Looking Back and Looking Forward

This Sunday after our 9am service we will hold our Annual General Meeting (AGM) for 2019. If you’re a member, let me encourage you to make sure you attend. It will be a wonderful opportunity to review the past twelve months, to cast our eye forward, and to give thanks to God for his goodness to us. In fact, as I’ve done that very thing this week—looked back and looked forward—I have been so encouraged and excited.

As I look back over the last 12 months, it’s obvious we have much to be thankful for, including:

  • The smoothness of the leadership
  • A dedicated staff team, a devoted team of deacons, and a unified Church Council
  • The successful launch of ‘The Park’, including the fundraising and construction of the roof
  • An updated website and improved presence on social media
  • Healthy attendance at worship services and consistent giving
  • A record attendance at our three Easter services and at Easter on the Lawn
  • A growing commitment to community through Connect Sunday’s and Growth Groups
  • An improved follow up and membership process
  • New members added to our church family

These are just a few of the things that have been happening the life of our church for which we can be grateful to God. And I want to thank you for the part you play in our church family; we can’t do it without you (1 Cor. 12:15-26), and it is a pleasure to serve our great God alongside you.

But of course, we don’t just want to look backwards, we also need to look forward. And as I look to the future, it’s obvious there is much to be excited about. We are located in a growing area with a community hub across the road and a thriving school community on our campus. All of these geographical realities position us for great gospel opportunities going forward; to see more people and more lives changed by Jesus.

But of course, these things alone are not enough. To borrow the analogy from Paul’s words to the Corinthians, we plant and we water but God brings the growth (3:5-7). In light of this, and as we step into the future, I see three areas we need to prioritise in the life of our church:

  • An ongoing commitment to the Word of God: We revere the Bible, we stand on the Bible, we preach the Bible, and we will continue to do so. Romans 1:16 says the gospel, the good news about Jesus and the central message of the Bible, is the power of God for salvation. It is the message we have been called to declare, to share, and to show. May this message continue to be on our lips, in our hearts, and transform our lives and the lives of others.
  • Develop a greater reliance upon prayer: “Prayer is not helpful. Prayer is not supplemental. Prayer is essential” says Ray Ortlund. Or in the words of James 4:16: “You do not have because you do not ask God.” To step into the future with expectant hope we must first (and always) get on our knees asking God to do what only he can do; to soften hard hearts, open blind eyes, and give the miracle of new life in Jesus.
  • Pursue a deeper devotion to mission: The church exists to worship God, grow believers, and reach the lost. Our natural bent is probably towards the first two, but we want to grow in the third. We want our lives and our church to be actively involved in the greatest mission and cause in the world: to bring the lost and undeserving (which is all of us) home to our loving and gracious God.

So, thank you for serving, for loving, for giving, for showing up, and for being a part of what God is doing at BPCC. As we look back and as we look forward, we have much to be grateful for and to be excited about. My prayer for us is the prayer that the Apostle Paul prayed in Ephesians 3: “…that out of his glorious riches [God] may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (3:16-19)

Amen and amen.