Some twenty years ago, one of our church’s forefathers, Leamon Best, stood before our congregation and declared his personal assessment of Temple Baptist Church and its future:
I marvel at the edifice [i.e. the church building] itself, but there’s more there than brick and mortar buried in its foundation . . . made possible by those who went before us and who made stewardship sacrifices that you and I have been made benefactors of. Our mission has been made easier by their legacy . . . our future was secured with the relentless fervor of a great faith, unyielding hope, and an embedded trust in an omnipotent God. Stewardship was their way of life. They truly lived to give. [In addition,] growth has been made possible by those of us who currently are members of this congregation who a few years ago had a dream and dared to undertake this vision through commitment and faith that God would bless our efforts. . . . that enhance the future of our church in many generations to come. . . . The best is yet to be. [italics added]
Every time I read this excerpt from his testimony, I am both challenged and inspired. Think of it. Can you hear the appreciation for those who have gone before us at Temple Baptist Church in these words? Can you sense the ongoing understanding and commitment to the church’s work? Can you discern the abiding faith and confidence in our future? The people called Temple Baptist Church—not the building itself—have made a lasting difference. They have dreamed together, worked together, and celebrated together. Indeed, those who have gone before us have left an example of commitment and determination that should motivate in our service.
Over the past six years (how can that be!), I have witnessed your love for our Lord, His people, and His mission. I have also experienced your unceasing optimism concerning our future, a conviction I wholeheartedly share. It has been a true blessing to pastor you; and oh, how I look forward to the days ahead together! God has a plan for us, and He truly wants to raise us to new heights. For us, we must must depend exclusively upon Christ and work hard in the Spirit’s strength to realize that future.
This coming Sunday, I will present five specific goals for us as a church in 2020. Now remember from this past week: my overarching prayer is that we would encounter Jesus daily in our families, our friendships, our work, our communities, etc. There is absolutely no substitute for Jesus. To me, the 2020 goals that the staff and I are placing before you puts Jesus and His message at the forefront of our efforts. In fact, we can encounter Christ through these efforts; and just as importantly, others can encounter Jesus as well. I am so excited about this coming Sunday as we prepare for a transformative 2020! Pray for me as I craft the right words to communicate His vision, and make a commitment to be present! Let’s join Leamon’s refrain from two decades ago—“The best is yet to be!” See you Sunday!