“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:27, ESV)
I love that verse. Paul’s letter to the Philippians was one of joy, thankfulness, and encouragement. Similarly, that’s the kind of letter I think is appropriate to write to the members of Henderson Hills as I reflect some on the past and look forward to the future.
Recently I had an opportunity to lead a woman to Christ. That same day, a middle school boy told me that he led four children to Christ the previous week on a mission trip! The next Sunday, a man and his daughter approached me after church and told me they wanted to receive Christ. That afternoon I counseled with a young couple, and the young woman made application for church membership during our time together. It is a privilege and joy to experience opportunities like those, and I am equally overjoyed when I hear stories from church members who have led a family member, friend, or co-worker to know the Lord, invited someone to church, gone on their first mission trip, or begun mentoring an individual who is less mature in his or her faith.
I challenge you to look for opportunities this year to share your faith and tell others about the joy of a personal relationship with Christ. Then share your story with one of the pastors. We’d love to hear from you. There is true joy to be found in sharing the gospel and serving the Lord.
I’m thankful for the hundreds of volunteers who faithfully serve in numerous positions at Henderson Hills. We simply could not do ministry without you. I’m also thankful for those of you who are prayer warriors. The pastors, elders, and staff particularly desire your prayers. Sometimes we can literally feel a satanic attack on us and our families. Pray for us to stand strong for the Lord as your church leaders.
I’m thankful for your faithful giving—not only of time but also of your money. You give money to go on mission trips, to support mission trips, to our general fund, to Ministries of Jesus, for special projects throughout the year such as the Christmas Store, to building projects, and to so much more in order to share the love of Christ with others.
Believers are called to stand firm on the absolute truth of the Scriptures in a world that says there is no absolute truth. Theologically, Henderson Hills is on the conservative, evangelical, and baptistic side of Christianity. As a church, we embrace the belief in the inerrancy of Scripture, trinity, Lordship of Christ, sacrificial substitutionary death of Christ, a literal heaven and hell, and the imminent return of Christ. If you aren’t sure why you believe as you do, then make this year the year you nail down your beliefs (your theology). Make an appointment to talk to a pastor or an elder, or start a mentoring relationship with a mature Christian who can guide you.
Striving Side by Side
I was talking with Kevin Nicolin, Administrative Pastor and elder, the other day, and he mentioned to me that “membership is up, baptisms are up, giving is up, worship attendance is up, and FLOCK attendance is up.” Numbers represent people, and so they are important, but more important than the numbers is the fact that the church as a whole is acting faithfully to our calling. I believe increased baptisms, membership, giving, and attendance means the church as a whole is ministering to people. That’s wonderful!
Although the testimonies of faith I told you about above were ones I personally witnessed, each of these people were drawn to Christ through our members working together to provide opportunities for these folks to hear about Christ. This year make it a point to pray for the church’s unity so that we can strive side by side with one mind.
I encourage us to be faithful to Christ and His calling upon our lives. Remember that sometimes the Lord grows the church numerically, and sometimes He prunes the vine. Sometimes we see exciting things happen, and sometimes we do not see results at all. There are easy days and challenging days in the life of a church, Christian family, or individual believer. But the way we know that we are headed in the right direction and are where we need to be is if we can honestly say that we are seeking to be more faithful to Christ.
So, how are we doing? I believe we are being faithful to our call to preach and teach the Word of God, worship, and serve Christ. We are seeking to love the Lord and love people. The bottom line is this: Faithfulness is the key to understanding where we are and how we are doing. God is the one who determines the results.
Next week I'll write more on what I see for the immediate future of Henderson Hills.
I love being your pastor,
Tue, January 31, 2012
by Dennis Newkirk,