Month: December, 2013

The Road of Life

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Road Of Life

At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong,
so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die.
He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it,
But I really didn't know Him.

 But later on when I met Christ,
it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike,
and I noticed Christ was in the back helping me pedal.

 I don't know just when it was that He suggested we change places,
but life has not been the same since.
 
When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. . .
It was the shortest distance between two points.

 But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts,
Up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds,
it was all I could do to hang on!
Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!"

 I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?"
He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn trust.

 I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure.
And when I'd say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand.

 He took me to people with gifts that I needed,
gifts of healing, acceptance and joy.
They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord's and mine.

 And we were off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage,
too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in
giving I received, and still our burden was light.

 I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life.
I thought He'd wreck it; but He knows bike secrets,
knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners,
knows how to jump to clear high rocks,
knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

 And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places,
and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face
with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.

 And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore, He just smiles and says. . .
"Pedal."

--- Author Unknown

reFocus Update

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dear Fellow-laborers at West Center Baptist:

The last year has been filled with prayer and listening. We have sought to listen to God as he revealed his vision to us and to listen to each other as we grappled with that vision. A vast majority of our members participated in the three reFocus Summits and Pulse Groups and our future directions reflect the results of the prayers and efforts of the congregation.

We began our reFocus process by developing a Biblical Purpose Statement. This statement reflects the purpose for which we believe God brought West Center into existence. We then spent most of the first Congregational Summit creating a “Journey Wall” which highlights what God has done through the decades of WCB’s history. We closed Summit #1 by identifying the one behavior we would most need to change to become the church God created us to be.

Summit #2 began with a review of the work and decisions we made in the first Summit and the following Pulse Groups. We then spent time reviewing the demographics of our community, and an analysis of the last 20 people who visited our church (both those who stayed and those who visited, but didn’t stay). We moved on to identify our three Mission Focus Groups (those people we feel we have the highest potential to reach) clarify our vision, and ascertain the four or five behaviors that will most need to change in order to fulfill our vision.

We began Summit #3 by once again reviewing the work and decisions that were made in the first two summits and the pulse groups. We then reviewed the Discipleship Flow Process and Ministry Structure recommendations from the reFocus Team. The Discipleship Flow Process answers the questions, “What does a mature disciple look like? What does the process of discipleship look like? What are the stages of discipleship?” The Ministry Structure answers the question, “How can we best structure ourselves to make disciples and achieve the vision God has given us?” Work was then started on identifying several strategic initiatives which would help us move towards implementing the vision.

Finally, the Leadership Council met with the reFocus Team for a weekend to review all of the progress made and hammer out the details of the new Mission Plan. The Mission Plan includes all of the work done in the Summits and Pulse Groups along with a time frame for implementation.

Thank you all for your prayers and participation in this process. A special thanks goes to the members of the reFocus Team: Jane Nelson, Casey Materese, Doug Sims, Brett Pierce, Jeremy Peters, and Trevor Schubert for many hours of planning, meeting, praying, writing, discussing, and forging the work done by the congregation into a meaningful plan.

I look forward to seeing how God uses this process to turn us into a church that multiplies disciples, groups, leaders, and even churches for the honor and fame of Jesus Christ.

 

Grace,

Pastor John

South Dakota Website Design and Development