What a great day to be together. I’m excited and I hope you are as well.
We’re here for a reason, and that is… well, it’s sort of like half-time, and I’m hoping that I might be able to help get you excited about our potential future with God as our leader.
Since it’s reformation Sunday, I thought I would begin with a quote from one of the reformers, and one whom many consider the father of Presbyterianism, John Calvin:
John Calvin: “Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. […] The knowledge of ourselves not only arouses us to seek God, but also, as it were, leads us by the hand to find him.”
What a great quote. Two parts, the knowledge of God. And the knowledge of ourselves.
We’ve spent some time this morning already looking at God’s Word, and I believe that is one of the key places where we learn of knowledge of God. We also learn of him through worship, fellowship together, and in observing the world around us. The Bible tells us that God reveals himself in His Creation.
The other though is in knowledge of ourselves.
This church has an amazing history. In that history have been some great highs and also some real challenges.
So if you’ll permit me let’s look back at the history of Mission Woods Church:
1908 - Articles of Incorporation are signed. The Fife Chapel is deeded to the congregation for the incredible expense of $1.00
In 1943 - First Presbyterian Church of Fife was organized and
in 1950 Land was purchased on 20th Street for $3,000.
That year the New Church was dedicated and a Copper Steeple was added in 1955. The church was growing.
In 1960 Growth required the addition of a new Sanctuary on the current site and a few years later the name was changed to Fife Presbyterian Church.
In 1992 the Fife church was sold and the move to Milton was made. For the first 5 years the congregation nested in the Milton Senior Center while the new church was in process.
In 1997 the new building was dedicated.
These are wonderful highlights of the journey of Mission Woods Church. All of this is displayed in our entry way for all to see.
But not everything was a highlight.
Years later there would be a church split, and a large portion fo the people would leave to try and start their own church again in Fife. My understanding is ultimately that church did not survive.
When I first began learning the history of Mission Woods Church many shared with me about the split and how vibrant the church once was. In fact I could hear the wounded-ness many still felt over the fact. The church seemed stuck and like it was “maintaining.” It felt to me like an anchor holding the church back.
I believe that too often the church congregations can suffer from a sort of dysphoria - and not seeing ourselves as who really are.
It was in talking to your former interim pastor Wendy Taylor that words began to take shape in seeing this congregation as who you are.
You are the remnant, the survivors, those who carry on and continue on with the mission.
As I study the pages of Scripture over and over again, I see God using the under dog to overcome the big dog, the few to impact the many.
Moses sent 12 spies into the promised land - only 2 though they should go.
Gideon had an army of 32,000 - but God said that was too many to take on the people of Midian and the Amalek. So God said send home those who are afraid, 22,000 returned home. Think about that. 22,000 returned home, leaving 10,000. God wanted them to recognize that it was God who was going to deliver them. In the end Gideon went to battle with just 300.
Jesus fed 4,000 and 5,000 - those are what we’d call mega churches. In the end his followers dwindled down to the 12 disciples and even they scattered.
All that is to say, we’re in good company. :-)
And so I began to dream. What might God want for Mission Woods Church. What would be so big of a dream that the only way it can be accomplished is if God is in it?
This cannot be a small dream. This is not about staying the same, this is:
“God, show us your glory!”
I’m reminded of Moses’ prayer,
And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.
With that, here are some observations of where we are.
Fact: Mission Woods Church is here, alive, and not just surviving, but growing in attendance.
Fact: We live in a community that needs Jesus.
Fact: We have tremendous space to grow.
Fact: God invites us to dream!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
So here it goes:
The growth of the church is necessary not only for its survival but its very reason for existence. The church is not merely a gathering place for those who profess a similar faith, ideology, or common ground. It is not a social club for those that no longer are active in the community as they once were. To use a cliche, “it’s not a sanctuary for saints, but a hospital for sinners.”
Mission Woods Church
Mission Woods Church
It All begins with Spiritual Growth:
H - Hangtime with God (Bible reading/ Prayer)
A - Accountability
B - Bible Study - Digging into God’s Word
I - Involvement in the greater life of the church.
T - Commitment to financial giving
S - Scripture Memorization
This is something we’re already working on and we’re seeing the results, I believe. We continue to have visitors and they tend to stay with us! That says so much about who Mission Woods church is!
And if we continue to imagine.
already has 64 painted parking spaces
54 more on gravel
10-20 more potential spaces
That’s a total of 128-138 spaces.
Conservatively that could be 250 people easily using our parking lot on any given day.
Imagine if we had 250 people attending church on a given Sunday. What could that look like
Ministering to the community:
Ministering to the community:
Food Bank ministry
Mission local and global
Supporting full-time missionary
College/Young Adult Groups
Middle & High School Minister*
Back to the Physical Plant
Did you know our church building was never completed? In the dream of dreams of those who brought MWC here there was a sanctuary that continued off towards the play ground, so that if you were looking at our building from the sky it would look like a big cross!
Something like this.
INSERT SLIDE OF OVERVIEW
No - not really. Think of all the things that God promises us in our Bible.
And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
For nothing will be impossible with God.”
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?
Why do I believe that God is calling us to do this?
God has made us a praying people.
God has been answering our prayers.
3. I see so many of you striving to grow in your faith.
4. We’re already doing so much of it
Food bank ministry
Camp Sound View
Shut-In Ministry with out Deacons
Small Group Ministry.
We could go on and I do want to hear your hopes and dreams for Mission Woods Church and what we could do.
In the mean time I would ask each one of you to spend time praying. What is God calling MWC to be? How is God calling you to be a part of it?
We serve a mighty God and God has giffted us with everything we need for the next step God is calling us to.