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Pastor's Corner - October 2017

posted Oct 4, 2017, 9:21 AM by Linda Dickinson

Dear Elmwood Family and Friends,

 

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ…Stand firm in one spirit, contending as one person for the faith of the Gospel, without being frightened in any way.”  Philippians 1: 27-28.

 

This passage from God’s Holy Word was the theme of our service Sunday, September 24.  During the message I shared with the congregation an update from the September Church Council meeting.  At that meeting we welcomed Pastor Dan Moose, multiplication catalyst, from the North Central District office of the EFCA.  His job is to assist churches of the district in finding a way forward with the current challenges of aging congregations, declining church attendance, lack of vitality and growth, and the secularization of our society.  Dan is a man of faith and prayer, humble and wise.  He came with a listening ear, asking questions, seeking to help us know and understand ourselves and the options for the future.  This was his first visit with the Council and he will return in November to continue this process with the Council.

 

As Dan began, he spent a considerable amount of time seeking the Council’s response to the question, “What are the good things about Elmwood?”  This was done to celebrate what the Lord has done and is doing here in our congregation.  He filled the white board with the Council members’ responses.  Here’s a quick run-down of the list; they are not in any form or order of importance:

·         Sweet fellowship

·         Hospitality

·         Ministry of “hosting” other churches and ministries

·         We hold our things loosely

·         Praying for one another

·         A good reputation in the community;

§ With the school district, police, & fire dept.

§ Pay our street assessments

·         Truth/whole Bible is preached

·         Loving and caring pastor

·         Excellent givers

·         Good stewards of our property

·         Bible studies

·         Seniors group

·         Faithful servants

·         “Tech savvy”

·         Living our mission

·         Mission minded

·         Good connection with local Bible colleges and universities

·         Open to the work of the Holy Spirit

·         Strong history

·         Altar prayer ministry

·         Encouragement

·         Mission support 10-15%

·         Solid foundation in Christ

·         Kingdom minded

·         The church is not “ours”

·         Generosity

·         True Body-life

·         Unity

·         A sending church

·         Music ministry

 

After we talked and talked about all these great things about Elmwood we were asked by Dan to make a short list of what we would label as the “Elmwood Legacy”.  What is it that we want to see passed on to the next generation of the Body of Christ?   This list included:

·         The Truth of the Bible

·         Being open to the leading of the Holy Spirit

·         Strong dependence on prayer

·         Faithful abiding in Jesus

·         Daily living out the Gospel

·         Serving other followers of Jesus

 

In order to continue our legacy, what would be needed:

·         Remain true to who Elmwood is

·         Be multi-generational

·         Become multi-cultural

·         Continue to support the other ministries that are here with us

·         Keep the Gospel flowing freely

·         Continue to be open to the free working of the Holy Spirit

·         Discover new ways to take “the church” out of the building

 

In Dan’s final segment we began to discuss the issues that we must face as a congregation in order to move forward and thrive:

·         We will have to change

·         We must be proactive

·         Continue to make room for more “nests” in our big old elm tree

·         We must learn how to keep the legacy going

·         We need younger people

·         What must be done to keep the light of the Gospel shining from this place

·         How can Elmwood be more of a community church that reflects the community around us

·         Dealing with finances and up-keep

·         Need for more people power to meet the needs of doing ministry

 

Our first session with Dan was excellent.  He gave the Council much to pray and think about.  This will not be an easy process or one that can quickly happen. As a congregation, it is vital that we consistently be in prayer for the will of God to be done in this place and that the Holy Spirit would guide and direct us. It is also important to not fear or give any place to the evil one, but that Jesus would be glorified as we go through this process.

 

Glory be to God, a work in progress, to be continued,

Pastor Fred

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