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December 26, 2015, 4:12 PM

2015 Year End Review

I always think it is a good to take a moment after Christmas and look back on the year that has passed, and then to look forward to the year that is coming.  Without moments like these, it is hard to confidently steer the ship.  It is easy to get caught up in the day to day happenings of life and lose focus on the overall big picture of progress. 

2015 has been a busy year.  It has been a year full of ups and downs.  For me personally, it has been a year full of God's blessings, and I hope it has been the same to you.  Our church has seen a lot of transition and change throughout 2015, especially in our children's ministry.  Not only did we get a new Wednesday Night director, but we also broke in an entirely new program.  Mrs. Misty Sparks has done a great job of leading TeamKIDs this fall. 

You may notice that around the church, things are looking a little different.  The building and grounds crew have been very hard at work this year.  The first thing you may notice different about the church is the awnings.  Those were long overdue for being replaced and they look great.  You may also notice that the family life center looks a little different.  The building and grounds committee along with the help of several men in the church, built a new structure along the south wall.  The room has provided the proper storage for wedding and event supplies as well as our tables and chairs.  Not only does it look much better, it is also the right size and I believe much safer.  Above that is some much needed storage for larger items.  The life center looks more complete and is a little more functional.  The large white space on the new structure came in very handy for Adult VBS this year. 

We also had some pretty great events this year.  Our VBS was lead by Mrs. Kathy Stobaugh.  We saw over 60 kids come through and had 5 salvations.  We also had a very good Adult VBS lead by Mrs. Brenda Riley.  One of my favorite events this year was lead by Mrs. Linda Moody.  It was called “Sit at My Table” and it raised over a thousand dollars for foreign missions.  It is an event that I hope we add to our calendar every year. 

One thing that I am very excited about is our new Sunday School class.  The class does not yet have a name, but it is aimed at the 20-40 year old age range.  It is taught by Mark and Lisa Martin.  I'm excited that we started a new class and that it is bringing people to Sunday School that we not actively involved in Sunday School before.  It is my goal to start at least one new class each year. 

While 2015 was full of many encouraging moments, it also involved a lot of heart ache.  Some of you have faced struggles in your personal life.  A few of you have been affected by layoffs and plant closings.  Many of you dealt with the loss of a loved one.  These are the moments that have caused me to feel the real weight and burden of being a pastor.  No matter if it is sudden and unexpected or if it comes at the end of a long journey, the loss of a loved one is never easy.  But, in the middle of the heart aches, it is brought me great joy to see our people respond.  This year, I have witnessed Sunday School classes take care of members much like Acts 4 describes.  This year, I have seen God at work even on the hardest days of the job. 

One piece of business that is still left unfinished from 2015 is the hiring of a new Youth Pastor.  While I believe that we are getting close, I realize that God could always lead us in a direction that is unexpected.  However, I think I speak for the youth committee as well when I say that finding the right person is far more important than finding a person to fill a position.   I believe that God will continue to lead us toward the right person.  In the mean time, the youth committee has done a fantastic job of stepping in and filling the gap. 

Overall I feel like 2015 has been a successful year for us as a church.  It has not always looked and felt as successful as I wanted it too.  Sometimes we have had to take steps backwards in order to take steps forward.  Sometimes those steps forward have come slower than I wanted.  But, sometimes we have to allow God to change our definition of success.  We must always remember that our number one gauge of success as a Christian is obedience.  There are many things that we can consider after that, but we must never let obedience stray too far from our minds.  

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