 – THEME WITH PAINT AND DECOR OUR KIDS EDUCATION ROOMS.
All of our classrooms are being used exclusively for our kid’s ministry each service. From Kid’s Connection on Sunday mornings to Patch Choir on Sunday nights to Awana Clubs on Wednesdays. We’d like to personalize these rooms to make them better suited for our children to enjoy.
#9 – EXPAND OUR CHURCH PLANTING AND MISSION ENDEAVORS.
The Lord answered this goal back in November as we began our partnership with Ken Baker as his sending church to the Bronx. But there is much more to be done. We are praying that God will use us to not only encourage missionaries around the world but to send more from our church to plant to churches and take the gospel to unreached people.
#10 – FOCUS EVANGELISTICALLY ON THE UNIVERSITY AREA.
Laurel Baptist Church is technically located in the University City area. The population of this area is 160,000 with 45,000 homes. If it was its own city it would be the 6th largest in the state of North Carolina. Then, with UNCC Charlotte we have the potential of ministering to 26,600 students who are enrolled at the University. Our focus through door knocking and mass mailings in 2015 will be to the University Area.
Please pray that we will honor God through these goals and that He will provide as we pursue Him and His glory. I’m looking forward to sharing 2015 with you, our church family!