Near the beginning of the year, the elders will talk
to us about our 2009 goals.
But in this article, I want to talk about the past,
so we can understand the road we've traveled, and
can perceive the possibilities that lie ahead.
Congregation: Reflection of Individuals
It's not my intent to evaluate the congregation over
the past year. But I want to note that we've had a
A few weeks ago, Beth and I were talking to a family
that visited recently. They're working with a new
church and visiting churches in Tampa to see what
others are doing. The man again emphasized that the
South Livingston congregation was the warmest and
friendliest church they visited.
This illustrates the spirituality and commitment
of the members, and a genuine concern for souls.
As a church, our progress continues to be positive,
growing spiritually and numerically, which is a reflection
of our members. The South Livingston congregation
is doing well, because the members are doing well.
The future progress of our congregation depends on
the future progress of each member.
So, for the remainder of this article, I want to
put forth questions to help us think about the past
few months, and set a course for upcoming months.
What Did You Accomplish in 2008?
I'm sure you accomplished a lot in 2008.
Besides going to church, attending school, and going
to work, we did chores, took care of family, went
to restaurants and movies, took vacations, and visited
friends among other things.
There's nothing wrong with these things, but what
did you accomplish while doing them?
- Did you become a stronger Christian?
- Did you learn more about God and apply it to
- Did you visit Christians in need, and help them?
- Did you become more involved in the congregation?
- Did you grow as a person?
- Did you tell people about God?
What Did You Want to Accomplish in 2008, But Didn't?
All of us have goals and aspirations, and I suppose
each of us fell short of our goals in 2008. Personally,
I've learned to put more on my plate than I can handle,
so I push myself. This makes me be more productive
than I would have been otherwise. But as a result,
I never get everything done, and fall short of my
This said, I know I can be more productive, and
bear more fruit in God's kingdom.
Paul made this point to the Thessalonians, knowing
they could excel still more.
- "Now as to the love of the brethren, you have
no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves
are taught by God to love one another; for indeed
you do practice it toward all the brethren who are
in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren,
to excel still more" (1 Th. 5:9-10).
We can often improve in the management of time.
Just think, if everyone in a congregation of one
hundred people spent one more hour per week working
for the Lord, rather than recreating, that would be
5,200 hours of work in a year.
Just imagine what we could accomplish with another
5,200 hours of work! And what if we doubled it, and
worked another 10,400 hours in 2009 as a congregation!
What can you do differently in 2009, to bear more
fruit for the Lord?
- Can you squeeze another hour per week out of
your schedule, to do the Lord's work?
- What do you have to change professionally, to
get another hour each week out of your schedule?
- What would you have to change recreationally,
to get another hour each week out of your schedule?
- Would it be worth making one, or a combination
of these changes, in view of eternity?
Personally, I've been motivated to watch our elders
squeeze time from their schedules, over and over,
to work more with the congregation. Like us, they
have responsible jobs, and families who need them,
yet they place their trust in God and push themselves.
Will You Make a Bigger Difference in 2009?
Each member of the South Livingston congregation makes
a difference, as he does his individual work.
- "But speaking the truth in love, we are to
grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head,
even Christ, from whom the whole body, being
fitted and held together by what every joint supplies,
according to the proper working of each individual
part, causes the growth of the body for the
building up of itself in love" (Eph. 4:15-16).
The question isn't whether we can make a difference
in the Lord's kingdom; it's whether we will make a
Are you committed to use your God-given talents
to make a bigger difference in the Lord's kingdom
this upcoming year?