February 2016 Pastoral Letter (Overview of 2015)

Beloved in Christ,

This past month marked the first full calendar year of our life together as pastor and congregation (a relationship for which I am so grateful!). For those of you who may have missed our meeting in early January, here are some of the highlights of our ministry in 2015:

-We faithfully gathered 52x for worship and provided word & sacrament to all who came seeking Christ. Let’s be careful not to skip over this!

-We meditated on the life of Jesus together on Sunday mornings by preaching through the first 14 chapters of the gospel of John. I know this has been a rich experience for me and I hope it has been for you as well.

-We performed 9 baptisms (!) and added 29 new members to our body. In addition, 2 of our covenant children who were baptized in this church made professions of faith and are now communing with us.

-We faithfully memorialized and buried Pauline Dumas, one of our longtime members, with full Christian funeral rites after her death in August.

-We supported the work of the gospel in Ukraine and Peru, as well as Wycliffe Bible Translators in Dallas, with regular prayer and financial support.

-We hosted 8 different domestic and foreign missionaries either in Sunday School or in our pulpit on Sunday mornings and learned more of their work.

-We supported the mission of Covenant Christian Academy by hosting many of their teachers and students on our property during the school year (not an easy task, especially for our staff!)

-We provided weekly educational opportunities for adults and covenant children through our Sunday School program (thank you teachers!).

-We nominated, trained and elected 1 new elder and 2 new deacons.

-We added 5 new Women in the Church officers.

-We enjoyed 10 fellowship meals, increasing the depth of our community.

Most importantly: We grew in our love for one another, in our love and knowledge of God, and in our conformity to the image of Christ — both as individuals as well as a community.

The main thing I wanted to communicate to you about our new 2016 budget is that—because of your faithful giving of your tithes and offerings, we were able to 1) Add a new part-time staff member (Erik Oldfather), 2) Nearly double our giving to missions (an increase of almost $10K) and, 3) Give each of our faithful church staff members a well-deserved raise. Thanks be to God for his kindness and love to us as a congregation in 2015! As your pastor, my primary prayer for 2016 is that we will continue to joyfully follow Christ together even as we gladly welcome whomever the Spirit sends to our body. And all by the power of God’s love and grace.

As we look toward 2016, one of the primary places myself and elders have identified as an area of specific growth for our church is in our proactive, intentional shepherding of our members. As a means to that end, you will soon be hearing more about two new initiatives. First, each member of Colleyville is being placed on a “Shepherding List.” Each of these lists will be overseen by a particular elder and deacon, who will be responsible to seek out and initiate regular contact with those they are responsible for. Most of this will be happening “behind the scenes” — in other words, we’re not necessarily planning on publishing the lists publicly. The main purpose is to give our elders and deacons a definite sense of who they are responsible for within our membership and to help increase their intentional connection with the body.

In addition to this, in 2016, the church office will also be reaching out to offer annual pastoral meetings with myself to each adult who is a member or regular visitor at Colleyville. Of course, I am always available to meet with any of you (feel free to email me today to set up a time!) but we want to be sure that each of you is being offered an individual opportunity to meet with me during the year. Think of this as a kind of “spiritual wellness check” — a time to discuss your spiritual life and allow your pastor to specifically pray for you. If you’re not interested in meeting — no problem at all (though I would encourage each of us to be receiving intentional spiritual direction from someone). If you have any questions about either of these new initiatives, don’t hesitate to ask! I’m looking forward to continuing to share our life together in the year to come.

In the peace of Christ, Pastor Josh

Pastor Josh