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I’d like to tell you a little bit more about what your elders will be up to this weekend. On Friday night and Saturday, we will gather at an off-site location to pray and plan for future ministry at Harvest.  

As a congregation, we stand at an important and exciting crossroads. We have weathered some challenges in recent history but have some very strong building blocks for moving forward with Christ-exalting, Spirit-dependent gospel ministry. Our congregation is made up of people who are reading their Bibles, eager to worship together, who love Jesus, and care for people. God has wonderfully woven a tapestry of people of different ages and stages at Harvest, with various God-given gifts for ministry. God has been good to our church family!  

And we want to figure out how to best move forward with ministry together! We want to be faithful stewards of the gifts and opportunities that God has given to us. We want to be faithfully carrying out the Great Commission together. We want to be united in purpose as we look to Jesus together and act to see Jesus exalted in our own lives, in our families, in our church, and in our community.  

So how can we best do that together?  

Ultimately, God’s Spirit must bless our ministry efforts. But what does it look like to exercise Spirit-dependent wisdom in planning for effective ministry on Sunday, in our groups, and through our outreach?  

The elders are having this retreat to think more deeply about that question!  

A lot of work has been done to help us carefully begin this planning process. For starters, so many of you helped us by filling out the congregational survey. In total, we received 239 responses! Your elders have already spent time reviewing the results of this survey to look at strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for ministry as seen through the lens of the congregation. The elders will also be drawing upon evaluative work done by our Vine Project Team, feedback from our Love and Truth Counseling Team, and their own evaluative work. These inputs will help inform our decisions about future ministry.   

There are a couple specific goals that we are working at this weekend:  

  1. We want to review our mission (what we are called to do) and clarify our vision for the future (where we hope to go).   
  2. We want to identify 4-6 key strategy areas that we think our congregation should focus on as a church over the next three to five years. This will involve thinking about what we need to stay ‘yes’ to and what we need to say ‘no’ to.  
  3. We want to begin to develop a roadmap and sequencing for enacting these strategies. Part of this will be thinking about how to hire and position our staff to support the ministry of Harvest Church.  

So, here’s how I’d ask you to help. First, thank your elders for commitment to serving our church family! Each of them is giving up a weekend with their family to make an investment in our church (and this on top of the countless hours they are already serving). Second, I would ask that you pray. Please pray for the following items:  

  1. Pray that we would honor Christ and be exercising faith in His power as we make plans.  
  2. Pray for wisdom for the elders: that we’d ask the right questions, that we’d have honest debate, that we’d prioritize the right things, and that we’d get clear on how to execute our plans under God.  
  3. Pray that the elders would be encouraged by a clear and shared direction coming out of the retreat.   
  4. Pray that the congregation would be encouraged by the results of our planning retreat and that this time would result in greater enthusiasm for carrying out Christ’s mission together.  

We thank you for your support and your prayers. We’ll look forward to sharing more about our retreat in the weeks to come.  
 
Yours in Christ,  
Pastor Wayne  

What I’m Reading:  

The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War by H. W. Brands – This book tells the story of the showdown between two of the most important personalities in the Korean War: General Douglas MacArthur and President Harry Truman.  

Authentic Ministry: Serving from the Heart by Michael Reeves – Michael Reeves is a first-rate preacher. He is also someone who spends his time training people for ministry. This little book emerged out of talks Reeves gave to encourage those serving in the local church. He covers topics like prayer, suffering, friendship, and more.  

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