This Sunday, my church turns 5 years old. God has been kind to us. Here is my annual anniversary letter that I wrote to my church family:
Christ Baptist Family,
It is pure joy to be one of your pastors. I love being a part of this church that strives to make much of Jesus Christ in everything. Through these past few months, I have realized just how blessed I am to have a church family that loves, supports, and encourages me constantly. I am a very happy pastor.
It is hard to believe that we are celebrating 5 years together as a church. When we first started Christ Baptist, we heard from several people that the first 5 years would be the most difficult. But, in reality, the joy has far outweighed the difficulty. Though we don’t deserve it, God has been incredibly kind to us. He continues to use this church to amaze me regularly.
God has done 10,000 things in and through Christ Baptist Church this year. Most of what He has done has been either undetected or unnoticed by us. But, perhaps the most obvious and evident mercy of God to us this year has been how He has used our small church to make a big impact on the wider Body of Christ. This fifth year has been the year of sending at Christ Baptist Church. God has made us a launching pad for spreading His mission all around this area.
We sent pastors to other churches, we sent men to train for pastoral ministry at seminary, and most significantly, we sent a portion of our own body to plant Crossway Church in Goldsboro. Of the 9 men (outside of the current elders) who were part of our elder training program last year, 8 have gone out to other places and other ministries. We’ve done what the church is supposed to do; we’ve multiplied ourselves for the spread of the gospel. Think of the hundreds of ways we have been a blessing, not just to each other, but to thousands of people we’ll never meet (in this life).
It is easy to lose sight of the big picture. We have been and will continue to be part of something much more significant than just our church. We are being used to impact not just this area, but ultimately, we are being used to impact lives all around the world. We are part of something bigger than we often realize. May the Savior be pleased to multiply our efforts all the more in the days to come.
What a blessing it was to camp in the book of Hebrews this past year. We have had a front row seat to the most spectacular glories this world has ever known. God, through His Word, has given us a sustained glimpse into the unrivaled supremacy of our Savior. Each week of this past year we were reminded that our Savior’s death for our sins was final and perfect. Jesus offered a single sacrifice for sins and then sat down at the right hand of the Father (Heb. 10:12). Church, may we ever fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2). Endurance comes as we gaze on Jesus.
As we journey through the Gospel of Mark this next year, may God open our eyes to see more and more of the majesty of the glorious Son of God who lived and died in our place. May we learn to trust the One who came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Church, we are being changed into the image of Jesus, from one degree of glory to another, as we stare into His lovely face (2 Cor. 3:18).
Christ Baptist Church, I am excited and humbled as I think about what this year holds for us. I’m excited because serving the church of God is the most profound privilege in the whole world. This church is precious because the Savior shed His blood to purchase us for Himself. As John Stott has said, “If the church was worth his blood, is it not worth our labor? The privilege of serving it is established by the preciousness of the price paid for its purchase.” So, I’m excited because of the magnitude and glory of this task. But, I’m also humbled because of how inadequate I am for this task. I don’t have the answers or solutions to our weaknesses. I am a desperate pastor just trying to be faithful and waiting for the help of the Lord.
That’s actually what I want to call all of us to this year: desperation and dependence. We are nothing without Christ. Apart from Him we can do nothing. Church, let’s grow in desperation this year. Let’s be convinced that we need something we don’t have and can’t obtain by anything we do. Let’s humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, cry out to Him for help, and keep striving for faithfulness in everything.
Father, make us aware of how desperate we are for you. And if it would please you and serve your sovereign purposes, set us ablaze with love and passion for our Savior this year. Please, let us make much of Jesus by treasuring Him above all things, loving one another, and proclaiming him to the world.
Church, I thank God for you. Thank you for your kind encouragement and constant love for my family and I. I love you more than you know.
For the Glory of King Jesus,