Winter in Michigan can be a long, cold, messy challenge. But one thing I miss about northern winters is the fresh, untouched snow just after sunrise. Why? It beautified everything. A shining, sparkling coating on every tree branch and a fresh coat of white purifying the ground. But mostly I liked the sense of opportunity that the recent, uncorrupted snowfall offered. The past is history. The way forward is fresh and promising. I would take my sled and head for the nearest hill, or later, the take my snowmobile out to lay some new tracks! New, fresh opportunity.
That is was the New Year offers us as well. A new beginning. What will we as a church community do in the new year? What will change? How can we be part of God’s making ‘His blessing known as far as the curse is found?’ I wanted to highlight a few of the changes that we are working on together in the new year.
Ezers. That is the Hebrew word for helpers. We are seeking women and men to come alongside the elders and deacons to be Ezers, helpers. In our Book of Church Order, there is a provision for this kind of helper. “It is often expedient that the Session of a church should select and appoint godly men and women of the congregation to assist the deacons in caring for the sick, the widows, the orphans, the prisoners, and others who may be in any distress or need.” (BOCO 9:7) We have too few church officers to fulfill the callings and the opportunities that God places before us. We need help to shepherd the flock, to minister physically and spiritually to the congregation. Many ministry opportunities await additional willing hands and feet. We would like many to come alongside the present officers to help them in their tasks. Visiting, shepherding, administering ministries, brainstorming new ministries, following up on decisions, discipling others, etc. We are in the beginning stages of organizing this support ministry.
Liturgy. The Worship Team is gathering its strength to improve our worship by selecting the various elements of our worship. (Call to worship, invocation, confession of sin, assurance of pardon, new music suggestions, varying orders of worship, etc.) They will be researching appropriate liturgical elements and making suggestions to the team for final approval by the pastor. The more thoughtful attention that each element of worship receives the better our united praise to God will be.
Visitors. We would like to welcome and befriend those visiting our services for the first time. We will have a visitors booth constructed soon in the foyer. We want to schedule several rotating greeters to welcome the visitors and give them a coffee mug with information about our church. We are also looking for some to open their homes to newcomers. A Visitor Hospitality schedule will be made. If there are no visitors on your day of hospitality, invite a family from church over! It’s a win-win!
Library. We are seeking to move the library and supplement it with digital materials. And this list of fresh opportunities could expand!
But these are only a few of the ideas from last year. They are the brainstorm of a few people. What ideas has God given you for the new year? What brainstorm ideas and possibilities has God laid before you? How will you plow the fresh snow that the coming year gives? We are saved by grace that we might graciously serve our glorious king, savior, and friend. Don’t stay out in the cold! Grab some hot chocolate and join us at the table of Christian service.