November 2013 Forum Recap

A few weeks ago, many from the Newport Campus got together at our second Forum to discuss a variety of topics.  Since many of you weren't able to attend, here's a quick recap...

Thank you, Bob Smith!  He's our Dir. of Operations, and he took the time to walk us through a financial report including YTD spending & giving, a forecast for 2013 year-end, and a presentation on the budget the Deacons put together for 2014.  UPDATE: That budget was unanimously approved by the congregation at our Business Meeting last night.

Candidates for Elders & Deacons were introduced.  These included Elders & Deacons who were "re-upping for another 3-year term (Elders Bob Greenwood & Rob Lohrmann; Deacon Don Price) and those who were coming on for the first time (new Elder JD Rogers; new Deacons Lloyd Conley & Doug Ortenzi).  UPDATE: All candidates were approved by ballot vote at our Business Meeting last night.

"Newport By The Numbers" was exciting to share.  #'s continue to be very encouraging, indicating a consistent upward trend in both area reach and Sunday morning visitors.  #FunFact: More than half of the visitors we've seen this year have come since August.

Our motivation for serving is something that has been on my heart for years, quite frankly, but is heightened as I've had the privilege of leading GFC Newport this past year.  As an Elder, I know one of our desires & prayer requests is for God to establish a "culture of serving" at GFC.  God has been VERY faithful to us at GFC Newport in raising up people to serve wholeheartedly in a variety of areas, which has gotten us off to a great start.'s December.

And you're tired.

And I'm tired.

And it's darker and colder nowadays as you continue to tirelessly serve to get this thing off the ground.

On the one hand, it really is the most wonderful time of the year in this guy's opinion.  I love Christmas time!  On the other hand, this is also the time of year where adding anything to my calendar tends to make me wanna punch myself in the face because...well, like I said; I'm tired, and it's just a very busy month and season.

Here's the bottom line: If you don't have a "why" for doing what you do that's rooted in the Gospel, you won't experiencing long-lasting, fruitful ministry in serving.  You'll only serve for the short-run.

In Rom. 12:1, Paul beseeches the church at Rome to present themselves as "living sacrifices," and goes on to call this "reasonable."  However, he doesn't simply say "put up & shut up," or give a tear-jerking speech followed by an altar call with every head bowed, every eye closed, reassuring them the buses will wait.

He refers them back to the mercies of God.  In view of God's mercy to us, sending His Son to bear our guilt and shame and not treating us as we deserve, our only reasonable, logical response is to be living sacrifices for Him, and to do so in an act of worship; not merely of meeting a need (pragmatism), not just because we're told to (obedience).  We serve as an act of worship because of the grace & mercy of God shown to us in Jesus Christ.

More to come on that, I promise.  Stay tuned.

Our next Forum is scheduled for Monday night, 13-Jan, 7:00 PM at the Florence campus (which seems like our best option at this time since we can provide childcare for those who need it).  I know, I more thing!  But don't worry...we'll both feel better about it after the New Year.  {;-)

Love in Christ,

Pastor Peter
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