To Our District Church Family,
I am praying for you this morning. As we are quickly approaching the end of 2014 and looking towards 2015, I have spent most of the past month praying and writing about what 2015 could look like. It’s been a great joy and labor of early mornings and sleepless nights thinking and praying for our church. I wanted to write and share a little bit of what is happening in the life of our church that some of us might not even be aware of.
We are going through what I’m calling the awkward haircut stage. You know that period in time where your hair is too short, but not long enough? There is nothing you can do but just give it time to catch up. In all seriousness though, what we are experiencing as a church is what most call the “200 Barrier”. This is possibly the hardest stage for a church to grow beyond. It’s often a mixture of difficult and awkward phases in church life.
- There is more ministry than financial and leadership support
- There are often newer people who feel ignored by existing members
- The pastoral care is often high for one pastor to give people the attention they need
- The need for multi-options of ministry and leadership heightens
Let me address some of our opportunities and challenges for 2015:
- Sundays: One gathering for us would limit and not serve our families well; while two gatherings seems less exciting with two halfway filled rooms. My hope is that we see this as an opportunity to better connect with our guests, cast vision for the future, and create space for new people.
- Gospel Cohorts: One thing our Associate Minister Jeth Looney is working on is developing another small group strategy for discipleship. I’m really excited about how it’s going to better serve our church in facilitating discipleship.
- Christmas Eve Eve: We are expecting a reach of around 800 people to potentially 1000 people this year! This means we need to be preparing for 2015 and potential growth during our Sunday Gatherings.
- Local Schools: We’ve been focusing our efforts on three local elementary schools that are under-served and under-resourced. We recently purchased all brand new PE equipment for a local school through your generosity.
- Mentoring Initiative: There is a group of about 10 people who began piloting a mentoring initiative with kids in our city that are in the foster care program.
Here’s how we can pray and prioritize for our church growing from 200 to 300:
- Hospitality: Every week our church experiences anywhere from 8-15 First Time Guests! This is huge, but we’ve got to improve on extending hospitality.
- Serving Others: The greatest call we have is realizing that this isn’t about us, but others. Who can you serve today?
- Evangelism and Mission: Every day you and I get to do life with people who have never heard of Jesus or the great news of the gospel. Please be aware of this and know that God has called you to mission in our city.
- Holiness and Purity: Jesus saved you from your sin and gave you freedom from the stronghold it had on your life. Fight for your holiness. Jesus saved you from the yoke of slavery of your sin!
- Giving: On a monthly basis, we currently have around 180-200 people who attend our church. Of that number, about 40 financially support the mission on a regular basis. In addition, in the last four months, 73 people gave at least once. I’d ask you to consider, ‘Is The District Church a place you’ve seen the Lord working in your life and our city?’ I’m not asking that you start tithing at a full 10%, but start somewhere.
Finally, What level of buy do you really have?
Let’s be completely honest with one another… Is our church where you want or need to be? There are plenty of great churches in our city that are pastored by dear friends of mine, if you are not compelled enough by the mission and vision of our church to make disciples and advance the gospel in our city. Please, let us help you find a better fit. I know most of the pastors in our city and will personally introduce you to them.
There are many people who sacrificed lots of time, money, and heart to help build The District Church to where it is. We want so badly for you to see the hope of the gospel in our city as well, but if you aren’t compelled enough, it’s ok.
As we look at 2015, our staff and myself just want to know who is going with us? Who is all in and ready to see the gospel continue to advance? We love you dearly and I mean that when I say it. We can’t do what we do without you. You are our great joy.