New Year Possibilities


I have been with you for just a short while and have observed the great spiritual qualities of your church.

Your commitment to God’s word, your deep love for the gospel and foreign mission is exceptional. Your love for one another and service to West Church is commendable. You are a very committed group with great potential. We pray very soon that God will be leading our search team in the selection and calling of our new pastor. Transitions are exciting times as well as a stressful times for churches.

Transitions also provide time for us as Gods’ people to think differently about the future. I am reminding our leadership that we at West need to celebrate our rich history and fully engage to envision a new dynamic future.

Transitions are also a great times for reflection. At our last combined Deacons and Trustees meeting I was able to engage our leaders in reflecting upon our strongest areas of church life as well as our biggest challenge. We used a simple exercise to read an article and then to reflect upon it to identify our strongest area of ministry and the area that we needed to grow the most.

Please find the article I shared with the team for their reflection and feedback. I utilized this article because it was solidly based on scripture. Our leaders celebrated our strong foundation on scripture as our strongest core value and identified as our greatest need for growth to be like the early church more involved in our local community as the area that needed most development.

Greg Stier writes, “I love the church. She is Christ’s bride and the key to cultural transformation. In that sense, every church is great. But let’s be honest, there are a ton of churches that leave much to desired when it comes to truly making a difference in their congregations and communities. So when you plug into a church that is getting it done, it’s a true blessing.

Of course, there are no perfect churches, but there are many that are pressing toward the high water mark we see in Scripture. Here are 10 signs you may be going to a great local church.

These are 10 signs you may be going to a great church. What are some other signs?”

10 MARKS YOU BELONG TO A GREAT CHURCH – November21, 2017       Full Article Link

  1. It is lead by a team of godly leaders, not a Lone Ranger pastor who gathers Tonto-type leaders around him to say “Yes, Kemo Sabe”to his each and every idea (Titus 1:5-9).
  2. The Gospel is central to every sermon, program and meeting (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), and the advancement of it both locally and globally drive strategic initiatives (Acts 1:8).
  3. People are using their spiritual gifts, not just watching the “stage team” exercise theirs (1 Corinthians 12:12-31), resulting in disciples being made and multiplied (2 Timothy 2:2).
  4. It, like the early church, is integrated, fully representing the demographic of the community in which it resides (Ephesians 2:11-21).
  5. Love, demonstrating itself in friendliness, generosity, internal/external care programs and community involvement dominates the atmosphere (1 Corinthians 13:1-8).
  6. Most likely there is a thriving small group program where members truly can have great biblical conversations, share struggles and pray with/for each other (James 5:16).
  7. The people are being inspired and equipped to share their faith relationally, resulting in more and more new believers being added to the church (Acts 2:47).
  8. The teaching/preaching is biblical, theological and immensely practical (2 Timothy 3:16-174:1-4).
  9. Ministry to children and teenagers are top priorities, not afterthoughts (Titus 2:1-8Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
  10. Intercessory prayer fuels everything. It’s the engine, not the caboose, of how the church rolls from top to bottom (1 Timothy 2:1-8).

At the December meeting of the Boards the members formed groups of three to discuss the marks and select which mark in their opinion was West Church’s strongest and weakest.  Below are the results of what the groups selected.  Do their answers match your selections?

Strongest #8: The teaching/preaching is biblical, theological and immensely practical.

Weakest #4:  It, like the early church, is integrated, fully representing the demographic of the community in which it resides.

What do you think are our strengths and our greatest challenge for spiritual growth? I would love to hear from you.

Growing In Christ,  Pastor Gene

January 2018 West Winds and Calendar