"As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamp-post in the middle of a wood and wondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter of feet coming toward her..." (C S Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Catching My Breath

This July 24, I will have been at FBC as Lead Pastor officially for 2 years (6 months before that as Interim Lead).  It is amazing to think of what the Lord has done at FBC during this two and half years.  I am truly stunned at his grace...

1. We have clarified our vision: Becoming a Jesus Centered Community

2. We have renovated our 1,200 seat sanctuary (roof, plaster, paint, etc.)

3. We have created a new conference room and 2 more offices, renovated 2 existing offices, a kitchen and a bathroom, hallways, a stairway, a new nursery, a new sensory room for special needs children, and combined our facility with a fully functional Newcomb St church facility

4. We have clarified and defined roles of our Deacons and Elders (in short, deacons are given specific ministry categories like event planning, and Elders are responsible for shepherding and managing)

5. We have clarified and defined the role of our prudential committee and we have balanced our budget (no more deficit budgets!)

6. We have called a full-time Administrative Assistant to the Lead Pastor: Kina Forman

7. We have called a Pastor of Systems and Strategy: Pastor Dave Herring

8. We have called a Pastor of Worship and Care: Pastor Mike Sperring

9. We have called a Pastoral Intern: Paul Miller

10. We have increased our director of Open Hearts Ministry to full-time and welcomed him and his wife as members of FBC: Jim and Carol Finley

11. We have merged with Haverhill Community Church, and welcomed their members, kids, and regular attendees!

12. We have watched folks come to know Jesus and grow in their faith, had baptismal services, numerous new members courses, held two leadership retreats, helped dozens out of financial difficulties, established a Facebook page and Twitter page, and seen God mightily answer prayer again and again!

What will the next two years look like?  I can't wait to find out!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

5 Reasons I Hold to Believers Baptism

This old debate has been renewed for me in some conversations lately.  Here a handful of reasons I am a believer's baptist (credobaptist) rather than an infant baptist (paedobaptist).

1. Tradition and church history hold no authority over Scripture - Sure infant baptism has had a long history, but that has no bearing on what the text of Scripture actually says.  

2. There are no examples in Scripture of infant baptisms - yep.  Not a single instance.  

3. Repentance, faith, baptism is the order commended throughout the New Testament.  

4. The connection between circumcision and baptism is very loose.  There is a connection.  They are both signs of God's covenant with His people.  However, Scripture does not make much of this connection.  

5. Baptism represents death, burial, and resurrection - as we are immersed into the waters, we are symbolically buried with Jesus in His death, and as we arise we are symbolically united to Him in His resurrection.

On a more experiential note, nothing is more Spiritually powerful to me than to watch a new Christian talk about how God rescued him or her, voice his or her faith in Jesus and see him or her emerge from the water with a big joyous smile!