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Friday, June 01, 2007

12 Positive Reflections for 12 Years

Twelve years ago today I began serving God as pastor at Pathway.
At the time the church was called Huntsville Free Will Baptist.
Here are 12 positive personal reflections on the last 12 years.
1. The name has been changed to reach the unchurched. Research shows that the unchurched feel more comfortable visiting a church without denominational trappings. As in the logo above, we sometimes mention that we are a Free Will Baptist Fellowship, in case someone with a church background wants to know more about our heritage. But since adopting our Vision Statement several years ago, we have opted for a name that is more in keeping with our target - unchurched young families. We want to help put them on a path of reaching their full potential for God.
2. The church has a clearer vision than ever before. Our official Vision Statement reads: "Reaching out to unchurched young families by offering practical biblical solutions that meet the needs of the whole person and providing opportunities to reach our full potential for God." Over the last several years we have become more and more conscious of utilizing the vision that God has given us in our preparation and planning of ministry opportunities. As we sharpen our axe this way we are becoming more and more effective at hitting our target.
3. We sold our old, outdated, and less advantageously located property. After much prayer God opened the door in only the way He can. He sent us a buyer for our old property and they did not even balk at our asking price. We are not in a permanent home yet but we have much more freedom to follow God's leading for relocation.
4. Pathway Church has no indebtedness! Because God allowed us to sell our old property we are not only out of debt, but we even have money in the bank for future property purchase!
5. The people of Pathway are not afraid to take risks for God! We don't do foolish things but we're not afraid to try new things to reach people with the Good News about Jesus.
6. Pastor and people have a history together. I know I can trust the people of Pathway and they know they can trust me. We love one another even though none of us is perfect.
7. New people! When God adds new members to our family they already know about our vision and our mission - they're going where we're going and want to be a part of helping the church get there. Our Mission Statement (How we'll accomplish our Vision Statement):
* Hosting attractive and relevant events and programs tailored to the interests and concerns of our community.
* Equipping each believer to enjoy a biblically based daily walk with Christ by presenting God, his purposes, His principles, and His plans.
* Offering opportunities for spiritual, mental, emotional, social and physical development through small groups and activities that build up relationships within the body of Christ.
* Challenging believers to discover and develop their S.H.A.P.E.* that they may serve on ministry teams in the church in ways that are both fruitful and fulfilling. (S.H.A.P.E. is an acronym for: Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experience.)
* Expressing our love for god through authentic contemporary worship in an interactive setting that inspires an ongoing worship experience.
8. Small Groups. This ministry has a long way to go in our church but in its infancy it contains a lot of promise. As we build new small groups we will accomplish our mission on a more personal level.
9. Vital Worship! Over the last twelve years we've made the transition gradually to a more updated, contemporary style of worship. The reason we did this was to help reach our target of unchurched young families. I have heard many positive comments about our worship!
10. People have grown and are growing in Christ! When I look back and see how so many people have grown up in Christ through the ministry of Pathway Church I am amazed at what God is doing! To see others become more like Jesus has been one of my greatest joys as pastor the last dozen years! And I have seen and experienced God doing many things to make me more like Jesus as well - and He's still working on me.
11. From a family standpoint, Deb and I have seen our three children take wings during the last twelve years. Since we've been in Huntsville all three of our children have graduated from high school and college and are all happily married and serving Christ in other states and foreign countries. Pathway is still their home church. We're thankful that we had a solid and stable church in which to raise our children.
12. The future is bright! After twelve years I am more excited than ever about the future of Pathway Church! Because of what God has done for us in the past we are ready to fulfill His vision together for our future!


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