Pastor Bob's eNews - January 15, 2020
Dear FPC family and friends,
So in a couple of weeks we will be having our annual congregational meeting to look at our Yearly Report. I put together an introduction to that report which I wanted to share with you as my contribution for this enews. If you have never been to a congregational meeting I encourage you to attend on January 26.
“To whom much has been given, much will be required, and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.” (Luke 12:48)
You will find in the pages that follow a report of the life of First Presbyterian Church of Strasburg. You will find a listing of activities and programs, numbers and words, details and specifics. It would be easy to pass them over and let your eyes glaze over as you remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:7 – “Do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.” But if you do take the time to read the reports what you will find might surprise you. You will find life which is abundant, full of grace and joy. You will find a community that looks to unite people under the single banner of Jesus Christ even in the midst of a culture which thinks it can profit from dividing and slandering. You will find a life that loves to be in relationship and understands itself as a family.
2019 was very good to us. You were very good to your church family. The community was very good to us and I think we reciprocated and were very good to the community. Because it does, after all, take a church to grow a community. I am going to summarize just a couple of the highlights that we saw in 2019 which leaves us in a great position for 2020. Most of the highlights have to do with numbers, but don’t forget that those numbers represent people and their lives. Don’t forget that numbers tell a story which is not detached, but rather is founded upon relationships.
In 2019 we saw an 8% rise in attendance from 204 to 221 between our two services. This is a direct result of you feeling enough love for your church that you were willing to invite your family and friends to see what is happening here. Can I ask you to do that again in 2020? We also saw this year an increase of over $46,000 in giving from last year which is about a 10% increase from last year. If you remember in January we spent a month seeing what would happen if individually we tithed. I’m guessing some of you saw God’s hand at work in your home as a result and so you continued that trend. Thank you for being faithful in that area.
These numbers fly in the face of culture and society where you see mainline churches, and especially churches in the PC(USA), decline in membership and giving. You have figured out that culture does not define us, but only the living Word of Jesus Christ is able to give us definition, purpose, and meaning. There are other numbers to share but I want you to find them yourselves. Did you find how we have increased the number of programs that reach out to families and children, single moms, and young adults?
But in the face of all of these numbers and programs none of this has any meaning if we do not find ourselves focusing on our priority as disciples of Jesus Christ. Everything that takes place here at FPC has to emanate from a right and proper worship. Worship is the most important thing that we do here at the church. You can have a church without children, but you can’t have a church without worship. You can have a church without finances, but you can’t have a church without worship. You can have a church without a pastor, but you can’t have a church without worship. Worship is what drives us and prepares us for life in the world. It is in worship where we practice how to love each other so that we can love others. It is in worship where we understand that God cares for all people, so that we can care for all people. I hope we never get to the point where we understand church as what we do in regards to programs, or in regards to numbers, or in regards to how successful we think we were. I hope we always define our ultimate goal as being able to say that we worshipped God well in 2019.
Your servant in Christ,
HAPPENING IN THE LIFE OF FPC…
Single Moms Group: We had 7 moms show up for our first group meeting this past month. How exciting to get off and running with this opportunity to welcome moms in our midst. As result of the meeting we came up with an idea…, how open would you be to meeting the needs of some of these moms as they express them? For example, one mom just got a full time job set to start in a week or so but she doesn’t have the type of clothes that she needs for the job. We would love to see if anyone in the church might happen to have: Black or gray dress slacks size 16-18 and nice sweaters to wear to work in muted colors or neutrals, size XL. Remember, only donate it if you think it is something you would feel confident wearing.
Mission Trip: We are planning another mission trip with the Fuller Center. This time we are looking to go to Panama City Florida which was rocked by Hurricane Michael in 2018. We would be doing the same type of work, all types of construction and painting. We will have an organizational meeting on January 27 at Chestnut Level at 6:30. Come and join us this year! The dates for the trip will be from May 31-June 5.
90 Day Challenge IX: It’s back! We will begin another challenge on February 2. Look for the booklets to be available this Sunday.
Preschool: So our preschool is growing in leaps and bounds. A large part of our ministry with the preschool is providing the supplies that they may need in order to make sure things run smoothly. If you could consider donating the following items we would hugely appreciate it. Just drop them off by the welcome desk in the preschool: kleenex, paper towels, napkins, 5 oz paper cups, wet wipes, animal crackers, goldfish crackers, washable large markers, large crayons, cereal, pretzels, raisins, apples, carrots.
Preschool registration for September: Registration is now open for the 2020/21 preschool year. We continue to offer Monday/Wednesday/Friday two year-old classes from 9-11:30, Tuesday/Thursday 3 year-old classes from 9-11:30 and 4/5 year-old Pre-K classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:30-3:00. Read more about the preschool on the church website or contact Lynn at 717-687-6082 or email@example.com.