FBCP 2020 Assistant Pastor Annual Ministry Report

So, we began the year 2020 with many new ministry plans and intentions, and although we seemed to be off to a predictable start, the need for flexibility, and even fluidity, soon became evident.  Truly, change should never come with any major surprise, since “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps (Pr. 16:9).  We should only hold our plans with an open hand.  We had new evangelism, discipleship, and counseling goals, we had plans for new Bible studies, Sunday school classes, outreach ministries, and were exploring a couple of church planting partnerships.  Most of which were planned to have been enacted and functional by now.  

We started off the year with our Biblical Counseling Training Class, where we were training future biblical counselors.  Some of these individuals intend to go on to formal certification, while others were studying in order to grow in their personal lives, and in their ministry of discipleship (we do plan to restart this training class if you are interested).  Also, in February, Pastor Steve and I attended the annual Biblical Counseling Conference, which again, proved to be an excellent training opportunity for us, as we continue to learn and grow in the ministry of God’s Church. 

This is about the time things started to go differently than planned.  “You should always read the footnotes.”  This was the wise advice an old professor told the class early in my seminary life.  Not realizing exactly why at the time, but after the first exam it became evident, as he would write many of his exam questions from the footnotes.  Ever since then, I always read the footnotes.  Sometimes, we may think of certain ministries of the Church, as some readers view footnotes, i.e., unnecessary, or optional, additions to the main text.  In God’s Church, there are no footnotes, all are part of the main text.  Paul makes this point to the Church when he wrote, 

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” (1 Co. 12:21–25) 

Before churches all over the Country were being shut down by government decree, the leadership of FBCP began to discuss the seemingly inevitable possibility that we may one day need to close the building.  By God’s grace, we had in our church, the individuals and the resources needed, to prepare for this likelihood before we would actually need to use it.  This is our Tech Team.  What may have seemed to be an optional ministry, mostly for the convivence of sound and vision during services within the building, quickly became vital to our church life, providing sound and vision from the building to our homes.   This did not serve merely as televised church services, but instead, as the necessary church-family connection that each of us needed, at a time when we would not be able to meet together in person.  What a blessing it was to be able to ask the leader of the Tech Ministry what we need to do to get this done, and before long, it was done.   “The eye cannot say to the hand….”  

I’m a preacher, but I’ve never played one on TV.  Well actually, I guess now I have!  As we first began to live-stream services and prayer meetings, there did exist a little stress, for these were new and unexpected ministry opportunities.  Now I know that our entire church family had to stretch a bit during the time of shutdown, as well as through the months since, but I am certain that we can all stand here today and say, with much confidence, that God has carried us through it all, having again, proven Himself faithful!  

Now, until the shutdown, I don’t think I had used the word, “Zoom,” since I was about five years old playing with my toys. However, it now seems to be an important word in almost every church-related conversation, since we began “Zooming” home bible studies, church fellowships, and ministry meetings.  Also, adding to the unexpected God-given opportunities, we began uploading pre-taped devotional Bible studies to YouTube, and even did a couple of live, Ask the Pastors, events.  We made efforts to call each family in the church, held outdoor Sunday services, as well as a few outdoor fellowship events.  All this, to keep the fellowship of the church intact, as best as we knew how.  

In an effort to continue the discipleship of Sunday School, without being able to meet during that hour, we kicked off our whole-church Bible Reading Plan on September 6th.  We hope and pray that as families, couples, and singles, you will read the Bible along with us, that you will read and discuss it with each other, that you will pray about what you are reading, and that through the word of God, you will renew your minds, and continue to be transformed by God.  If the Lord tarries, we will finish the reading plan on March 28, 2024.  

One question that the State had imposed on us is, Is the Church Essential?  Our governor decreed by implication, very early on, that the Church is not essential, whereas, liquor stores, Home Depots, and abortion clinics, were found to be essential.  This upset some Christians, but I asked then, as I ask now: Is the Church essential to you?  Before you answer with a knee-jerk “Yes,” please define the word “Essential” for yourself, and then see if it applies to the fellowship of the Church.  I hope it does.  

On a final note, we have many friends and loved ones who have graduated this past year.  They have finished the course that God had set before them, they ran the race, and went on to receive the prize, and hey tare now enjoying their promised inheritance in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We mourn for ourselves, as we rejoice for them.  May God bless their families.  

To God’s glory, we will sing, we will pray, and we will encourage each other with God’s word, and in Christian fellowship.  Jesus is alive and will soon return.  Amen.

Pastor James M. Winslow

FBCP 1/14/2021

~ by James M. Winslow on 2021/04/12.

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