The Big Picture

Each year when the time for the Thanksgiving breakfast rolls around, I am reminded of my first “official” event as your pastor. It was thirteen years ago during the week of Thanksgiving that I began my ministry with you, and the first “worship” service I led was the devotional service at that year’s Thanksgiving breakfast. My first Sunday was three days later on the first Sunday of Advent, and that evening was my first Christmas Family Night.
In the thirteen years since, our church has baptized 44 children and adults, confirmed 60 youth into the faith, hosted more than 18 weddings, received 104 new adult members, and lost 63 members to death. We have collected more than 19,000 jars of peanut butter for the food pantry, received more than $20,000 – 2 cents at a time – for our hunger offering, and given more than $500,000 to local mission.
Over these years, we have had many wonderful fellowship events and meaningful family retreats to Montreat. We have sustained an active Sunday school program and developed strong small group and trio-discipleship groups that help us grow in faith. We have grown our lay pastor program to include ten lay pastors who provide care to our homebound and aging members. We have cried together, laughed together, rejoiced and worshiped together.
Sometimes as we navigate the great demands of living in this complicated world, our focus can be narrowed to such a degree that we can miss the big picture. The only way not to miss it is to take some time to step out of the rush of life to reflect on the journey. When I step back to look at all that we have accomplished together on our journey, I have to give God the glory for it all. God has truly blessed our church in many ways and truly has blessed me with the privilege of serving alongside you over these years.
As we celebrate another Thanksgiving together, I just wanted to say thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives. As you gather around your Thanksgiving tables this year, I encourage you to take a step back, reflect on the journey, and give thanks as well.
May you each have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee