From Pastor Mark
A few years ago I heard a professor say that a pastor should be the chief storyteller of his congregation. By that he meant that a pastor should be able to share with the entire congregation how God is at work within the congregation.
The reason why this is so important is because it is so easy and natural to see what needs fixing in the church or what’s not working well. And yes there are times when it is absolutely appropriate for the body of Christ to address those concerns. But, one of the most important themes in Scripture is to remember what God has done—remember his faithfulness and his goodness (e.g. Deuteronomy 8:2, Psalm 103:2). How can we remember if we do not even know what God is doing among us as a church? Remembering helps us build greater trust in God for the future.
So, today I want to share several stories of how God is at work through our church. But I also want to connect God’s exciting work to our church budget that we will be voting on this Sunday evening at our Members Meeting (5 pm). I believe the two are inextricably linked.
At BowieFest, a lady saw our church booth and picked up some information. A few weeks later, that same lady ended up getting her car washed at Grace Gives. She was absolutely amazed that we would wash her car totally for free. Even though she lived in DC, she decided that she really needed to check out this church.
When a welcome caller followed up with her after her first visit, she shared how she had been hurt by a previous church and hadn’t been going to church for a while. But, that after BowieFest and Grace Gives, she felt compelled to check out Grace for the sake of her and her son. We don’t know if she will continue attending, but how exciting is it that we were able to impact her life in this way?
A few weeks ago I got an email from a church member. Here is part of what she said:
“Thank you for seeking God’s will and being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Back in February [the pastors] preached on grief and it was exactly the message my step-mom from Idaho needed to hear. Then this weekend my Hindu step-dad from [another country] was visiting and he really respected and started to contemplate the message about being good enough. It brings tears to my eyes how God loves us enough to provide just the right message to reach those in need.”
How amazing is our God to bring people to our corporate worship—Christian and non-Christian—at just the right time to hear a message that they need?
In July, Grace sent a team to Spain to partner with our missionary, Daniel Estrada. Pastor Bill knew that the ministry context in Spain would look very different than the previous trips to Mexico or Houston. And yet, the team prayed and trusted that God would open the right doors to reach people with the love of Christ. While many people seemed closed to the gospel, the team was able to build relationships with several teenagers who had never attended church. And over several days, some of our church members got to share the gospel with a lady named Lyn.
The team left not knowing exactly how God would use the seeds they planted. We found out recently that the teenage boys are still attending church and are continuing to explore Christianity. And by God’s grace, Lyn has recently put her faith in Jesus as her Savior!
I hope these stories encourage your heart as much as they do mine. And I hope you are convinced that God is using Grace Baptist for his glory. God is not using us because we are great, but because of his grace.
As we prepare to enter a new church year, we are convinced God wants to stretch us to believe he can do even greater things. Part of that stretching is through our giving. These stories (and many more) are only possible because our church family makes a commitment to give joyfully and generously so that we can make fully devoted followers of Christ. We want to see the gospel believed and cherished by people from Maryland to Spain to Papua New Guinea. I hope your heart is as thrilled as mine to invest in God’s kingdom through Grace. God is on the move.