As we examine 2021, there are plenty of issues that cause us concern, but there are also many reasons to rejoice. After experiencing 2020 with all of its restrictions and disappointments, many of us began 2021 with a new hope. While things are still on shaky ground for some, for others those hopes are being realized...and in the best way! That’s what makes the Stories of Hope in this issue of the Carolina Action so exciting and inspiring.
When we focus on our true purpose, great things can happen. In years past, I remember the
popular saying was “find your passion,” but as Harvard Business School Professor Jon Jachimowicz discovered in his research, we need to focus less on what makes us feel passionate, and more on what we truly care about—our purpose. It is obvious that this is happening in our churches in the Carolinas. As of the writing of this article, we are experiencing a gain of 245 baptisms and professions of faith through August of 2021. Praise the Lord!
Our purpose as Christians is to fulfill the command of Christ to make disciples. Part of that happens when we bring new people to Jesus, but that is only the beginning. My hope for the
new year is for our churches to have a purpose to be healthy, disciple-making centers for Christ.
• Cooperate with the Holy Spirit in establishing meaningful relationships with those attracted to Christ. We are called to provide opportunities for others to become acquainted with His Word, and then challenge them to become His disciples.
• Provide training and inspire leadership. We have pastoral and lay leaders that train the congregation to identify needs in our churches and our communities, clarify goals, gather the necessary resources and implement effective action. They follow Ellen Whites counsel in Ministry of Healing, page 143, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’”
• Nurture the members through connective worship, interesting Bible study, supportive friendships, and opportunities for significant service.
• Reach the community for Christ. Healthy churches discover the kinds of people who live in their area and strive to understand their needs so that they can provide outreach programs and activities designed to meet those needs and create a strong public awareness for the church.
As we look to 2022, may your church be a healthy, disciple-making center, and may your connection to Jesus be a compelling reason for someone to connect with Him and His church.
—by Glen Altermatt