"I love it when a plan comes together." It's one of my dad's favorite things to say when he works on a project that starts to take form. For example, he helped me build a foundation for my shed earlier this year. He was the mastermind. It took a little while to pick the spot in the yard, measure it all out, lay down stakes with strings to keep it level, order the materials, dig down and start laying the base. But after all that prep work, it started to look the way we wanted it to. I knew he was going to say it and he didn't disappoint…"I love it when a plan comes together." When I got to Sussex CRC, there were a lot of plans being laid out for the next chapter of our church to accomplish our mission. After a lot of envisioning, preparing, adjusting to challenges and rebuilding, we're starting to see the plans come together. We wanted to be a church that was going to grow disciples of Jesus who transformed lives for Christ. We wanted to do that through grace-filled and authentic relationships so together we become more like Christ. Every person has a role to play and we established ministry teams to help us. Here's a bit of summary of how God has already been at work through these teams. We have an Outreach Team whose job it is seek opportunities for our church to engage people where they are in our community. That team is working on the Sussex (Compassion) Project to help our church connect with some of our neighbors and meet some practical repair needs. We have a Hospitality Team whose job it is to welcome and enfold people into the life of the church, connecting us to each other and newcomers. They've been busy at work with new signs, sprucing up our building, and designing a centrally located place to connect people with our ministries. This where Tea and Testimony comes in. We have the Worship and Prayer Team whose job it is foster deep worship and prayer as the driving force for how we connect to God and receive the spiritual nourishment we need to join his work. Musicians, AV personnel and a planning team have helped us worship Jesus each and every week and help us capture some stories to share in the worship services. Our Next Generation Ministries are all designed to help children through high school age grow to love Jesus. Cadets has been faithfully working with the boys of our church, GEMS working with the girls of our church, Jr. High Youth Group getting our middle school kids together and Catechism has been teaching the foundations of our faith. This team has also been hard at work redesigning and restarting our nursery, preschool kids church and Sunday School programs. We're seeing that take shape right now. Our Discipleship Team is designed to help adults grow as followers of Jesus. They've organized and equipped Life Groups which have been meeting for months digging deeper on that week's bible text and sermon while creating a space for more meaningful relationships. Ladies Bible Study continues to equip women to study God's Word deeper with each other. We've also seen a new members and profession of faith class helping followers of Jesus take the first or next step in their faith journeys with us and connecting people to opportunities to serve. An Operations Team looks at all the ministries and their practical needs and has been busy supporting them with systems and technology. It might not have gone exactly how it was originally designed, but so far the plans are starting to come together. We continue to seek opportunities to grow disciples and foster grace-filled and authentic relationships and we have a long way to go. However, it's important for us to remember how faithful God has been and celebrate the wins we see along the way. These things do not happen without people called by God to serve him and others. We see that in action every time we commit to relationships. I'll help, I'll make the call, I'll be there, I'll reach out to that person, I'll join that team, I'll pray for them, I'll deliver a meal, I'll write the cards, I'll lead. Why do we serve? Only out of gratitude for Jesus who served us first. Remember what Mark 10:45 tells us. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." He gave it all for us, for our world, and for our community. We trust he's good, he's active, and he has a plan for us and our world. We can only say thank you for his love and join him in his restoring work. If Jesus is leading us through all of this, I love it when His plan comes together.
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