What Does God Have in Store for 2016?
There comes a time each year, typically after the holidays, that we pause for a moment and give God thanks for the past year. We thank him for the victories and the trials in our lives. We thank him for the lives he allowed us to touch. For some of us, the past year was one of the most difficult. We moved to a new place, started a new phase of life, or said our final earthly goodbyes to someone we loved. To others, the past year has been about fresh beginnings and new starts. The birth of a new baby, joining our lives together with the one we fell in love with, a new job, or a new opportunity that we never dreamed possible. Before I look toward the excitement of 2016, I think it’s important to pause and praise God for 2015. In 2015, our church family again served more than 225 children with a new backpack full of school supplies. A young family was given a nice car to drive by another family in our church. Several children made the decision to follow Jesus with their lives. A few young couples were united in marriage. A young family group was started, and was quickly supported by our Servants for Christ class to meet the needs for childcare. New tutors joined the team to share Jesus’ love with at-risk children at Julius Marks Elementary. At least 2 opportunities were given at the Egg Hunt and Party in the Park for our church to be a light in the community. A team of people worked tirelessly to redecorate the elementary space into a castle. Nearly 100 children attended our first daytime Vacation Bible School along with so many incredible team members. Together our church worshipped and fellowshipped as One Church, One Body. Many new people joined the ministry teams in Elementary and Preschool. Each week 18 preteen boys and 5 preteen girls gather together to study God’s word and grow in their faith. In 2015, God rescued several marriages from divorce. A new ministry was begun through We Care to serve the needs of more families in our community. Finally, many individuals and a few groups gave generously to support an orphanage filled with 18 beautiful children for the past year. These are only the things I know about. Life experiences I have witnessed first hand alongside many of you. Beyond this list are probably thousands of other ways we can stand in awe of how God has used our church family for His Kingdom!
Each of the stories above came with opportunities to be a light, to love others, and to deepen our faith. These stories showed us God in a bigger way, but they are only just the beginning. When I am asked what I look forward to in 2016, I can’t really give a direct answer. I know that our children’s ministry team is excited about new ideas to serve young families and reach more children for Jesus. I know several volunteers are excited about outreach immediately in January through Family Movie Nights on January 8, 15, 22, and 29. I know that our Egg Hunt team is looking forward to some new ideas to excite more Preschool kids. I know that our VBS team will soon gear up for an exciting Day Time VBS, July 10-15! At the same time we will also be planning a redecoration of both the elementary and preschool area to prepare for 2016-2017 school year. We will also spend a summer with awesome kids at Blue Grass Christian Camp for Day Camps and 7/11! I know that our Psalm 82:3 Mission team is returning to Liberia, June 6-16, to serve the orphans of Liberia, to lead a Vacation Bible School for a community filled with children, and more! I know that the JME team and Party in the Park team are excited to serve our community through backpacks and an evening of fun with food and inflatables. I know that a team of children’s ministry leaders in Fayette County will lead the children’s team for the International Conference on Missions and that they will soon be planning a very exciting multi-cultural worship experience for many children to attend next November. These are the things I know are on schedule to happen in 2016. The opportunities for you to serve widows, orphans, the community, or our church family are endless. However, the most exciting thing in 2016 to me isn’t what is written down. It’s to look at a verse like Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” In this verse, I am reminded that God’s plans are always better than my plans. I hope and pray that 2016 is a year our church will be fully dedicated to reaching young families. I hope and pray that each of us dig deeper roots in our faith. Ultimately, I hope, that at the end of 2016, we can look back on our year and praise God for the opportunities he allowed us to be His hands and His feet for His Kingdom to reach His lost children. I pray you see the opportunities and allow yourself to be used by Him for His plans!