“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
Dear Church Family,
To say 2020 was not the year any of us would have chosen is an understatement! Many within the body of Christ have had to bear the weight of pervasive social, political, medical, and personal burdens. Yet, we should take comfort in knowing that this life is not our own and that we have been crucified with Christ. Our old person has already died, and the life we now live, we live by faith in the Son of God.
As we lift our eyes and view our lives through the lens of eternity, we have so much to be thankful for! For, “though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison...for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
2020 was a season of refinement and refocus. The Lord shifted our gaze from the past towards a future calling and vision for His Bride, and each of us individually. What's more, this is something only He can accomplish. We know many of the transitions within our church have left some unsettled or even confused. We certainly do not claim to understand the Lord's mind in how all these individual pieces work together for His glory and our good. Yet, we believe all this is necessary as God desires to accomplish within us a vision and a glory for Himself that is unlike yesterday and is unique within our church's life.
As we collectively look forward to what lies ahead, let us celebrate the things God fulfilled within us this year. We continued to:
Make and baptize disciples.
Feed, pray for, and share the Gospel with thousands of people through the Food Pantry and local outreach.
Develop and define our core discipleship goals of loving God and loving Others.
Fund all of our Ministry Partners, both in the US and around the World.
Cultivate a vision-specific generosity toward international missions, resulting in the largest Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in our church's history.
God has blessed us by accomplishing these things in and through us! Moreover, He continues to provide wisdom and leadership through our pastors and church members fixing our eyes on Christ in historic seasons, which could have easily shifted our focus. We are so grateful for all He has done!
In light of what He has done within us, let's rejoice in what we're looking forward to in 2021:
New Vision & Preaching Pastor
While we may not know who our next Vision & Preaching Pastor will be, God is now working in his heart to prepare him just as He has been preparing us. We are excited to meet him, hear how God develops and lays a vision for our church upon his heart, and follow his leadership as God works through him to guide us into this next season of life and ministry.
Thank you to everyone who continues to pour their time into helping our church reconnect with all our church members and attendees through Operation: Reconnect! 2020 disconnected and separated people on so many levels. We appreciate the intentional effort to plan out how we could accomplish this task. Even as we look into 2021, we are training our staff and putting procedures in place to stay in better relational communication with all of you in the future. With that said, thank you for all of the positive feedback, prayer requests, and general affirmation you have provided in these efforts!
Missions and Mobilization
As we look into 2021, one of our church's heartbeats will be a continued and emphasized focus on missions and mobilization. Missions at Richland Creek is about making Christ's name great among the nations by reaching the least-reached both here in the US and worldwide. We'll do this through discipleship, evangelism, and pastoral training-based partnerships. This vision is no small task, nor is it a fanciful tag line. It is a monumental vision to see the light of the Gospel pierce the veil of darkness that hangs over the 40-50% of the world’s population with little to no access to the transforming power of the Gospel.
Join us in praying for our partners, our teams, and the people we reach with the Gospel. Pray that God will fulfill a vision to impact the Kingdom for eternity and move us from the neighborhoods to the nations for the greatness of His name!
Many of you have asked about the Alignment Team at Richland Creek. The purpose of this Pastoral Body team is to make recommendations regarding how to align our ministries, staff positions, and budgets around the prioritization of vision fulfillment.
We will continue to refine what we mean when we use mission language versus vision language.
The mission never changes! Like that of all true churches, our mission is to glorify Christ by making disciples through baptizing and teaching. However, the vision is how God has called our church to live out His mission in our context. We constantly evaluate the vision as the Spirit guides our church to live out the mission uniquely. This vision then becomes a matrix, or grid, by which we measure our effectiveness.
This means our church may change current roles and ministries, develop new ones, and bring on new staff hires as God continues to guide these steps one at a time to accomplish His vision for His church.
Giving, Budgets, and Ministries...Oh My!
We should understand that giving, budgets, and ministries are not laudable fundraising goals but vision fulfillment. This understanding can radically transform both our desire to give and our need to invest in the vision.
Please understand that God has been refining and shaping each of our ministries and leaders this year and will continue to do so. This refinement drives us toward more defined vision fulfillment in our ministries and lives for His glory. We will strategically evaluate every dollar and ministry for how best to accomplish the vision. When vision fulfillment becomes the grid through which we consider our "success" biblically and in the eyes of God, then every word, action, event, item, and dollar has a purpose behind it.
Thank you all for your faithfulness to Christ and your commitment to His Bride at Richland Creek! As we look to 2021 may God “give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. We pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Eph. 1:17-19