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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Year-End Musings

Recently, I read a devotional entitled Stop Waiting for Perfect Conditions.  It stated,

Too many of us stand on the dock waiting.  We want the ship in place, the gangplank perfectly positioned, the weather right, and an engraved invitation before we’re willing to launch out.  It will never happen!  Dreams don’t move toward us, we have to move toward them.  One author writes:  ”It’s time to quit waiting for perfection, inspiration, permission, reassurance, someone to change, the right person to come along, the kids to leave home, the new administration to take over, an absence of risk, someone to discover you, a clear set of instructions, more self-confidence, or the pain to go away.  Instead of saying, ‘We’ve never done it before,’ say, ‘We have the opportunity to be first.’  Instead of saying, ‘We don’t have the resources,’ say, ‘Necessity fuels invention.’  Instead of saying ‘There’s not enough time,’ say, ‘Well change how we work.’  Instead of saying, ‘We’ve already tried that,’ say, ‘We learned from experience.’  Instead of saying, ‘We don’t have the expertise, ‘say, ‘Let’s network with those who do.’  Instead of saying, ‘Our vendors and customers won’t go for it,’ say, ‘Let’s show them the opportunities.’   Instead of saying, ‘We don’t have enough money,’ say, ‘Maybe there’s something we can cut.’  Instead of saying ‘We’re understaffed,’ say, ‘We’re a lean, hungry team.’  Instead of saying, ‘It’ll never get any better,’ say, ‘We’ll try one more time.’  Instead of saying, ‘Let somebody else deal with it,’ say, ‘I’m ready to learn something new.’  Instead of saying, ‘It’s not my job,’ say, ‘I’ll be glad to take the responsibility.’  Instead of saying, ‘I can’t,’ say, ‘By God’s grace, I can!’”

I really like this devotional and I hope you do as well. 

As we come to the end of the year, it’s time to put a wrap on District Transformation Project 2011.  In my 40 years of ministry, I have seldom had a year more satisfying.  The prescriptions that were put into place in seven of our churches are already making a difference, and next year promises to be even more fruitful as the seed continues to produce. 

Seven of the eight churches that went through a weekend consultation, voted to go through with the prescription given by their consultation team.  The eighth church, Mooers, had a positive vote, but it was on the borderline of what leadership thought was advisable to proceed.  Subsequent discussion by local church leadership led to a decision not to proceed  with the prescription as presented. 

Meanwhile, the other churches continue to implement changes that will improve their health and make disciples.  Fusion Community Church, formerly Cobleskill, is just a few weeks away from launching afresh in the Cobleskill-Richmondville High School.  Pastor Andrew sent a short video of a new billboard that is a part of the marketing campaign to reach the entire Schoharie valley.

Hadley-Luzerne Church continues to experience an amazing blessing from the Lord.  Morning attendance the last four Sundays have been 163, 167, 174 and 230.  Pastor Dick reports that new people are coming regularly and people are finding Christ.  The new expanded parking lot was absolutely full on the morning of their Christmas program.  Part time staff has been hired.  The children’s ministry area is under construction.  Amazing!

Pastor Norm, at Turnpike, reports attendance averaging in the 180’s over the past two months.  Six people recently found Christ and a whole host of prescription changes will be implemented in January and February.  The leadership team is excited and believes that God is going to help them reach greater Plattsburgh for the Lord.

Pastor Paul Barna, reports that over $8000 was given to jump-start the prescription process at Waterford.  Pews have been removed from the back of the worship center, making way for a small café/fellowship area.  Recently, the church gave out 543 tins of cookies as a Christmas gift to their neighbors.  Notes, emails and phone calls have flooded the church as the Waterford community expressed amazement at the love this church is showing.  Another tradition is the children Christmas caroling at community businesses.  It’s such a tradition, that businesses now call asking what day the children are coming so that they can make sure their business is a part of the schedule.  In this predominantly Catholic neighborhood where we purchased the former Catholic Church and have a former Catholic now pastoring, they are expecting over 200 for their Christmas eve service.

Pastor Marc and the Malone church have sent several emails and photos to keep us updated on their progress.  Recently, 32 children participated in their Sunday morning Christmas Program and 115 worshiped there that Sunday.  Seven indicated decisions to receive Christ.  Work continues on the children’s area in the basement (see pics below).
FWC (Malone) Lower Level: New Paint/Carpet
FWC (Malone) Lower Level: New Paint/Carpet
FWC (Malone) Lower Level: New Paint/Carpet