With December 25th and January 1st right upon us, I want to use a few bytes of digital space to combine a Christmas thought with some of MV’s 2019 highlights. As the above verse states, it is important to show gratitude for citizenship in a kingdom that cannot be shaken and, according to Gabriel’s words to Mary, “a kingdom that will have no end.” One would think that the increase of Christ’s government on earth (The Church) would mean no shakeup in that government. Ironically, in order for Christ’s kingdom to advance, there must be continual shakeup. It is not the kingdom that is shaken; it is the things that do not have eternal significance that are shaken. As I look back over some of the changes at Mountain View in 2019, I am both grateful and confident that the changes are positioning us to invest in things that can never be shaken. Here are a few that come to mind:
I am grateful for the hard work our 2020 Vision Team invested over a period of 15 months culminating in a series of important decisions in 2019. We encountered some very rough seas throughout those 15 months, but it was all worth it in order to hear God’s direction for the coming years. The vision team identified, presented and you approved three important action steps needed for our growth and health. First, we saw the need for a new vision statement that gave more teeth to God’s calling upon us. Secondly, we recommended expanding Charles’s responsibilities to include evangelism and missions, a clear weakness in Mountain View’s recent history. Thirdly, we agreed that a revised Church Council could strengthen the lines of communication and collaboration between our 40+ ministries at Mountain View. The Vision Team also acknowledged that tweaking staff responsibilities and creating new vision statements and councils will not, in and of themselves, bring new life to Mountain View. The most important changes always take place within our hearts.
I am grateful for the way God birthed a new church plant, Sojourn, in West Haven, Utah through the efforts of Jeff and Tonya Winters. They, along with several others from Mountain View, sensed God’s clear call to plant a new work in that part of the Wasatch Valley. It was an honor to commission these same individuals in two separate Sunday services in 2019. Following God is not without its hurdles and the step of faith has stretched both Mountain View and Sojourn. We have had to rely upon God to do what only He could do in releasing and planting. As one believer stated in a Members Meeting several months ago, “Where God guides God provides.”
I am grateful for the expansion of God’s kingdom in the form of those trusting Christ as their Savior in 2019. The waters of baptism have been much more active this year than last. In addition to those who have come to know Christ as Savior, we have also experienced the joy of seeing people added to our church body as Jesus leads Christians from across the nation to join the work of ministry here in Davis and Weber Counties. I am especially grateful for the way God has empowered Charles to help facilitate a new emphasis on evangelism and missions. His leadership will play a key factor in the years to come.
I am grateful for the special guest speakers God brought to Mountain View’s pulpit in 2019. Healthy growing churches always benefit by having a variety of gifted men called to expound God’s Word among them. Aside from the speaking gifts of Jeff and Charles and other men at MV, I’m grateful for these 2019 speakers, Wayne Vanderwier, Executive Director of Overseas Instructions in Counseling, Andrew Rogers, Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling at Boyce College in Louisville, KY, and Dave Paxton, Generations Pastor at FBC, Orange Park Florida. It was also a thrill for me to introduce you to one of my long time mentors, David Johnson, retired pastor of Church of the Open Door in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Each man brought a unique perspective to God’s Word in the kingdom, helping better equip us to be His servants in the Utah vineyard.
Lastly, I am grateful for the support you have given Charles, Jeff and me (as well as our families) in the past year. It is easy for pastors to hide their weak spots in the first couple of years in a church. In time however, those weak spots begin to show. With a combined tenure of 24 years between the three pastors at MV, our weak spots are often on full displayJ. Yet, you have graciously let us lead in spite of our faults. I know I speak for Jeff and Charles when I say that all of us are very thankful for your love and support in 2019. Your notes, emails, words of encouragement and especially your prayer support does not go without notice!
Though we are sure to face more shaking in 2020, it is a privilege to be a part of a church family that understands the need for change, believing that it accomplishes eternal good. May our God who is a consuming fire establish our every step in the coming New Year!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!