I try not to boast. Of course, every now and again, I may mention one of the accomplishments of my wife or of our kids, but most of the time I try to keep it in check. I’ll ask your forgiveness ahead of time, then, for this bit of chest-thumping.

I have been blessed to be the pastor of Grace Fellowship since July 4, 2004. It seems like only yesterday that we had our first worship service in the Greene County High School theater. In the eleven and a half years since, I have witnessed God do a great work in the lives of so many men, women, and children. I have seen lives and families changed by the power of God through the ministry of church members. I’ve performed child dedications, baptisms, weddings, and more funerals than I’d like to count. Through it all, there has been an overwhelming contentment that I am where God wants me to be. With that being said, allow me to crow a bit…

This past Sunday, Grace Fellowship held its annual business meeting. In that meeting, we approved our 2016 budget. That budget represents the ministry priorities that we have for 2016. A good percentage of that budget goes toward local ministry and missions, as well as, our efforts to spread the message of Christ to our nation and the world. That’s cause enough for a little celebration, but there’s more!

Because of the generosity of our church family and with the open staff positions that we had during 2015, we were blessed to have additional monies in our general fund at the end of the year. After discussion and prayer, our Elder Council proposed an over-and-above gift to our international missions offering. In our annual meeting, the church voted unanimously to approve giving the gift.

You may be thinking, “big deal.” Well, I want you to know it IS a big deal. We could have found lots of uses for that money in the church itself. There were upgrades and upkeep that could be done. There were opportunities to upgrade our technology and equipment. Every ministry in the church could have come up with a list of “good things” we could have done with those funds. But we chose, as a church body, to give that money for the furtherance of the Gospel. We chose not to look in a mirror but our the window. We entrusted the money to the International Mission Board to assist in carrying out the Great Commission. We wanted to be part of something far bigger than ourselves.

Although I try not to boast, perhaps you will forgive this pastor’s pride in his flock. We may never be able to give a single gift like that again, but I pray that the Lord will make it possible for us to faithfully and generously continue to support the spread of the Gospel from our own backyard to the ends of the earth. I am grateful (and, yes, a bit proud) to be the pastor of Grace Fellowship. Ultimately, the praise goes upward to God who provides everything to us that we might share with Him in blessing others.

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