Tag 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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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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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 is Getting Recharged!

Not the Same ole same ole!

It’s been said, “If you do the same thing you have always done and expect a different or better result that’s called insanity!” God is doing some awesome things to recharge our church family at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Macclenny Florida!  On August 3, 2011 we started a brand new Wednesday night program for the entire family.  We wanted it to be Christ honoring and life-giving.  We wanted Wednesday Recharge to give the tired weary saints a supernatural shot in the arm.  Through specific and fervent prayer, and intentional and strategic ministry planning God is using Wednesday Recharge to accomplish these goals!

Recharge who?

For our adult recharge we have Bible teaching on a specific topic that relates to most Christians and young people.  For our August recharge we are privileged to have my father-in-law Dr. Charles Shoemaker with us.  Each Wednesday in August he is teaching on the subject of marriage enrichment.  Although his topic is for married couples the principles apply to all relationships.  It’s been awesome to say the least. Our youth team was pumped about launching an awesome new Student ministry called “The Resistance!” Their motto is “Following God…resisting the world!”   We had the youth building remodeled, repainted, and recharged!  The students at EBC love it and are excited about it!  We made some cool invite cards too so they can spread the word to their friends.  We also launched a new kids program called the Kids Zone!  Although we offered something on Wednesday night for our kids we needed to charge it up a little.  And that’s exactly what happened!  God has blessed us with some great leaders and workers who love children and want to help them know Jesus more in a fun environment.  The kids are loving the Kids Zone!

Recharged Indeed!

God has enormously blessed our new Wednesday Recharge so far!  God has recharged our attendance.  It’s awesome to see so many new faces on Wednesday night worship.  Several young couples came and brought their kids and students.  The first night God blessed us with 77 in attendance.  The next week we had 78.  This past week we had almost 70.  We were averaging about 35 on Wednesday nights.  Now that God has helped us have something exciting and relevant for the entire family our numbers have increased significantly!

We recharged our appearance.  We did much more than just decide to offer something on Wednesday night for everyone.  Much prayer and planning went into it as well.  Besides starting new ministries we also had some cool logos and signs made!  My bro-in-law, Dennis Schaffer, who happens to be a pilot and a pastor, also does some graphic designing on the side. He did excellent work designing the logos for the Resistance and the Kids Zone.   Along with the awesome logos that were designed we had some sharp directional signs made for both the Resistance youth ministry and the Kids Zone.  The signs we hung in the church not only look incredible they make a foundational statement as well:  quality is important!  We want to communicate a spirit of excellence in all we do.  How we take care of our appearance speaks volumes.  When our facilities are neat, tidy, and attractive, when our facilities are well maintained it shows how much we care and that we appreciate what God has given us.

God has also recharged our spirit.  When a church starts something new with the goal of fulfilling their purpose, mission, and vision better than ever before there is much to be excited about!  Because of the time and efforts of those on the Maintenance team (Men of Acts), the youth team, and kids team the foundation has been laid for effective ministry for the whole family on Wednesday nights!  With all of the activity and excitement one thing is abundantly clear:  God is working at Emmanuel Baptist Church!  We have life!  There is something going on of a spiritual nature.  And as a matter of fact there is.  God through His Word and His people is getting Emmanuel Baptist Church recharged.

How has God recharged you and your family at EBC?  Or what has your church done to recharge you and your family through the ministries and services they offer?

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When Vision Becomes a Reality!

What is vision anyway?

I am a visual person!  I can get easily distracted or impressed by what I see.  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.  I like and can relate to author Aubrey Malphur’s definition of vision: vision is 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 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 will 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!

Where does a vision come from?

Vision is the picture of the future of what our church will become!  Time and time again we can see in the Scriptures that vision comes from God Himself.  God spoke to Joshua in Joshua chapter 1 and relayed the vision for His people to him.  Then Joshua cast that vision to the people—they in turn caught the vision and they together fulfilled the vision!  Habakkuk is another good example.  In Habakkuk chapter 2 he met with God in his “watch”.  He prayed, seeking God’s face and God’s direction. God then responded challenging Habakkuk to write down and share the vision He had given to him.  Habakkuk then was to cast the vision to the people so they could catch it, run with it, spread it around, and fulfill the vision together!  I was never so excited when God through prayer and studying His Word revealed to me the vision for our church!  The pastor that is serious about knowing, fulfilling, and leading his people to do the impossible for Christ 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 you specific things, whether they are goals or objectives that must be done so the 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: make disciples of Christ the best way possible.  Our mission is to help people become fully functioning followers of Christ in our church, community, and beyond.  My responsibility as the pastor is to lead our church in fulfilling our mission!  To lead our church to know Christ and make Him known!  Now that means that the vision will consist of specific things we will do and become so we can fulfill that mission better than ever before!

What is our vision?

As I began to write down the vision for my life and ministry I discovered this vision was for our church to fulfill! After writing out the vision for our church’s future I have to say that I was extremely excited.  When God gives you a vision it will propel you forward with passion and help you lead others to make that vision a reality! Here is the vision that God revealed to me for our church to fulfill.  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!  God gave me this great verse in Philippians 1:27, “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 I cast the vision to our church!  Our business meeting turned into a vision night service!  It was a great night.  God really worked, blessed, and moved in our hearts.  Our church has gone through a lot in the last several years.  Our church has seen several pastors come and go in a short amount of time.  In the process we have had some members come and go too.  But now God in His divine intervention has given us a vision to fulfill! A vision that will enable us to fulfill our mission in our community and beyond better than ever before so we will become the church God wants us to be!

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 let me tell ya 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 6 ministry teams.  So far we have a:

  • Leadership team
  • Music and media team
  • Outreach team
  • Hospitality team
  • Youth team
  • Maintenance team (Men of Acts)

Now these teams are still forming and developing.  Each one still needs work and more team  members!  But God is putting them together and it’s awesome to see!  The good news is that God has just started building these ministry teams.  Soon we will have a kid’s team, a mission’s team, and many more!

How can I get involved?

I am so glad and excited for all of the members of Emmanuel Baptist church who have decided to be a team player and join 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?  How has God gifted you to help us fulfill our mission of making disciples of Christ at Emmanuel Baptist Church?  Just let me know you are interested in serving on a team and I will help you get plugged in. The future of Emmanuel Baptist Church is bright and will be exciting.  But our vision will continue becoming a reality as more and more people get involved and become a part of a ministry
team!

Since your arrival at Emmanuel Baptist church how has God used you to help us fulfill our mission and vision?  What team have you joined or what team would you like to  join?  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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