Pastor’s Preview of 2022
January is called a “two faced” month. It’s named after the Roman god Janus who had two faces—one looking backward and one looking forward. It’s time to think about what was and also what is yet to be.
Looking back upon 2021, my initial reaction is to say that it was “marginally better than 2020” (a nod to Dave Barry’s 2021 Year in Review). With the availability of vaccines, more people ventured out beyond their homes to engage the world around them.
From a church standpoint, our Sunday School attendance doubled during the year (post-COVID perspective). We remained steady with our financial support and should be close to meeting our budget goal for the year. Contributions will exceed expenses for the year, which is really a primary goal when it comes to church finances. Some ministries have been able to resume or continue, while others have ceased altogether or been modified in response to the pandemic. This is pretty much what is going on in churches across the country.
The pandemic obviously has impacted our behavior as it relates to our gatherings on campus. We will continue offering the online worship option in concert with gathering in person for the foreseeable future. I’m hopeful that we’ll see more openness to gathering on campus–of course time, circumstances, and personal choices will determine whether this will be the case.
Moving into 2022, our church will be in transition especially as it relates to our staff. Rev. Jason Taylor will begin his new work as Minister of Young Adults and FLC Ministries and Rev. Ben Neal joins our church staff as Interim Minister of Youth (part-time). Soon, our church will be voting on a Minister of Youth (students) search committee. The Minister of Children search committee continues its work as well, and in the meantime Lauren Neal will continue serving as Interim Minister of Children.
I’m particularly excited by the progress we are making with our small group Bible Study, and we will transition into a “LifeGroup” perspective during the month of January. It’s been encouraging to see new leadership come on board, particularly with our children, middle school and high school areas. With Jason’s help, there will also be renewed emphasis on building the college and career age group.
Two decisions for the upcoming year have been made in consultation with the Church Council:
First, our Wednesday night activities will resume on January 12th. However, the decision to have mid-week suppers in the FLC will be delayed until the Fall. In effect, our approach on Wednesday nights will remain the same throughout Spring semester. Second, we will return to quarterly combined worship services beginning in January—instead of monthly combined worship services. The church staff will announce the timing of these combined services; they may or may not occur on a third Sunday of the month.
I’m particularly excited about leading us through “Four Fragile Freedoms” for Adult Bible Study on Wednesday nights. This book is a classic primer on what it means to Baptist and we have limited copies available for purchase through the church office. You can also buy them online if you choose to do so.
My January sermon series will be “Beginning with the End in Mind” which is review of selected passages which refer to the end times, judgment, and the return of Christ.
Here’s an appropriate verse for the new year: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19).
Finally, let’s remain sensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit as we begin another year together. I also ask your support for our church staff as we endeavor to lead us into this upcoming year.
Happy New Year!–DC