It is with great joy in our Lord that I am writing to you today. The typical pastor’s letter highlights where we have been over the last year. Since I am writing this letter on my second week at NCC and still unpacking boxes in our house and preparing for my first sermon as your pastor, I do not have a lot of progress to report. That being said, I would like to start setting a vision with you for the next year.
Much of the Church in America today is fighting for relevance in a culture that is increasingly becoming hostile toward them. Instead of competing with the world in terms of relevance, we must offer them something they can’t get anywhere else. We must present Christ Jesus, the transcendent God to them.
In this process we must forget about what people want to hear and instead tell them what God said as that will answer the deepest desire of their soul. We must forget about making people feel comfortable and go for making people feel wanted. We desire that they know that there is a place for them in this Christian community of Christ followers while consistently reminding each other that we should feel uncomfortable at times with church because God’s Word is convicting (Hebrews 4:12).
To continue to strive to present our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to our community and one-another, please hold us, your pastors (Ed, Ralph, and me) accountable to these five resolutions.
- We resolve to be vertical in our worship: Church is for God and people are for God. It’s all about Jesus Christ and it’s all for His glory! In all that we do as a church, we must begin by asking, “Does it honor God?” “Does it display His glory?” If it does not then we must not do not do it at church.
- We resolve to be biblical in our worship: The Word of God must be continually elevated in our service. We don’t worship the Book, we worship the God of the Book and the Book is about King Jesus. Think of the Sunday service as the boiler in a warehouse; it’s not the work but if it goes out the work stops. Sunday service is centered on the Word of God. We want to sing biblically driven songs and preach the Word. We want to know what God has to say and how to practically apply His Word to our lives to think and act differently.
- We resolve to be intentional in our worship: If it’s not accomplishing our purpose as a church then we must be willing to get rid of it. We must be about discipleship. We are moving each other to know our God better so we can worship Him more rightly and to live differently by loving radically. It’s about teaching each other how to do this.
- We resolve to be relational in our worship: Authentic biblical relationships are about forgiveness, accountability, love, commitment, admonishment and it’s for a life-time. We desire to see more small groups that administer the Gospel to one-another, carry out the one-another commands, pray, apply God’s Word, and constantly point each other and the world to Christ. We must call on each other to authentic biblical relationships. It’s not easy but it is God honoring and soul satisfying.
- We resolve to be on mission: We must be people that live life on mission (making disciples). Our first mission is to God (worship), then the congregation (feed My sheep, feed My sheep, feed My sheep). Feeding the Word of God to the people of God is urgent. We will continue the tradition of NCC in doing this well so that we can better shine God’s light into the dark world around us.
I am excited to labor side by side with you all for the Glory of the One who purchased us through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension. It’s all for Christ.
In His Name