Welcome to Challenge Sunday—the day where we look back at the events of our previous year, and look forward to the coming year. 2013 marks my tenth year of ministry at Norfolk Church of Christ. I started doing part-time ministry working with the military in 2003 and then transitioned to preaching in 2004. At first glance, I can’t believe it’s been ten years.
But then I start thinking about it. I remember all the people God has brought to and from our church. I drive around Hampton Roads and recall the different people who have lived here or there and all the move-ins and pack-outs. I remember all the different LIFE groups we’ve been a part of all over the area. 3 hurricanes have come through. Two children have been added to our family. I’ve lost track of exactly how many weddings and funerals I’ve officiated. (I do know the ratio is more than two to one in favor of weddings—one of the benefits of preaching for such a young congregation.) Our congregation has done 5 years of elementary week at camp, 2 years of teen week, and one year of mission week. I can’t even begin to think of all the kids who were born to members of this church. I often think how great it would have been to get pictures of all the children who have played at the church water fountain through the years. When we moved here, Rachel and I qualified as a young couple. Now, not so much. When I look at it this way, it feels like a decade.
I love challenge Sunday, because it’s such a wonderful reminder of how much happens at our little church. We are blessed with people who want to minister, and we are blessed with opportunities to do ministry. And that remains more or less the same through the years. 2012 was no different; I expect the same for 2013.
And yet I also feel like God wants something new for us in 2013. New kinds of ministry. New ways of serving Him in this corner of the world. And more importantly, I think he wants us to have a new sense of what it means to be people on a mission for Him. That’s why, as happy as I am to look back at 2012, I’m even more excited to look forward to the ways we can be salt and light to those around us.