October is fast coming to an end and the final two months of the calendar year are about here. As we enter November we do so realizing what an important month it is going to be for our church. Back in February, the Elder Board formed a Vision Task Force made up of 3 Elders, 3 Leadership team members, and 3 individuals from our Ministry Staff, charging them to answer the question, “How can we meet as many people as possible over the next 3 years and move them to where God wants them to be?” This 3-year vision plan was then presented to our Elder Board back in August who unanimously approved it.
Beginning this Sunday, October 28, we will be taking four consecutive Sunday mornings to share with our congregation this 3-year vision plan for 2013-2015. This will be done using a message series through John 14:1-14 that we are calling, “Greater Things.” In John 14:12, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to the Father.”
On that Sunday we will end our “Greater Things” message series by giving each person who calls Gaylord E-Free their church home the opportunity to literally put their “fingerprints of approval” on this aggressive, yet exciting vision plan for our church. This is something you don’t want to miss. Please start praying now that God would open our eyes and our hearts to the “Greater Things” that He wants to do in and through us here at E-Free. Then, following the service we will enjoy a full-blown Thanksgiving meal together down in the gymnasium. I hope you will plan to stay on that Sunday for this special time that we will have as a church family.
It is also our tradition here at E-Free to take a second offering on Ingathering Sunday which is a special offering that allows us to show in a tangible way our thankfulness to God for His many blessings in our life. This year 100% of this special Ingathering offering will be used to prepare and equip our church through technology to be able to reach more people for Jesus than ever before (our Elder Fund will continue to be funded through our communion Sunday offerings). Over the past 75 years, God has used E-Free Church to reach hundreds upon hundreds of people for Jesus. But as you will soon see when we share our 3-year vision plan, we believe that God is now ready to do even “Greater Things!” We believe that in the years ahead He can and will use us to reach thousands upon thousands, and with the proper technology, our church will be in a position to expand our ministry as never before with the sky literally being the limit.
Through this technology upgrade, not only will we be able to broadcast our worship service to other venues in our building (such as the Classic Service in the Chapel), but it will also begin to equip us with the potential of reaching literally thousands of people through many avenues including a live internet stream, a radio broadcast, a television broadcast, and even satellite campuses. This upgrade will equip us to be able to saturate northern Michigan with the Gospel.
Last year we received nearly $50,000 in our Ingathering offering. Because of the opportunities that God is placing before us, and realizing that people so desperately need Jesus, we are stretching that goal this year by 50%. Our goal for this year’s Ingathering offering is $75,000. Just imagine! In one day we could receive enough funds to take a giant step in equipping our church to reach twice as many people in Northern Michigan in the years ahead than God has so graciously allowed us to reach in the past 75 years! That’s why our theme is “Greater Things!”
I am asking each of you to take time between now and November 18 to prayerfully consider what God would place on your hearts to sacrificially give to this special Ingathering offering. I am confident that we can reach our $75,000 goal and ask you to join me in praying that God would provide that and even more. It is very important, however, to understand that on this Sunday we will first take our regular offering and then later in the service take our special Ingathering offering. We would ask that you not take away from your regular giving for this special offering so that we can also continue to meet the weekly financial needs of our ministry.
Let me also take a moment to make you aware of some exciting happenings here at E-Free that are planned for the month of December. Our Annual Business Meeting will take place Sunday night, December 2, at 6pm in the Gospel Center (refreshments and fellowship will start at 5:30). This is an important meeting for our church family as we hear exciting updates and have the opportunity to approve our 2013 faith budget. Although only members can vote, we encourage all regular attenders of our church to be part of this meeting.
And don’t forget Christmas at E-Free! On the last Sunday of November we will begin a message series on the topic of “Angels” as we look to see what the Bible really teaches about angels and explore together the role that angels played in the Christmas story. On December 24, we will have two very special family Christmas Eve Services, one at 5pm and another at 7pm, including great Christmas worship through music, candle-lighting and much more. Childcare will be available during both Christmas Eve services for children 2 years of age and under.
I can’t wait to see what God does! I am believing Him for “Greater Things!” I hope you are too! Thank you in advance for the role you will play as we worship the Lord together!