Happy New Year, brothers and sisters in Christ! The new year represents a new beginning in which the old is made new. The same is true of the gospel. Paul tells us, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). In Christ, all things are made new. That’s the message of hope that comforts us and that God has entrusted to us to share with the world. To that end, the ministries of our church exist to better enable us to apply the gospel to our lives and to those around us.
So, with the new year, we will gather soon to discuss the church’s ministry and mission at the most important meeting held annually in our church, the Annual Congregational Meeting. In this Meeting, we will look back at where we have been and how things have gone in 2017. We will also look forward to consider this new year in service to our Lord and to explore decisions that will greatly impact our progress through it. Our Meeting will take place on Sunday, January 28, immediately following our worship service, where we petition God’s aid for our deliberations and for our entire year of ministry.
The Meeting is more than an administrative affair, though it has an administrative element to it. It is in fact a spiritual meeting, because we are coming together not as individuals contending for our personal interests, but as the people of God — to do things that will make us better people for him, a people whose service glorifies him and ministers his love to our community and world. So, the Meeting is not about us, individually or corporately. It is all about God and his will for us. For this reason, our prayers need to be that we will allow him to lead and direct us and that our actions in ministry will secure what he knows is best for us at this time.
Before the Annual Meeting, we will come together for a Fellowship Meal immediately after the worship service. How fitting that our Meeting takes place after we have been fed not only physically in our Fellowship Meal, but spiritually with the Word and sacrament during worship. As we eat during the Fellowship Meal, we have before us the table of the Lord where we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. As has been said elsewhere, the Lord’s Supper is a sign that reminds us:
- of what we cost God to redeem us, and thus reminds us of his great love for us and how precious we are to him;
- of the account we must render him of ourselves at his coming again;
- and therefore of the obedience, service and love he is justly due from us.
These are exactly the things which should be in our minds and hearts as we gather as his people to discuss the welfare of our church.
As we prepare to gather for this Meeting, let us pray God to help us get ourselves out of the way so that he may work his will among us. The inevitable result will be that our place will become even better than it now is. And may it be to the glory of our God.
Yours in Christ,