The Challenge: from a staff perspective

These are exciting days at UBC for many reasons, one of which certainly is the Challenge. We have been so blessed by God, and Mike has reminded us more than once, that we have more than enough resources to do what God has called us to do as the body of Christ at UBC. We have certainly been seeing this in the month of December as the body has given sacrificially with great joy and excitement in concerted efforts to meet all the short-term goals of the Challenge. (updates available at http://www.ubcfayetteville.org).

From a staff perspective and member of the Challenge Task Force, what is there not to be excited about? Think about it from a staff standpoint for a minute: a lay led initiative with the purpose of helping the church be good stewards of their resources both in the short-term and long-term while at the same time seeking to help the church further her ministry within the strategic location God has placed her. Exciting times indeed are ahead for UBC, and I am praying that with the Challenge comes a renewed sense of calling for each member of the body to engage in fresh ways in ministry. For many, this may mean rolling up their sleeves and being willing to get their hands dirty, for others it may mean some much needed and welcomed co-laborers, and still for others it may mean a new level of involvement in a ministry area.

I am praying we look back months and even years from now on the Challenge and remember it as one of those benchmark moments in the church. I pray this is a new encouragement for the Redeemed people of God to rise up and live out the faith they profess privately as well as corporately. I pray the Challenge is a catalyst for you and for me, UBC, to step up and lead out in the active fulfilling of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-10). This command to make disciples as we are going is not to be taken lightly and certainly extends far past the paid laborers. You will have the opportunity to impact your neighbors, coworkers, family members, and others for Christ in ways that I never will because of the relationship you have with them.

It seems that many are talking about the excitement around the Challenge, not only because we are meeting goals, but because we are trusting God to do what seems impossible. Why should we do any different when it comes to the daily operations of our lives and our relationships with others? It is nothing less than a miracle when God draws man to Himself. Scripture is clear that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). This took place while we were enemies of God, hostile to His desires, His ways, His righteousness, and then in a moment God awakens those who are His to see Him as He is and worship Him and reflect Him in the world. This is no less than a miracle and I am praying that in the days ahead our desire as a church is marked by our increased trust in God whether it be the Challenge, our willingness to serve the body, or our increased boldness to speak the Gospel to those God places in our paths.

To say the staff is encouraged is an understatement, but I am happy to say it anyway: we are encouraged by the laity rising up to do what the Lord desires for us, and we pray this will define us in the days ahead.

In Christ Alone,

Stephen Martin

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