First, Angie and I want to thank you for your prayers. Our trip to the Holy Land far exceeded our expectations. Being able to walk in the “footsteps” of Jesus in Israel was a mountaintop spiritual experience. I already see how the trip affected the way I read, study, and hear God’s Word. Beginning in May, and as the Lord leads, I plan to preach a sermon series on places in the Holy Land and their spiritual importance to our lives from the Bible. Angie and I look forward to lunch this Thursday at the South Campus, too. We plan to share details of the trip, show a number of pictures, and give you an opportunity to ask questions. I’m confident that the food and fellowship will be delicious and special. I hope you plan to join us on Thursday at 11:30 am.
At the end of 2015, I conveyed to you five major goals for 2016. I’d like to give you an update on each goal’s progress. In doing so, I thank the dedicated people who serve (oftentimes behind the scenes) to fulfill many of the goals.
- Study and update the church’s Constitution and By-Laws. Our selected study group has met several times. Significant progress is being made. The chair of the group is Dr. Russ Williams. Other members of the group are Walker Cutts, Andy Walker, Allison Tate, Susan Walthall, Angie Desmond, and Dr. Floyd Jaggears. During this Wednesday night’s quarterly church conference, you’ll hear an update from the group. I encourage you to attend tomorrow evening and hear the report. The conference starts at 6:00 pm in the sanctuary.
- Serve as a sending church for the Hispanic Church. God is using Dr. Marino Martinez and the Hispanic Church. As you know, the church meets on our South Campus. To God’s glory, the congregation is out of space. The Lord continues to add to their numbers. We’re helping the church with attainable goals, biblical strategies, and financial budgets. Our combined worship gathering with them was special. Many of their members plan to travel with us to the Dominican Republic this summer. Let’s continue to pray that God will open and close doors for them, according to His good, perfect, and acceptable will (Rom. 12:2).
- Support Future Facility Recommendations of the Church’s Vision 20/20 Team. Our Vision 20/20 Team is active. Team members recently traveled to Albany, Georgia. The purpose of the trip was to tour the facilities of First Baptist Church Albany. While in Albany, the team also toured Sherwood Baptist Church’s facility. Progress is being made with the Children’s Area renovation. You’ll hear recommendations from the team in the near future about ways to balance our worship, education, parking, fellowship, office, and storage space needs.
- Send two mission teams to the Dominican Republic. Plans are in full swing to partner with Orphan’s Heart of the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. Each team will do house construction, personal evangelism, children’s ministries, and intentional discipleship. As for exact numbers, that is still in the works. As of now, it looks like each team will have 10-15 people. Tom Cooney and many of our students are planning to participate this year. And eight people from the Hispanic Church are planning to go. These two mission trips allow us to “love outward” by serving people around the world.
- Strive to reach specific numbers in Sunday school and worship. Our goal is to reach 500 people in Sunday school and 750 people in worship. We’ve been close several weeks in reaching 500 in Sunday school. We’ve seen 450 people in attendance several times. We’ve come close to 750 people in worship, too. Our goal is to reach those numbers on a non-holiday Sunday. Three major holidays in church life are Easter, Mother’s Day, and Christmas. This goal takes us serving together. As you and I inventory our relationships, who is waiting for a personal invitation to attend from us? I believe we can accomplish this goal by the end of 2016.
My prayer is to finish the sermon series on Philemon this Sunday. It’ll be good to be back in the pulpit. I thank Dr. Tom Kinchen, John Bennett, Eddie Turner, and Rick Stewart for teaching the past two weeks. Great job men!
I look forward to seeing you this week at the church conference, at the luncheon, and in Sunday school and worship.
Serving Our Lord with Vision,