2015: New Opportunity for Renewed Commitment
Stone's Throw Church,

This Sunday will mark our first gathering of 2015.  This past Sunday was almost a sigh of exhaustion from the Christmas season as we casually gathered together and just rested in the Word and Sacrament.  This Sunday, we are beginning a new series with a new year and it is a new opportunity for a renewed mission.  

I read a recent survey that had measured the responses of Americans who are willing to discuss the Gospel.  Did you know that the overwhelming majority of people who responded said that they are more than willing to listen to what you believe about Jesus?  Almost just as many are willing to go to church with their friend and even attend a Bible study to hear what you believe.  I want to encourage you to use this information and the new series as an opportunity to be bold and to invite people to church this first Sunday of 2015.  The series is asking a question that all people ask at this time of the year – how can I get things right in 2015?  We will be studying this question throughout the book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament.  I really believe that this series will resonate with all of us.  

This is also a year where we are trying to accomplish four major goals.  Each of these goals is an opportunity for every person to consider being a part of the mission of Stone's Throw Church – to reach people who are far from God and to invite them to come as they are. These four goals have been communicated in the past, but I want to reiterate them here to keep them at the forefront.   

First, we want to pay off the land and begin a new journey at the end of this year to begin construction on our new building.  This building will draw people who are searching.  It will be a base of operation for us and allow us to do much more in our community that portability prevents us from doing now.  We need everyone who promised to be a part of this campaign to finish well and to begin preparing for the next phase.  Additionally, we need new members to consider joining in the campaign as a way of preparing for what is ahead.  We are on a good track so far and we need to keep up with and even quicken the pace as we near the finish line. 

Second, we are pouring a lot of resources into our children and youth ministry.  This involves a commitment from the families of Stone's Throw to serve and to be involved and passionate.  We need to be passionate about teaching our children the Gospel.  We need to be passionate about equipping parents to be the first pastors of their children.  And we need to be passionate about ministering to these children in such a way that people outside of the church will want to bring their children here.  We want this to be a grassroots movement within the church – but that will involve sacrifice and commitment.  

Third, we are cultivating a culture of leadership and discipleship.  You have already seen this begin with the successful launch of 24/7 leadership development, the launch of some great women's ministry and small groups, and the strengthening and multiplication of current Community Groups.  We have not arrived yet and we are going to need help from the membership to cultivate true community and caring relationships.  We want to further develop ministry that is specific for men and women that supplement the life and mission going on in Community Groups. 

And fourth, we are working to develop a more robust mission and mercy culture at Stone's Throw.  When we speak of mission in this sense we are talking about world mission.  Some of our current missionaries are interested in working through what this might look like as we partner with them in their mission.  We have also begun to work through assembling a mission team that would help develop and foster world mission at Stone's Throw.  When we speak of mercy we are referring to mercy mission both inside the church (one-anothering in the context of Community Group) and outside the church (serving others, prison ministry, orphan care etc).  

This is going to be a year in which it will require great focus, sacrifice, and perseverance from all of us.  We will celebrate our fifth year together and our family has grown.  My prayer is that every member of Stone's Throw Church would renew their commitment, would fight the good fight and would be a part of something bigger than themselves.  

I love you all very much and am blessed and humbled to be a part of this work.  I look forward to beginning another year with all of you and can't wait to see how God will use all of us to make much about Jesus in our community.  

Your brother,

Pastor Dan
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