I’ve always been an optimist. I am always a “glass half full” kind of guy. Okay, maybe that’s a little bit of an overstatement (maybe a great big overstatement), but in general I prefer to look at what can be rather than what won’t be. So, I’ve got to be honest, I’m really excited about what God has in store this year, both at TBC and my broader, personal ministry in general.
Let me explain what I’m talking about.
At Temple we’ve just put most of the finishing touches on our new website. First, I want to thank our Associate Pastor of Students and Families, Mike Avants, for the great, great job in overseeing this project. It was long, complicated, frustrating, but I believe that the end product is going to serve as a great tool for education and enlistment at TBC. If you get a chance, peruse the site and notice all of the integrated functionality that I believe is going to help us help our folks to plug in and grow up through the ministry at Temple. Again, way to go Mike!
On this new website is listed our new membership process. This, along with our new Greeter/Guest ministry has been in the works for nearly a year. (Let me stop right here to thank Dell Panagakos for her great vision and tireless efforts in making this new ministry/process into what I believe is the best and most efficient method for ministering to those who the Lord leads to our door of any church that I know of anywhere.) But, the new member’s process will enable us to do a better job of assimilating folks into the unique ministry of Temple Baptist Church.
This new process will include four basic steps.
1. You belong @ Temple. It’s more than just a slogan or a catchy statement, now it is the first step in a person’s journey at Temple. Through the Discovery Luncheon you will be introduced to the vision and ministries of Temple Baptist Church. By the way, sign ups are starting this weekend for our next Discovery Luncheon, so if you’re a new/prospective member, make sure you sign up using your Connection Card.
2. You believe @ Temple. I’m really excited about this one! This will be a multi-week class held during our 9:15 Bible Fellowship time. This class, which will be limited in the beginning to 16 people, will last about 3 months, deal with our basic doctrinal/theological beliefs and be taught by our own Dr. Bill Owens. Dr. Owens has a great heart for God and His Word and I was thinking as I was driving this afternoon how confident I am in his ability not only to teach this class but to pass on his own gracious spirit to those coming through the “You Believe” class. Stoked, I am!
3. You behave @ Temple. (Mike Avants chuckles every time he hears this because he says it fits us.) This step will be in the works in the next few weeks. This will be a series of videos that will be located on the TBC website. Our goal is to share the Temple story and give you a glimpse of how things work at Temple. Every church is different and sometimes our expectations of each other don’t match and that causes for difficulties. We want to eliminate as much confusion as possible, so we’ll video it, put in on the site and share with you what you can expect from Temple.
4. You become @ Temple. We’re not only going to show you what you can expect from us, but we’ll even tell you what we expect from you. This fourth and final step will include a final video, online spiritual gifts analysis and ministry application form. We believe that if the Lord has led you to Temple, that means that He has a place of ministry and service for you. We’ll help you not only find it, but fulfill it. Cool, right?
After a person goes through these steps, they will be a full-fledged, “card carrying” member of Temple Baptist Church. Some may ask, “What about me? I’ve been a member here for 20 years?” Well, if you don’t want to do anything, we’re not going to make you. If you want to sign up for the class, or go through the videos or spiritual gifts analysis, great. Another may wonder, “What if somebody doesn’t make it all the way through and drops out?” Well, honestly? We’ll be sad. We’ll try to help them through it. We’ll call them, do whatever we can, but in the end, we’re convinced that this process will make for a healthier, holier, and yes, happier church. We’ll see. Pray for us.
Can you tell I’m excited about all of this? Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned our Spring Revival or the upcoming Easter Pageant or how you can make an eternal difference in somebody’s life this Easter. And I haven’t even got the time to share about my new sermon series that begins next week from Proverbs. I’m going to entitle it, “Letters From Dad.” Pretty cool, huh?
Finally, on the broader, more general, personal ministry front. I’m excited to get to do some more preaching out this year. I’ve been asked to do a couple of Deacons’ Retreats and revivals. Please pray that the Lord will use me to help minister not only to these churches, but their pastors as well. That was the primary reason why I allowed my name to be placed into nomination for President of the SCBC Pastor’s Conference – I love pastors. I want to encourage them. (Heaven knows that far too many of them receive far too little encouragement.) That’s one reason why I’m so excited about putting the program together – it’s almost done, by the way – for the Pastors’ Conference. I want this to be a time where pastors from across the state, young and old; pastors of large churches and small churches; full-time and bi-vocational, can come and be energized and edified and sent back to their churches to make an eternal difference in the lives of their church and community. The preaching and the worship is going to be out of this world!
Well, boys and girls, that’s enough for tonite. I’ll update you on the rest later. Have a great rest of the week and don’t forget to invite somebody to worship with you this weekend. Both you and they will be glad you did.