Category Archives: vision

Breaking into the Future at EBC!

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Vision Night 2016 Update:

We are breaking into the future here at EBC! Our Vision Night service was this past Sunday night! It was monumental as we saw a picture of our preferred future as it can and must be!

Our vision is what our church is becoming.  It is what our church family will look like in the years to come as God blesses and directs us to fulfill His mission.  Our vision answers the question, how can we use all that we are and all that we have been given to help bring God the greatest glory and help more people become growing devoted disciples of Jesus in our church, community, country, and beyond?

On Vision Night we saw a snapshot of where God is leading us and what He wants us to become in the years ahead! And we were also challenged to help our vision become a reality.  Will you do your part?

Are you excited to help our vision become a reality at EBC? Let me know by leaving your comment or speaking with me in person!

Breaking into the future,

Pastor Mike

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Vision Night Flashback!

Growing

On Sunday, March 3rd, at 6:00 p.m. Emmanuel Baptist Church gathered for Vision Night!  It was awesome!  Vision night is one of the most important gatherings of the entire year.  And oh what an inspiring Vision Night gathering we had.

So what really happened on Vision Night?  What was said from God’s Word?  How were we the people of EBC challenged to help see our vision become a reality?  I am glad you asked!  Here is what happened!

What is our vision?

God blessed us with an inspiring vision night gathering on March 3rd!  The atmosphere was great, the crowd was attentive and response, and the vision was compelling and on point.  On this special night I shared our Vision for this year:  Growing together: Upward, Inward, and Outward! Our vision theme verse is found in 2 Peter 3:18, But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

During our gathering I explained how our vision came from God, what the vision is, and I also painted a picture of what our vision looks like in action.  I challenged us all by asking some key questions like, “What is it going to take for us to grow together? What will it take for you and me to step out of our comfort zones and really get engaged in the mission?” To help us get engaged I reminded us of what our God-given purpose, mission, and vision really are! The purpose of our church—the reason why we exist at all is to Glorify God—to seek to exalt Jesus our Savior and please Him in how we live and in what we do.  The mission of our church—what we are to be doing—is to make disciples of Jesus Christ! Our mission is to help people become growing healthy disciples of Christ in our church, community, and beyond.  As a church we are to know Jesus more and make Him known to others.

How can we become a church that glorifies and pleases God in who we are and in all we do?  How can we together become growing healthy disciples and become a disciple making factory? That’s where our vision comes in!  We will become the church God wants us to become by Growing Together!  On vision night I then shared this important truth:  growing upward, inward, and outward are all connected to each other!  We won’t grow upward in our relationship with God unless we open up to God and desire to know Him more.  And we won’t grow inward, building real relationships with other church members and attenders and guests unless we first grow upward.  And we won’t grow outward, reaching new families with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, unless we first grow upward with God and then inward with others within the church body.  They are all connected!

At the end of our gathering I shared some action steps.    In order to change the outcome—our future—we must change our behavior.  That’s what we do. And in order to change what we do we have got to change who we are. And that means experience a change of heart! We have to get God’s help with that!

Let’s decide together to take some action steps toward our vision so we can see our vision become a reality!

What steps are we to take together?

I was excited as I shared our Growing Together Goals!  Our goals are laminated on a half sheet of card stock with a magnet so they can be easily put on our refrigerators for viewing and reminding each day!  Our goals are the mini bite-size action steps we all must take together so that our vision will become reality. These growing together goals are not just for me but for you too.  Not just for some members and attenders but for all!  To discover where you are in your spiritual growth with Christ and your commitment level ask yourself this question as you read over and pray over our goals, “What main area(s) do I need to grow in?”

God truly worked in a great way!  We all have steps to take so we can see our vision of Growing Together: Upward, Inward, and Outward become a reality at EBC!  If you were present at the vision night gathering or have received your copy of our growing together goals, or just love growing in Christ let me know how God has worked in your life and let’s get growing!

What area(s) has God showed you to grow in so we can all grow together?  Keep the conversation and vision alive by leaving your comment.

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EBC Vision Flashback!

Vision…what are you still seeing?

Earlier this year in February we had an important church meeting. It was a typical business meeting. It was fine. There were no issues or problems. No one made a protest or charged the pulpit. One thing that did happen is that our vision for the future was clearly shared. I reminded us that our vision is to see EBC become a church of ministry teams—one team per ministry.

It’s the same vision I have been casting, sharing, teaching, and preaching since February 2010.  I define a ministry team as a group of believers in Jesus who are like-minded, unified in purpose, mission, and vision and are advancing! As I reminded us of the vision I challenged each one of us to examine our own lives and walks with God and be willing to take the next step to help our vision be realized. Have you taken your next step? 

What is vision anyway?

Vision is an essential element of a person’s life, family, and it’s especially vital in a local church! Vision is a seeing word. Author Aubrey Malphur’s defines vision as: the clear and challenging picture of the future of our church as it can and must be. Vision is possible and vision is also urgent—it must be! In order for our church to not just survive but thrive in Christ we must have a vision. Proverbs says that without vision the people perish. I believe the opposite is also true: a church—group of believers in Christ WITH a vision can flourish! A church with a great commission Christ centered vision will flourish and become all that God wants them to be and do all that God wants them to do in their community and beyond! When we as an individual member-we who make up the church-get on board our vision becomes real!

Where does a vision come from?

Vision is the picture of the future of what our church will become! The pastor and people who are serious about knowing and fulfilling God’s will for them in their community and beyond is ready to receive a God sized vision! After much prayer and worship and even some fasting God revealed to me the vision. Now a vision is not just something exciting and needful for the church to accomplish. Vision is specific! God will show us specific things, whether they are goals or objectives that must be done so our church can accomplish its mission best. Now let me say that our mission is the same as what all Bible believing Christ following churches should be pursuing: help people become growing healthy disciples of Christ and fully engaged members of the church body. My responsibility as the pastor is to lead our church in fulfilling our mission! As cool and needful as a vision is there is no way that I can fulfill the vision and mission of our church alone.  That’s where each person at EBC comes in. Catch it! Communicate it! And help us fulfill it!

What is our vision?

Our vision is to improve the quality of ministry by building a church of ministry teams! That was it—team ministry! There is no I in team! The pastor cannot do it alone! Together we can do it! Philippians 1:27 says, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

On February 13th 2010 I casted the vision to our church! Our business meeting turned into a vision night service! God really worked, blessed, and I believed moved in our hearts. Since that day I have continued to cast that vision, reminding specifically our men, and then every member and attendee, leading them to pray and help fulfill and spread our vision. Have you prayed about your part in fulfilling the mission and vision of our church?

How is our vision becoming a reality?

Now it’s great to have received a vision from God and His Word! It is very exciting to cast that vision to the people. But there is nothing like it when God’s people start catching the vision and you actually see the vision becoming a reality in the church! Right now God is allowing our church to build some ministry teams. So far we are developing a:

  • Leadership team
  • Music and media team
  • Outreach team
  • Hospitality team
  • Youth team
  • Maintenance team (Men of Acts)
  • Kids Team
  • More to come!

Now these teams are still forming and developing. Each one still needs work and more team members! But God is putting them together! The good news is that God has just started building these ministry teams and you can join one!

How can I get involved?

I am glad for the members of Emmanuel Baptist church who have agreed to serve Jesus on a ministry team! The good news is that there is an opening for you to be on a ministry team too. Are you on a ministry team? What areas of interest and experience do you have? What are you passionate about?  How has God gifted you to help us fulfill our mission of making disciples of Christ at EBC? Just let me know you are interested in serving on a team and I’ll help you get plugged in. The future of EBC can be bright and filled with God’s hand of blessing. But for that to happen we need to ask God to open our hearts and take a step toward Him! Our vision will become a reality only if our church members and attendees catch the vision and get active and involved and become a part of the “team!”

Since your arrival at EBC how has God used you to help us fulfill our mission and vision? Do you understand what our mission and vision is?  Will you take your next step towards being an active disciple of Christ and member of EBC?  If you’re a member of another church how has God used you or your church to form ministry teams to fulfill the mission and vision of the church?

Start the conversation by leaving your comments!

 

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Go Team!

Our vision for EBC is to see our church become a church of ministry teams:  one team per ministry!  We can always function better, healthier, and accomplish more for Jesus when we all have the same mind and work together.  EBC saw this happen in a great way this past Sunday!  A quality Christ honoring worship service does not happen by mistake or by the efforts of one person. Our worship leader, fell sick suddenly on Saturday night.  Our lead sound and media people, and their backups were unavailable.  So I did what a good pastor does–I prayed!  With the regular worship team out and their backups unavailable God helped me put together a team.  I asked my wife Emily to run the media, Tim McKinnon to run the sound, and miss Hannah Wilkerson to play the piano and I led our worship.  God really blessed.  As we sought to worship Jesus in spirit and in truth everything came together well, Christ was glorified, and the church was edified!  I thank the Lord for willing members of EBC who are willing to step out and up to serve with me.  Thank you guys!  Go Team!

Together we can do it!

How has God used you at EBC or your home church to serve on a ministry team?  How do you feel about being a part of something great?  Start the conversation by leaving your comment!

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Vision Flashback!

 

Vision…what do we see?

Earlier this year in February we had an important meeting.  It was a typical business meeting.  It was fine.  There were no issues or problems.  No one made a protest or charged the pulpit.  One thing that did happen is that our vision for the future was clearly shared.  I reminded us that our vision is to see EBC become a church of ministry teams—one team per ministry.

I define a ministry team as a group of believers in Jesus who are like-minded, unified in purpose, mission, and vision and are advancing!   As I reminded us of the vision I challenged each one of us to examine our own lives and walks with God and be willing to take the next step!

Last post I shared step one!

Step 1: Unify in Purpose

Who is EBC about?  We are to be about Jesus and His great Gospel!  We are to be about making Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior glorious in all we say and do!  This means as we gather and worship and serve we communicate our love and appreciation for who Jesus is and what he has done for us.   And when that happens He is pleased and His presence is known! He appears! He manifests Himself to us in His power and glory!  Souls are saved and saints grow in Him!

Step 2: Be active in Mission!

What is EBC supposed to be doing? Paul told the church in Philippians 1:27 that as we gather to worship Jesus we are to Strive together for the faith of the Gospel! To strive together means that we work hard at the same time with one another to accomplish His work!  What’s that work?  The work of the ministry is the faith of the Gospel!  It’s everything that’s involved in helping more people know Jesus and make Him known!  It means that we with a like mind and single focus believe the Gospel, live the Gospel, and then share the Gospel with others.

We need to take an honest look and ask, “What are we doing to help more people hear the Gospel and come to Christ  in our community?”  God wants us to come together as a team and put forth hard effort to help more people know Jesus as their Savior and grow and mature in Him! 

Step 3: Get in the game!

As I preached the word and reminded us of our vision of striving together for the faith of the Gospel I left us with one final step!  I asked us this question, “What will be your next step to help us fulfill our purpose, mission, and vision?”  To all those who call EBC their church home, their faith family, the place where they worship Jesus, what is your next step?  Maybe it’s to attend the worship services more regularly, receive Jesus as Savior, get baptized, or maybe even become a member of our church family.  Whatever your next step is be sure to take that step in faith.  And why not let me know or a church leader know about your next step.  If you have any questions I would love to talk with you and pray with you about your next step!  As we grow closer to Jesus and His Word He will show us the “next steps” to take.

Ready to take your next step at EBC?  Why not leave a comment and share how God has led you or is leading you to take your next step.

 

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EBC’s Next Steps!

Vision…what do we see?

Well we gathered together–the saints of EBC that is this past Sunday night for our annual business meeting.  God blessed as we took a look at where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are going. I reminded us of the vision that was cast just a year ago: Improve the quality of ministry by building a church of ministry teams.  I also shared some key facts about our vision and answered a key question: has our vision become a reality?  The great news is that it’s happening!  Vision takes time and effort from everyone in order to become fully realized.  Although we still have a ways to go God and the faithful active and responsible members of EBC have helped put our vision into motion! So I say thank you! 

We took a look back at the 2011 highlights, noting the health and growth God has given to EBC this past year!  Specifically I shared with joy the ministry teams God has helped us put together:

–        Leadership team (Me & the deacons)

–        Youth Team (A.K.A. The Resistance)

–        Praise Team

–        Sound & Media team

–        Kids team

–        Maintenance team (A.K.A Men of Acts)

–        Hospitality Team (A.K.A Bread breakers)

–        Administration team

–        Outreach team

–        Usher & greeter team

I define a ministry team as a group of believers in Jesus who are unified in purpose, mission, and vision and are advancing! I shared with the church that each team is in the beginning stages. We have brought people together who have the desire and giftedness to help bless the church in a particular ministry as we seek to help more people know Jesus and make Him known! The good news is we are advancing! We are making progress! But now it’s time to take our teams to the next level and encourage them to take the next step!

Step 1: Unify in Purpose                                                                                                             

According to Romans 15:5-7 I reminded us of what the purpose is. What is the Purpose of the Church?  Why does this church exist? Our Purpose as a church is to Glorify God! That means we purpose to make Jesus glorious!  With a thankful and sincere heart, we express with our actions, attitudes, and words that we know Jesus and love Jesus and that He is #1!  We make Him look good, be the center of attention, be who we think about, talk about praise, worship, and serve!  A team or a church will not be healthy or effective if it is not unified in purpose.

When we unify in purpose as a called out body of Christ we will receive one another in the body the same way God the Father received us by Christ!  If God can receive us with the great gap between heaven and earth, sinner and perfection, with serious differences than we can and should accept one another in the church and be unified no matter our differences or backgrounds.

The best thing that happens when we unify in purpose is that we make Jesus glorious!  We show forth His praise and attributes. And when that happens He is pleased and His presence is known!  He appears!  He manifests Himself to us in His power and glory! We so need His presence and power as we seek to fulfill our vision.

More steps to come.  How is God leading you now to help EBC with this important “Next Step” (Unifying in purpose) so we can fulfill the vision He has revealed to us?

 

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It takes one to know one!

Leadership expert John Maxwell said concerning leadership, “It takes one to know one show one and grow one!” I love this statement because it has the Great Commission all over it. Jesus said in Matt 28:19, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Making more disciples of Jesus Christ–helping more people know Jesus and make Him known as our EBC mission states, is all about reproducing ourselves in the life of another person.

I shared these truths at our EBC leadership team meeting yesterday. As we met I challenged us to grow in our walk with Christ, rise in our commitment and service, and help someone else do the same! I am excited to continue on our journey of growth together as we seek to help others know Jesus and make Him known this year.

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EBC 2011 Rewind!

What?!  It’s already 2012?  Yes indeed!  Time sure has flown, but before we get swept away in the fast moving current of this new, exciting, and promising New Year let’s take a quick trip back to the highlights of 2011 at EBC.

We enhanced our Appearance!

  • We painted the interior of the Church!  (Nice!)
  • We painted and decorated the teen building!  (Sweet!)

We improved the quality of our ministries!

  • We added graphics and power point sermon/lesson outlines to our Sunday and Wednesday worship services!
  • With the EBC praise team singing God has breathed life into our worship services!
  • We launched a new Wednesday worship service format called “Recharge” and God has used it to spiritually recharge our church family!
  • We started the Kids Zone ministry and the kids and parents love it!
  • We started the Resistance Teen ministry and it’s helping teens “follow God and resist the world!”
  • We launched our first website ebclife.org and it’s helping our church family connect and stay informed all online!
  • Had a great Missions Conference called “Building Bridges!”

We had great preaching from Dr. Charles Shoemaker, special music,  and live Skype calls with two of our missionaries: the Peppers from Durbin, South Africa, and the Huffs from Togo, West Africa.  Awesome! 

God grew our membership!

  • Families joined the church family!
  • Babies were born into the church family!

We had great worship services!

Although God’s presence is known each time we gather to worship Him, there are some special services worth noting:

  • Vision Night (A.K.A business meeting)

Casted our vision:  Improve the quality of ministry in our church by building a church of ministry teams! It’s happening praise God!

  • Easter Service

182 attended! Many guests came thanks to our members inviting folks. Way to go! We also baptized 4 people in the evening service to include my 2 daughters. Awesome privilege!

  • Holiday Services 

At our Thanksgiving Service we focused on expressing our gratitude for who God is and what He has done in and through our lives! We enjoyed a delicious pie fellowship afterwards. Yum!

It was Christmas at EBC each Sunday and Wednesday as we focused our lessons, sermons, singing, and worship on Christ and celebrating His birth!  We had an awesome Christmas Eve candle light service!  It was very meaningful.  Our Christmas day service was well attended as we lifted up our Savior Jesus Christ in song and heard pastor’s message, “Getting Gospel Struck.”

God really recharged our faith as we worshipped Him on the last Wednesday of December!  Brother Tim Crews and his youth choir, from North Carolina blessed our hearts as they sang and testified.  God really moved in that service as people came and prayed and worshipped at the alter.

Our New Year’s Eve service was good preparation for 2012 as we sang, received a resolution starter kit, and ate some pizza!  We started 2012 right as we gathered on New Year’s Day to worship our great Savior.

Wow!  What a 2011 we had at EBC!  Of course these are just some highlights. As we continue gathering together each Sunday and Wednesday to worship God it is clear He is opening the door for us to help more people know Jesus and make Him known.  That’s why we are here.  We thank God for who He is, what He has done, and what He is going to do in the days ahead at EBC!

What are your 2011 highlights at EBC?  How has God worked in your life this past year and what are your hopes for 2012?  Join the conversation by leaving your comment!

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EBC News!

What’s been happening as the disciples of Christ gather at
Emmanuel Baptist Church in Macclenny Florida?

2011 Missions Conference Highlights!

EBC had a missions conference on October 2-4! This was a great time where we focused on our mission: the Great Commission.  According to Matthew 28:19-20 our mission is to help more people know Jesus and make Him known. This begins in our church, continues as we go and spread the Gospel of Christ in our community, country, and the regions beyond!  Having a missions conference helps us do exactly that! Our theme was building bridges…reaching more for Christ!  Here are some highlights:

  • God blessed us with great preaching from Dr. Shoemaker!
  • We had live Skype calls with 2 of our missionaries: one in Durbin
    Africa, and one in Togo Africa! Awesome!
  • We had great special music by our praise team!
  • The conference was well attended!

Prayerfully our missions conference goal will be reached as well: total participation!  Our desire is to have every member and regular attender commit to give an offering to faith promise missions each week.

Another Ministry Team Formed!

I’m excited that our church has formed another ministry team! The Kids team is now official. Our church’s motto is “Together we can do it.” Our vision is to see our church become a church of ministry teams, doing the work of the ministry together one team per ministry. Why? So we can fulfill our mission best:  All that is involved in helping more people know Jesus and make Him known. God has given our church a group of ladies that are gifted and who love God and kids!  We are excited to see how God will use our unified efforts to reach more kids for Christ in the days ahead!  We are planning an exciting kids activity and practicing for the Christmas musical! Thank you kids team for your efforts!

What’s happening next?

We have a new exciting sermon series beginning Sunday 10/16!  I am excited to start a new series called, “Extreme Spiritual Makeovers: Home edition.” This is a sermon series designed to speak to every family, helping us grow healthy families that know God and experience His presence, healing, and blessing!

God has been recharging our church family on Wednesday nights from 7-8:15 p.m!  Our October adult recharge begins on the 10/12.  Pastor Greg Peters, lead pastor of Parkview Baptist Church, in Palm Coast Florida will be our guest speaker.  Our recharge theme is “Leading with Love!”  He will be kicking off his teaching series with this lesson from God’s Word:  “Loving myself First—Really?”

EBC’s Wednesday Recharge has relevant ministries for all ages to include adults, the Resistance student ministry, the Kids Zone, and a nursery.  God has truly recharged our church family, helping us grow healthier in spirit and in number.

We are also very excited to launch our very first website!  Yes I know—pretty interesting having a blog, facebook page, and a twitter account but no website.  Well it’s a long story and has been quite a project, but we are almost there!  I really believe this new website is going to have a great impact on our church family and attract more guests in the days ahead. Our brand new website is going to help us interact, engage, converse, unite, and be informed all online!

As more disciples gather at EBC to worship God and serve Him it is clear that God is working in great ways and our future is getting brighter and brighter!

How’s your church life been lately?  How’s your life been touched by the ministries at EBC or your local church? Start the conversation by leaving your comment!

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EBC News!

A “church” is a local assembly of disciples of Jesus Christ who gather to worship Him and accomplish His work.  A local church is active, lively, growing, and life giving.  So what’s been happening as the disciples of Christ gather at Emmanuel Baptist Church?

Sunday Worship!

Last Sunday was Labor Day weekend.  Labor Day weekend is known throughout the church community as a “low” attendance day.  Well at EBC we had almost 100!  But the fact is we did have several regular families out—some sick and some travelling and we still had a very strong Sunday (we are averaging close to 100).  God is growing our church!  God continues to bring new families to worship with us.  There are several families that have been attending that I believe could be members soon.  Our worship experience has also grown too.  The music continues to add life to the church and our pointed sermon series have been helpful and life changing!  This Sunday I’m continuing the series, “The secret to seeking and finding.”  Sermon number 2 will be, “Finding hope in times of difficulty.”

Wednesday Recharge!

We started a new Wednesday night worship service at EBC in August.  God has blessed!  We now have active ministries for all ages to include adults, the Resistance youth ministry, the Kids Zone, and a nursery.  Since starting this exciting fresh new ministry we have seen the attendance double going from 30 to about 65!  The awesome thing is everyone who comes is learning how to know Jesus and make Him known and really getting spiritually recharged!  Our theme for September is “Healing from life’s hurts.”  This Wednesday I’ll be teaching on this subject: “Healing from Inferiority.”

What’s happening next?

We will be trusting God to do great things in the days ahead.  Coming up October 2-4 our church is having something real exciting:  a mission’s conference!  Our very own Dr. Charles Shoemaker will be our key note speaker, who will inspire and instruct us to have a greater impact for Christ in our community and beyond!  This is awesome because we have not had a mission’s conference in years. Plus fulfilling our Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples is our mission.

Well, as the disciples of Christ continue to gather at EBC one thing is certain:  God is at work and we are excited to follow Him into the future.

How’s your church life been lately?  Have you been blessed and encouraged by the happenings at EBC or your local church? Start the conversation by leaving your comment!

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