A note from Pastor Evan, Nov 2018
My Dear Friends--
Maybe it is because Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but I am feeling especially humbled and honored to be your pastor right now. Thank you for the wonderful Pastoral Appreciation celebration you hosted and generous gift you blessed our family with, but more than that, thank you for trusting me as your shepherd. Not many churches would have taken in a young, green pastor like me who knows little more than to love God’s precious, blood-bought church and to hold fast to his ever-relevant Word. I tell ministry partners often what a privilege it is to point you to Jesus. I love you dearly, friends.
If you can believe it, we are coming up on our 6 month anniversary as a RePlant, and for some of you it has been much different than you expected. Perhaps you expected the halls to be swarming with kids. Perhaps you thought they might bring the organ and pews back. Perhaps you expected it to all go down in flames. But, God knows so much better what we need in this season, doesn’t he? I tell you what, I wouldn’t trade a crowd of a thousand for what God is doing in you, brothers and sisters.
Over and over again, I hear that more hope and more unity is in the air than has been in a long while. Visitors consistently tell me how welcomed they felt when they stepped foot into our building. Hugs & handshakes, laughter and encouragement. These are the marks of a church where the Spirit is bringing renewal. May it begin in our hearts, Amen?
Three things I want to praise God for from the last month:
First, Ephesians has been hitting me right between the eyes. Do you feel like it too? Preaching through this powerful little book has caused me to delight in the beauty of the gospel in new ways, and yet it has also revealed my deep need for God to increase my knowledge of him and the hope to which he has called us. Many of you have been following Jesus longer than I have been alive, but I expect you are finding fresh awareness that we are still so far off of these truths we declare to one another. Praise God he sees our mess exactly as it is, and by delighting in the gospel week after week, by becoming a more gospel-centered church, he is unveiling glory in our midst.
I want to be around to see it, and I want others to see it as well, as the promises of our faith are put on clear, even shocking display. May he get the glory he deserves!
Second, our kids ministry, Bayless Kids, is doing remarkably well. As I have mentioned before, a third of our church body is on the Bayless Kids Serve Team, and as many of you shared at the training this last week, you are loving getting to know the students individually and having such a Jesus-centered curriculum to point them to week after week. A big shout out to Kathy Babb for all of her hard work making phone calls, resourcing teachers, vacuuming classrooms. We love you!
Thank you, all, for laying the groundwork for one of the most important discipleship environments we have as a church! I think you will find that tracing the gospel storyline through the Bible will have as much of an effect on YOU as it does these kids.
Third, I can’t believe how well you love one another. During our Tuesday night Shepherding Meeting, I watch as your leaders celebrate what God is doing in your lives, volunteer to follow up, and pray with fervency for your needs. I also watch as Bible Studies lay hands on one another in prayer, bearing burdens as if they were their own. In many churches the leadership robs away the work of the gospel from God’s people or the congregation passes it off to the “professionals.” At Bayless, you won’t let me! :)
Some have asked, “When does the ‘real work’ start, Pastor?” Friends, this is the “real work.” Let us keep submitting under God’s wonderful Word together, looking more intently upon the cross and not less. Let us give ourselves to the “ordinary” work of discipleship and love. And, let us keep laying down our rights and our preferences, saying to God, “Whatever you reveal, we will confess. Whatever you ask, we will do.” And let’s buckle up as God shows what he is capable of!
In Christ for God’s glory,