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Big News Ahead

Posted by Pastor Mark Toone on

 Last weekend I shared with you from Mark 1:17 Jesus’ very succinct definition of discipleship: “Follow me” (Jesus wants dedicated followers) “and I will make you become” (Jesus transforms us) “fishers of men” (Jesus invites us on mission with him).

I reminded you of Jesus’ self-described mission statement: “[I] came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Our own denomination, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, affirms this biblical priority when it declares in our Constitution that the “first duty” of the church is to “evangelize.”

I also told you that after much prayer and reflection, your elders and pastors felt led in the last year to recommit ourselves to this primary mission of “fishing” for lost souls. This doesn’t mean that we don’t take care of those within our church family, but it does mean that our priority as a church must reflect the priorities of Jesus who paid the greatest price to seek and to save us when we were lost. In the same way, we must be willing to pay a great price in order that others might be drawn into the family of God.

Guided by that renewed conviction, THIS weekend, we are going to share some bittersweet news that you will not want to hear second-hand. After many, many months of work, your Session is ready to reveal a key, long-term strategy that we believe is the perfect combination of all three Beyond These Walls emphases: Making Disciples, Sending Leaders, and Loving our Neighbors. We are very excited about it…but it is bittersweet because it will mean a significant change among our pastoral leadership team.

As I said, you will not want to hear this news second-hand. It will be, at the same time, very inspiring…and a little sad. And costly. But then, we learned about that last week, too, didn’t we? The first disciples were ready to leave EVERYTHING to follow Jesus on his mission to seek and save the lost. The most precious things are always costly!

I look forward to sharing this news with you this weekend.

Pastor Mark

P.S. I’m so proud of all of you for moving around on Sunday, sitting in different places, being so intentionally welcoming. Well done! Now here’s something that could still use a little work. Latecomers sometimes find it tough to be seated because the end seats in the pews are taken. It would be such a hospitable act to move toward the center of the pew as a kindness to latecomers. Failing that, could I ask you to stand and step out of the way to allow others into your row? Thank you for your kindness. It might make a real difference to a first time visitor…or to a long-time friend who is running a little late.

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