I used to be terrified of children. The younger the scarier, I thought. I was particularly terrified of babies. My fears centered on my lack of understanding of how to take care of children. How do you change a dirty diaper? How do you talk to them? What exactly are you supposed to do with them? So for a long time I just avoided them all together. Then, my wife and I had our son Yadier! Avoidance was no longer an option. My prayer that first year was that I would just keep my son alive until year two. And by God’s grace, and more than a little help from my wife, I did just that.
As my confidence in parenting grew and I learned a few things here and there, I decided this past year that I could do more than just keep him alive for another year. I could actually help him learn and grow. So, once again with the help of my wife, we began to do just that. We began to read the Bible with him every night before bedtime. We instituted more consistent discipline. I also taught him important things like how to operate an iPad, put balls down the front of his shirt, and how to kiss any girl upon request (you're welcome ladies)! My wife and I did all of this and so much more because we want our son to thrive, as he continues to grow and develop.
In church life, we too can often fall into a pattern of merely staying alive. We keep doing the same programs in the same way year after year, and we tell ourselves that this is who we are as a church. We look at all of the obstacles and issues going on in the life of the church, and we tell ourselves that once we get past all of that, then we will be able to move forward and be what God has called us to be. We establish routines and traditions that we become better known for, rather than for our passion to share the Gospel and disciple believers. This way of church life leads only to church survival...doing what we must do in order to live up to our own expectations as to what our church should be about and what we should be doing.
My hope and prayer is that we as a church would not be satisfied with merely surviving, but rather that we would seek to thrive in this next season here at MBC; that we would commit to developing Christ-like character in our individual lives so that everything we do as a church body reflects our Savior, Jesus Christ.
To that end, in this new year at MBC we will be offering several discipleship courses throughout the year that will help people develop and grow in Christ-likeness. These classes serve to benefit both individuals and the church as a whole. On Sunday afternoons, from 4:30-5:45, beginning February 8th we will be offering an 8-week course on Church Discipline. Now I know what you’re thinking...how much fun will that be to study church discipline! Church discipline is so important to get right though, because if it isn’t learned and done according to Scripture, it can cause an exponential amount of pain and suffering for years to come. Just as my wife and I discipline our son in the present for his (and our) benefit in the future, we as a church must know how to carry out correct biblical discipline for the sake of our church’s future as well. Then, in June we will begin a 6-week study called “Serving without Sinking.” This will help us find our joy in serving Christ within the church, rather than just keeping busy and ending up burned out.
In addition to these, other classes will be offered throughout the year. If you are interested in the class on Church Discipline contact the church office ahead of time so that we can order a book for you by the 8th of February. As we celebrate 40 years of ministry here at MBC in 2015, make this year one in which you thrive, rather than one in which you are just doing what is needed to survive. May God bless you and yours throughout 2015!