Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Journey by the NUMBERS

4982: total number of donuts consumed on Sunday

312: gallons of coffee drank on Sunday

86: number of people who volunteer to help with set-up, worship, children’s & hospitality ministry.

6: Number of states and countries in which we supported missionary or relief projects; Tennessee, Germany, Malawi, Haiti, Slovakia, Argentina

402: Number of families served this Christmas through the manger; 844 adults, 1245 children

27: percent of increase of offerings in 2010 over 2009

$49,702: Amount of money given away for ministry and missions

45: percent of people who are connected in a house church

5: number of house churches in 2010

1: number of churches planted in 2011

Those are the numbers we shared with the people of Journey Church last Sunday. It was all part of our annual “Souper Bowl” Celebration. It’s a time we set aside each year to share all that God has done through us. It’s amazing because that’s exactly what Paul and Barnabas did following their first missionary journey. They didn’t eat like we did but they “gathered the church together and declared all that God had done with them and how that he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27

Notice they glorified God in their report, “. . .and declared all that God had done. . .” and how “he had opened up a door of faith to the Gentiles.” If I have any problem with a church’s “annual report” it’s that it more often than not glorifies the church and it's leaders. Paul’s goal was to glorify God.

But how do you do that? Well I think one way is to not talk about yourself. Paul and Barnabas experienced a great deal of opposition on their trip. They were opposed almost everywhere they went, whether it was the opposition of the false prophet, Elymas, or having their teaching rejected in Antioch of Pisidia or being stoned in Iconium. Either way it couldn’t have been easy. Yet Paul does not emphasize the hardships he endured but rather reported on all that God had done and especially the new thing of opening the door of faith to the Gentiles.

Second I think you glorify God when you let Him do new things in our life, things that you maybe never thought or even dreamed of doing. For Paul and especially the Jews it was a new thing that God would open up the door of faith to the Gentiles. Certainly Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles but almost everywhere he went, he went first to the Jews and understandably so, but God wanted to do a new thing and the new thing He wanted to do was open the door of faith to the Gentiles.

For us, or at least for me, the new thing He wanted to do was use us to “plant” a church. That wasn’t on our agenda for the year but it was on His agenda. We are still young church and smaller than most so how can you plant a church? Maybe the more important question is how can we not plant a church, especially when the Holy Spirit sets two of your leaders apart to do so, Acts 13:1-3. Pray then for us and for Tom and Vicki Chappelear as they seek to follow the Lord and plant a church in Grove City. To lean more check out this “new thing” check out the church at OneSpring.

Besides planting a church God also wanted us to expand the Manger ministry this year. It began three years ago by serving 80 some families. Last year it more than doubled by reaching over 200 families. This year it grew to serving over 402 families. It wasn’t because of anything we did or could have even dreamed of doing. It was because of what He did. God laid it on the heart of Columbus Dispatch Newspaper reporter, Holly Zachariah to write an article allowing us to reach more families and receive more donations than we could have ever imagined.

Now we have plans for 2011. There are some things we think we are going to do and some things we are not going to do, but I don’t want to put God in a box. Those are the plans we’ve made with the wisdom we have but I want to hold them loosely, loosely enough that when we meet for SOUPER BOWL V we will all be surprised and God will get the glory!

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