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 ON MARCH 10, 1985 I was ordained into ministry.  It was a strong group of eight elders that laid their hands on me and prayed for me that day.  Last week, one of the eight, passed away.  He now joins six of the other eight in heaven.  Fred Kupser, Cy Wilson, Bill Wilson, Greg Georgia, Craig Larson, Walker Fell and Jim Warfield, Fred were hard workers in God’s kingdom. They gave what they had, left it all on the field and made a difference in God’s kingdom.  These men taught me, mentored me, led me, shepherded me and so much more. 

UPON HEARING OF FRED’S DEATH I realized again how quickly time passes. I asked myself, “Have I lived up to their expectations for me in ministry?  Have I even come close to accomplishing for others what they accomplished for me and so many others?”  More importantly, “Have I done my best for God”?  But that’s not the first time I’ve asked that question in the recent past.

IN NOVEMBER I WENT for my annual physical. It was routine, but upon reviewing my blood work my doctor sent me to a hematologist for further tests.  He suspected I had a rare blood cancer called Polycythemia Vera.  After some back-and-forth, it seems likely that I indeed have that condition.  At this time, I am still learning about and studying this condition.  It appears I’m not in any imminent danger of much more than some headaches.  But upon first hearing of my condition I asked, “How much time do I have left to make a difference?”  And my urge to accomplish more for God’s kingdom through our church is greater than it’s ever been.

THERE ARE MANY GREAT THINGS about Tri County Christian Church. We have some people that really love the Lord. We’ve introduce people to the Lord.  We’ve helped people grow in the Lord. We’ve met people’s needs.  We’ve helped parachurch ministries.  The list is long.  Yet, despite the great things about Tri County, there are more and better things left for us to do.

THE CORE MISSION OF THE CHURCH was announced by Jesus Himself, “Go and make disciples.”  There have been times historically that we’ve done this, but in recent years, we’ve not done so well.  Make disciples doesn’t just mean leading people to Jesus, but it includes helping grow in Jesus, too.  To accomplish our true mission there are few things we simply must either do or do better.

FIRST, WE MUST do a better job evangelizing.  We have to get the gospel from our church building, from our homes, from our lives and shared with others.  We are undertaking an effort currently to bring new people to our church.

SECOND, WE MUST help people grow in Christ.  A short time ago a group from church met and listed over 45 names of people who have attended Tri County in recent years, but no longer due so.  Some simply lost interest.  That’s not a surprise as Jesus taught in the “Parable of the Sower” that some with whom the gospel is shared will walk away.  Others have left, however, for reasons that should concerns us all.  Some were offended by something someone else said or did.  We must disciple people and help them to learn the importance of forgiveness.   Some have left for bigger and flashier environments.  We must disciple people and help them to learn the importance of each member of the body.  Nearly every reason expressed for no longer attending can be understood as a failure of discipling that person to greater levels of spirituality and a closer relationship with Christ.

NOW IS THE TIME for Tri County Christian Church to make a move.  It’s time for us to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit (more on this in a future blog!) and to make a difference in our communities!

I WANT AND AM PRAYING FOR JANUARY 29 to be a turning point in our church.  We have some people working really hard to try and bring 65 or more people to our church above and beyond our normal attendees.  And, more than that, they are working on bringing 65 more people that could become regularly attending members of our church.  If that happens, and I believe it will, we will be heading for new heights. 

I HAVE A VISION FOR OUR CHURCH.  I’m going to share that vision with you and with all of our guests on January 29.  In the meantime, I hope you’ll determine now to do everything possible to be in attendance.  And, to the extent you’re able, I hope you’ll bring some people along with you. Ephesians 3:20