April marks the completion of 17 years of ministry for Hope Chapel. I’ve been privileged to have a front row seat over those 17 years to see all God has done and to play a small role in making some of it happen. Knowing that God constantly challenges His people to remember and celebrate what He has done, let me take a couple of paragraphs to share a few of my observations.
New Life – We’ve witnessed 100’s of people experience new life in Christ because the Gospel is still the power of God for salvation for all those who believe. It is amazing to think that Hope has had a role in each of them getting to walk the streets of heaven for eternity! An extra “icing on the cake” blessing has been that over the last couple of years Hope has experienced record numbers of people confessing their new life in Christ by being baptized.
The Power of the Fundamentals – If these last 17 years have demonstrated anything to me it is that God still honors the spiritual fundamentals. There are many things that Hope could have done better, believe me I know. But God has chosen to honor us with more and more people to serve because we are serious about the fundamentals: seeking to love Him with all our strength and to love others the way He would. I think that this even extends to our commitment to be fully in love with the mission of the church, reaching those far from God and leading them to be faithful followers of Christ, while being faithful to the purpose of the church, worshipping God in spirit and in truth.
Generosity – The scripture says that God loves a cheerful giver. While there have been a couple of seasons when we needed to be reminded of this truth, overall Hope has known the grace of generosity. This is evidenced by the many individuals who have been blessed via our benevolence ministry, to the $1,000,000 and counting that has flowed out to support Kingdom work around the world. My prayer is that we’ll reach $2,000,000 by our 25th Anniversary but also pay off our mortgage by our 20th. We currently owe around $480,000, down from the $1.3 million we started with in 2006. It is indeed more blessed to give than it is to receive!
Glocal – No, that is not a misspelling. It also isn’t a term you’ve heard very often. It refers to an approach to ministry that appreciates that God is active both locally and globally. Over the last 17 years Hope’s ministry has been glocal. We’ve sought to serve the communities immediately around us. We’ve also traveled to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and other states to join in on what He’s doing. We’ve also sent folks to Rwanda, Poland, Brazil, South Africa, China, and more. Imagine a young, small church getting to make a difference around the world.
Diversity – I am grateful that we have people from several different cultures who have found a home at Hope. Obviously, there is room for so many more. I have been praying that their presence at Hope will be like the 70 who went down into Egypt but left a great nation.
Relationships – Ultimately, great churches are made up of great people. Hope has been and is a great place to be because the people who He has led there make it a great place. Why? Because great people form great relationships that are loving, healthy and sanctifying. These last 17 years have happened because you all have let God flow through you into Hope.
This is some good “stuff” to celebrate and remember. But it also whets my appetite…the future is ripe to be full of all of this and more…because God is good all the time.
I hope you will be a part of it.