Despite the rumor that we were no longer meeting, we celebrated one year of worship together. A part of me wanted to preach a typical message that was about high numbers and all the bragging rights that many new churches (especially splits) have. We didn’t split. I didn’t try to steal anyone from another church. I have actually tried to discourage people from coming if I knew they were looking for a particular church model. I would rather have a small, unified group than a bunch of people that had some pot-stirrers in the mix who were set out to sabotage what God laid out for the ministry. I tell people that if they want a traditional model church with committees, business meetings, and voting privileges from the type of toilet paper (1 ply or 2) to whether a church should have playground equipment for children, there are plenty in the county that fit the bill but we are not one of them. I am kind and gracious, but I want us to be focused and intentional.
Today was different. We had a live musician for the first time since last February. We had one of our highest attendance numbers which included one family who was there for the first time. I preached a message that was gospel-centered and brought us back to our initial vision which has not changed. Naturally, we celebrated with a meal afterward and it was great to look around the room and see what God is doing.
While we have not had any significant growth within the last year, I have learned a lot. My resolve is still the same. I have not wavered. I was thinking about what I prayed in the months leading up to our first Sunday as I was trying to discern if this is what God wanted. I said, “God, I don’t want to build a fly-by-night organization that draws a large people initially and dwindles immediately. I want You to slowly build a healthy body of believers that will last and something that will outlast me.” God is doing that.
Many of you have been very encouraging in this last year. I can’t thank you enough. Your prayers and words of encouragement mean a lot. Please keep praying and join me in believing that God will make a mighty army of disciples in Oconee County, South Carolina that will spread the gospel around the world.