As we begin this new year we are preparing for the next chapter in the life of Edmond's First Baptist Church (EFBC). As a family of faith, we are embarking on a journey to reach the city of Edmond with the Gospel. I believe when God calls a pastor to a church, He also calls the pastor to that city. The end game is to see the whole city saved. Ultimately, this is no great task for our Lord. For example, in the book of Jonah, we read the whole wicked city of Nineveh was saved. I personally believe anything God has done in the past He can do again.
Remember our vision: "We are a Family of Faith, Passionately Connecting to Christ, His church, His Word, His Mission, for His Glory." "Connection Groups" are our primary strategy for fulfilling this God given vision. In the past three years we have launched over 40 new Connection Groups, resulting in 400 new members. My heart overflows with joy for the work of God's grace among us.Starting new Connection Groups that are gospel-centered leads to multiplication. We have learned from Luke 10:2 that God's heart burns with great zeal for His church to multiply. The early church in the Book of Acts spread aggressively throughout the Roman Empire as a direct result of multiplication (i.e. new groups being started). Therefore, if we are going to continue to reach people with the gospel it is essential that we start new Connection Groups. God created everyone with an innate desire to be a part of community. Here at EFBC we meet that desire through our Connection Groups.
He told them: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.
Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.
- Luke 10:2
The challenge that is set before us today is that we are out of space, therefore, unable to launch new groups. After a lot of prayer, research, and study, we felt that it was time for EFBC to step out in faith as it has always done in years past. I am asking all of us to join together in equal sacrifice to build a new education building. The new building will allow us to reach people by launching more Connection Groups. Borrowing from the words of the late William Carey (i.e. the father of the modern day mission movement), we should "Expect great things from God as we attempt great things for God". I believe we have the opportunity to step out in faith once again and experience great things.
Without a doubt the favor of God has been upon us! We have experienced so much together in the past three years. We have seen many people coming to faith in Christ. We have seen many new people coming to join the church. We have celebrated baptisms, births of new babies, and weddings. We have been there for each other through funerals and difficult times in life. I know what I am asking you to do carries on the great legacy that started over 125 years ago. We have an opportunity to leave a legacy that will carry on long after we are gone. To be successful moving forward we must remember it is not abut equal amount, but equal sacrifice.
I want to thank you for what you have done to make it possible for us to be here today. You are now the saints on whose shoulders future generations will stand. Those in the past committed time, finances, and energy to something new and exciting. Currently, this generation has that same opportunity. Your sacrifices today are helping to write the next chapter of Edmond's First Baptist Church.
But I count my life of no value to myself, so that may finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of God's grace.
- Acts 20:24