I’m always impressed, when I’ve been away for a weekend, by the realization of what a good thing we have going at Emmanuel. We’re not a perfect church, but we do some things very well ; and, overall, if you’re interested in living an authentic relationship with the Lord Jesus, you’re in a pretty good place to help that happen. I’ve been in, and had contact with, some small churches and some large churches during the month of March. All have some degree of success in ministry, and all have certain weak spots. All are struggling to be genuine lights for the truth of the Gospel in a world that seems to be growing darker and more opposed to truth. At Emmanuel, we’re part of that struggle too. Our part of the struggle is not limited to the Hermann area only ; we participate in a cosmic spiritual through prayer and through our affiliation with the Lord’s people around the world.
Sometimes that battle pits us against truly dark forces ; many times the battle reveals our own shortcomings and weaknesses. I’m encouraged by the Lord’s words in John 16:33, the theme of this coming Sunday’s sermon (the fourth of his victory commands) : “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation : but be of good cheer ; I have overcome the world.”
As I reflect upon the spiritual battle we’re part of at Emmanuel, I’m reminded that the focus provided in our Emmanuel 101 course, “Discovering Christ and the Church,” can help us. These purposes and commitments keep us on track in our love for the Lord and for his work. (I had an opportunity last weekend to take a small group in an out-of-town church through the 101 course, and they soaked it up ! They were impressed that at Emmanuel we have opportunities like this for keeping our purpose sharp and for keeping in step with God’s Word.)
At Emmanuel we exist …
1. … to celebrate God’s presence (worship).
2. … to demonstrate God’s love (ministry).
3. … to communicate God’s Word (evangelism).
4. … to assimilate people into God’s family (fellowship).
5. … to educate God’s people (discipleship).
The Four Emmanuel Commitments
At Emmanuel we are committed to the following :
1. A Relationship Commitment : We are committed to a relationship with Jesus Christ and with the local church body.
2. A Maturity Commitment : We are committed to the habits necessary for spiritual growth.
3. A Ministry Commitment : We are committed to discovering and using our God-given gifts and abilities to serve God and others.
4. A Missions Commitment : We are committed to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others.
Eight Principles that Make Emmanuel a Unique Church
1. A Climate of Acceptance
2. Authentic Worship
3. Biblical Preaching
4. Individual Growth
5. Clear Purpose
6. Everyone Ministering
7. Servant Leaders
8. Simple Structure
During this time of pastoral transition, we may need to work even harder on keeping our focus sharp. We don’t want this to be a period of marking time ; rather, it should be a period of taking steps toward days of even more impactful ministry in the Hermann area. David Viland, church consultant with the Evangelical Free Church, has told us this could involve some “strategic abandonment” of some of the things we’ve done in the past … so that we can do really well what we are really good at. We will want to be vigilant not to be “a mile wide and an inch deep” in ministry. What do we do well ? What should our priorities be in the coming year ? What will be the best use of our resources ? What’s your part in all of that ? What is the unique opportunity God has given us at this time in the community in which we live ?
I look forward to a powerful work of the Lord at Emmanuel during this transition time. Our Pastor Search Team is doing a great job and desires your input in their process. I invite you to join me and several others who continue to pray on Tuesdays at noon at the church. Thank you for serving and praying for a pretty good church.
A Note from the Elder Board
Pastor Tom’s last day at Emmanuel will be May 31, 2015. The Elder Board is in the process of hiring an interim pastor from Interim Pastor Ministries to replace Tom until a permanent Senior Pastor is hired. We hope to have the interim pastor in place by
June 1. In addition, Chris Neale is stepping down from his duties on the Elder Board effective June 1, 2015, due to his new work responsibilities. We are very grateful for Chris’ 5 1/2 years of service to the Lord and Emmanuel as one of our elders.
Celebrating the Life, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord !
Be reminded of what’s coming up in the next several days in the life of the church ! This is a time for spiritual renewal, personal cleansing, and invitation of those who need to know the Lord.
This Sunday :
— Adult Classes at 9:00
Study in the Book of Romans
Discovery Bible Study (final session)
— For young people
“God, What’s Your Name ?” (3-11 year-olds)
— Palm Sunday worship at 10:15
Friday, April 3 :
— A Good Friday Meal of Remembrance (Please sign up on the list in He-brews Café.)
Next Sunday, April 5 :
— Youth-led “Victory” service, 8:15 – 8:45
— Easter breakfast, 9:00 – 9:30
— Baptisms, 9:30 – 10:00
— Worship, 10:15 – 11:30
Sunday, April 12 :
I will begin Emmanuel’s 4-week 301 course, “Discovering My Ministry,” a course for discovering your spiritual gifts and natural abilities for serving the Lord and people, at 9:00. If you haven’t already been through the 301 course – or even if you have ! – you are welcome to join us. David Kiser’s Romans class will also continue during the 9:00 hour.