The last 2 1/2 days have been spent at our annual district assembly. Once a year, our denomination requires pastors and lay leaders to gather and give a report of what has happened in their churches over the past 12 months. It is a time of accountability and (hopefully) encouragement. It is a time to answer for what we have done with our gifts and recommit to serving Christ in our communities. Here is the report I have given for our faith community. Thank you for serving Christ & others along side of me.
It is a privilege to give my fourth report as the pastor of Plumb Line Community COTN. Our faith community experienced great things over the past year. We took in new members, increased our attendance, and saw people come to faith in Christ. We purchased, renovated, and dedicated a new permanent facility. And we established lasting relationships within our local community. As we look back over the last twelve months, we cannot help but be amazed at God’s hand upon all that has been accomplished.
Yet, the last year has not been without its struggles, and I wouldn’t want my colleagues to think PLCC lives on some easy street. We, like all of you, plowed 94” of snow. Our heat bills were doubled from the previous year, and we paid our budgets by the skin of our teeth. We experienced failures along-side our victories. Some people left our church and at times it felt like a revolving door.
However, this year I discovered what so many of my peers have articulated over the years; the statistics in our district journal do not capture the depth of our ministry. Our congregation reached out to the community through an egg hunt, school supply drive, Thanksgiving baskets, and Trunk or Treat. We held a neighborhood-wide corn roast by partnering with our local homeowners’ association. And we served coffee and lemonade to the soccer kids next door every Saturday.
Our congregation was just as active in individual lives as it was in the community. I watched our church rally around baby Hannah, who was born three months premature. They made meals, sent cards, and prayed for this family. Hannah celebrated her one year birthday, and this family is now an active part of our church. People in their 30s & 40s heard the Gospel for the first time, and new people starting inviting their friends. We witnessed atheists become theists, theists become Believers, and nominal Christians be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Four years ago I sat in this assembly and heard Dr. Porter’s challenge for us to plant more churches. I want to personally thank him for this challenge that changed my life and the lives of PLCC. I also want to extend a special thank you to the Church of the Nazarene for allowing me, a woman and a former atheist, the privilege of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Rev. JoAnn C. Bastien