where love is alive 

At the end of every year there are methods that cause us to “look back” over the past twelve months and remember what has happened.  Newspapers will recall the top stories. Sports casts will remember the top plays of the past year.  But as we turn the calendar page to the New Year, perspectives shift to what lies ahead in the next twelve months.  Some people will even go on record with their forecasts. A simple Internet search led me to these predictions.

  • Wearable electronic devices such as eyeglasses or watches will become more commonplace.
  • Flying drones will transition from a military apparatus to a commercial tool.
  • The US Economy will break out of its doldrums with strong growth and lower unemployment.
  • We will eat more vegetables
  • We will watch more entertainment via the Internet and less by means of broadcast television or cable networks.

Thom Rainer, president of Lifeway Christian Resources, even offered several predictions for churches next year. These include:

  • Churches will move toward a more unified worship style.
  • Sanctuaries will be smaller.
  • Pastor tenures will become longer.

While I AM a pastor and the son of a pastor, I definitely am NOT a prophet nor the son of a prophet.  So I will not venture to make bold predictions regarding future events. However, I do want to share my earnest hope that 2014 will be a year of significant growth for our church. Aside from the direct movement of God, the most effective way for any church to grow is for its members to be intentional in inviting the participation of others.

Last Sunday morning I shared this quote from James Emery White regarding church growth:

The foundational way that people separated from the church and a life in Christ will come to church and find that life in Christ is if a Christ-follower does three things:

Builds a relationship with them;

Shares how Christ has intersected the deepest needs of his/her life;

And then invites them into the community to see, hear, taste and explore. 

I plan to keep this prescription in front of me and in front of our congregation in 2014. Let’s make 2014 be The Year of Invitation for North Cleveland Baptist Church. Let’s tell our stories and invite others to worship, minister, and fellowship with us!   Jay



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