Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hope, Dream, and Pray With Me

Over the last few Sundays, I have not spent much time in the pulpit. On April 27, I was at the PCRT in Philadelphia. Brad Gaines, who was my associate pastor at Hillcrest Baptist Church filled the pulpit. The evening service consisted of our children's program, "The Bible Tells Me So Show." On May 4, we were blessed to have a combined service with Greensboro Chinese Christian Church with Dr. David Alan Black preaching. There was a picnic that afternoon, and no evening service. On May 11, I preached on Pentecost. Since it was Mother's Day, we had no evening service. On May 18, we had two precious IMB missionaries deliver the message and a brief report from the Gideons. All this time away from the rigors of sermon preparation gave me time to put some words to my hopes, dreams and prayers for Immanuel Baptist Church, which I shared during the May 18 evening service.

I want to share in brief what those hopes, dreams, and prayers are with the readership here and ask you to join us in bathing these in prayer and asking our Father to lead us in paths of righteousness for His name

1. Foundational to all that we are and all that we do is this guiding vision: To see every member of Immanuel Baptist Church growing in a love relationship with God through Jesus Christ by the regular intake of God's Word. This will lead us to increased dependence on the Holy Spirit as He manifests Himself through us in loving service to one another and the community around us in Christ's name. As we live God-centered lives, others will be attracted to the Christ we love and serve and proclaim. (Eph 4; 1 Peter 3:15; 2 Peter 3:18; Acts 2:42-47)

2. To develop a strategic missions initiative of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to one of the world's 6,508 unreached people groups. This will be done through the adoption of a particular people group and concentrated efforts to get the gospel to them. (Acts 1:8; Matt 28:18-20; Lk 24:46-48)

3. To seek the transformation of our community through the establishment of a Christian Community Development Corporation that will carry out practical, need-meeting ministry in the name of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. This ministry will feed the hungry, clothe the needy, shelter the homeless, offer education and job training skills, and other important services, all with an intentional and bold evangelistic focus. (Isa 58:6; Matt 23:23)

4. To develop a vibrant and vital college ministry to the students on area campuses, with particular focus on UNC-Greensboro, that would offer meals, Bible Study, and opportunities for Christian fellowship, evangelism, worship, and service, including the possibility of an ongoing internship program. (Titus 2:2-8)

5. To offer affordable, classical, Christ-centered education to urban youth through the establishment of a college-preparatory day-school/academy and potentially an accredited college degree program (independently or in conjunction with Seminary Extension and/or other Christian Colleges). (Prov 22:6; 2 Tim 2:15)

6. To maximize the usage, accessibility, and stewardship of our facilities, including immediate accessibility solutions, cosmetic improvements, and the eventual construction of a "Connector Wing" between the two existing buildings that would house an elevator providing access to every part of the facility, accessible restrooms on every floor, and additional meeting/classroom space.

Please join me in praying over these hopes and dreams and ask God if He would have you to be involved in any of these areas of ministry. If you would like more information, please contact the church office.

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