Exciting Days at Emmanuel
This month my mind is swimming when I think on all the things God is doing through His church. We have seen several baptized last month, have commissioned a mission team, and begun a fundraising campaign for renovations. Mrs. Debbie Pipes reported to me that we have prepared meals for 81 of our preschool families this past year! I have gotten reports of teams going out to do personal evangelism here in town and seen several men’s accountability triads begin to meet. God has stirred some to salvation, some to witness, and others to give and serve. God is so good! I am just going to highlight a couple places where I pray we will see the Lord work in June.
Adding Elders to our By-Laws
For the past two years we have been introducing and laying the Biblical foundation for church leadership and oversight by a plurality of Elders. Emmanuel, like most Southern Baptist Churches, has historically had only one man serving in the office of pastor. Pastor would be the biblical equivalent to an elder. There have certainly been other men in the church that have served with distinction as deacons, teachers, and other areas of service that have met the biblical requirements of elders. They have had great influence in the church but had no formal responsibility or authority that would have distinguished them from others. Those who were called Elders in the New Testament churches were men who had shown themselves able to teach, examples of faithful service, and Godly husbands and leaders of their families. The basic qualifications for Elders can be found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-4. These passages teach us that the faithfulness and character of the man is more vital to his ministry than his abilities or giftedness. A survey of the Book of Acts also shows us the regular practice of the Apostles was to install multiple elders in churches. These were not men called from another location but primarily those discipled in that locale. I will be preaching on the rationale and benefit of following biblical church leadership practices over the next several weeks as we move toward our vote in our quarterly business meeting. I and our special committee who have helped us consider, pray, and plan for this step would love to answer any questions. I believe this change will help us be more faithful to the biblical model of church leadership and encourage and train others for ministry.
Expansion of our Sober-Living Ministry
We have seen souls saved and lives changed through the Bethesda Sober Living House since its establishment in December. Our residents have not only been walking in sobriety but have been growing as disciples and their connection to the Body of Christ! Last month we had the unexpected opportunity to rent the house directly behind our house on Mississippi Street. After meeting, praying, and seeing God’s providence at work, our steering committee voted to move forward with renting the house. This will nearly double our capacity and allow us to minister to four more men. Please continue to pray for Grant Garlington (house manager), our residents, and consider how the Lord might want you to serve through this ministry.
I have neglected to mention VBS, church sanctuary renovations, and the mission trip currently in progress. I trust these things will be emphasized in the staff articles. Please pray for Emmanuel and ask the Lord to help us glorify Him as we seek to be a growing community of disciples making disciples to the glory of God!