Greetings First Church Family from your pastor in exile due to lack of power in the Rambo house after the storm. I have definitely found some irony as I prepare for Pentecost Sunday and Jesus tells the disciples to go and wait until they receive power. It’s become less and less easy to be patient as we see everybody around our home getting power still in the dark.
If you were able to come to one of our BuildUp vision events during the last few weeks. I shared with everyone in attendance the next steps I believe God is guiding us to take as He leads us into a “future and a hope”. I shared how I desired for God to re-awaken within us at First Church the pioneering and apostolic spirit this church was built upon so we can share Christ-centered Oikos(Community) with the people of Downtown Memphis and beyond. As I let myself look into the horizon and see the Oikos God is building I see these critical building blocks I believe we can establish within 3 years:
- A community of 200+ persons gathering together weekly for engaging, dynamic, and Spirit-filled worship.
- 5-6 missional family groups of 15-20 persons each learning, praying, and doing ministry together.
- A staff designed to support, equip, and free up the members of First Church to do the ministry of the church.
- A completed new sanctuary and a welcoming campus that serves the future of ministry at First Church.
Our first step in accomplishing these is for us to be ready to worship in the new sanctuary by Christmas Eve 2017.
As critical as these building blocks are to the future of First Church, they are equally daunting. But as I feel a bit overwhelmed by such a big vision, this week I’m particularly reminded how incredible the vision God laid out before the Apostles.
..you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:6)
I can’t imagine how unimaginable that vision must have been for them. A very small group of Jesus' disciples would bear witness to Him in lands they never dreamed of visiting. How? Jesus gives them the answer actually before he gave them the vision. Here’s the whole verse:
you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.(Acts 1:8)
God would build his Kingdom through them by the power of the Holy Spirit in them. They were to commit themselves to God’s vision and be faithful each step God guided them into the future.
We are all called to do the same! I believe the first step for all of First Church today at first church is to make sure we make the sacrifices necessary to make sure the new sanctuary is completed for worship on Christmas Eve morning this year. Construction of a sanctuary needs to be a part of our past and the building of Oikos has to become our future!
Sunday June 4th is our commitment Sunday for BuildUp. We are going to have an incredible service as we commit together to respond faithfully to the future ministry God has for us. Please make sure you attend and let God guide as you pray about how you will support the completion of the sanctuary. Andy