Our church has much more going for it than “nickels and noses.” Last month I wrote about what ”the numbers” can tell us about 2014 but we all know that the numbers only tell a part of the story. And, for the record, it is the things that are hardest to count, that make me the most excited about the future of Trinity church.
The obvious place to start is with Perry Helping Perry (PHP). The food pantry that is housed in our building here at Trinity is not technically “ours” but many of the volunteers that run the PHP food pantry are Trinity folk and much of the funding comes from our generous congregation. A year or two ago, 30 to 40 families visited here in a normal month and we had nearly a hundred at Christmas. But the numbers have grown every year and this year we have sometimes seen nearly a hundred families served in “off” months and some months have served well over a hundred families with distributions exceeding 150 boxes of food. In addition, Ronnie Wendell connected us to The Society of St. Andrew and brought several loads of potatoes. Dozens of volunteers (again, mostly from Trinity) showed up to bag all those potatoes and there were enough for all of our PHP clients as well as supplying several other food pantries. Clearly the need in our neighborhood is growing but Trinity and the other churches that support PHP have risen to the challenge.
I would suppose that not everyone notices, but we have visitors here almost every week. This is a big deal. I have served churches where we had four or five visitors in a year. Trinity has that many every month, sometimes in a single week. Even better, some of those visitors are choosing to attend here regularly. All these things suggest that, together, we are doing something right.
Along with the story of our visitors is the story of our children. Not long ago, we often had only one or two children come forward for the children’s message. Now, it isn’t uncommon for them to fill an entire pew and overflow into a second. I believe that the addition of Children’s church has been a major factor in allowing this to happen. But this success also presents a challenge. We now have so many children staying for Sunday school, that we will soon need to add another classroom and more teachers. Please be in prayer about this and consider whether God might be calling you to help out.
Finally, there are two more reasons that I am excited for the future of Trinity church. The first is that I have to say “No.” Our members, church family and volunteers are excited and want to do more. It is not unusual for someone to approach me with a new idea for ministry or outreach. But as exciting (and as good) as the ideas are, often times, we just don’t have the volunteers to pull them off (yet). Much of what we do is supported by the same pool of volunteers, and even though there are some great opportunities, I have to say “no” or “not yet” just because those same people cannot be expected to do more than they are already doing. Although I would love to be able to do everything, sometimes we need to think strategically and do what is best for the mission. The good news is that our volunteers are thinking, dreaming, and want to do more. I can’t tell you how encouraging that is to me.
But, I also get to say “Yes.” We are doing some things this year that we’ve never done before. We’re also doing some things differently than we’ve done them before. We have people who want to do new things and who aren’t already overloaded. To them I get to say “Yes” and that is exciting. We also have some people who stepped up and said they would try new things. Some of those new things might work and some might not, but knowing that members of our Trinity family are willing to stretch themselves and try new things is a really big deal.
There is no way that any of these things can be counted the way that we count “nickels and noses.” But these things have more to do with the growth of Trinity church and pressing forward for the mission of Jesus Christ than “the numbers” would ever suggest. It is the people of Trinity church, their attitude, love and desire to serve Jesus Christ that make me proud to be a member of this church family.
I am excited about what is happening here and am excited to see where God is leading us.
You should be too.
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