Riverside Arlington Avenue Church of the Nazarene

To rightly and effectively minister where God has placed us, we must be able to honestly interpret our context... the state of things. And so, how do we interpret the signs or seasons our church faces today that inform the coming year. What is our reality looking at the church year we have just completed?

If we were to simply look at numbers as reported to the district, our attendance and our giving to ministry remains stable. Little has changed from the previous year to last year.  In light of the decline of the church in the western hemisphere and a stale global economy... stability can be interpreted as good. In light of our own 2 church’s challenges in the last six years we would declare stability as great!  We give a collective shout we cheer, “Woodstock Church of the Nazarene is still HERE!”

With all the challenges the global church and our local church faces in a rapidly changing world, our mission has not changed, our doctrine has not changed, our JOY... our joy in the Lord has not changed.

But we have experienced some change.  We have been praying.  Praying for God to guide us into His future for the ministry of church.  And God has been faithful to answer that prayer.

One of the clearest expressions of that prayer being answered has been Celebrate Recovery. Its launch as a ministry addition began with a year and half of prayer. It was seeded by an impression and the vision of Dan Ploth. That vision was confirmed by the church board.  The impression deepened and expanded to a leadership team that shared and planned for many months this last year. A deep and stable foundation of ministry was laid and prayed over, and Celebrate Recovery was launched.

Interestingly enough, we began this ministry with the heart to provide an opportunity for the healing of hurts for our community. But God is healing the hang-ups and habits of Woodstock Church of the Nazarene, first.  I would not have imagined the healing beginning in us first, but it makes sense... and reinforces that God is full of surprises.

So, while what we would call ‘growth’ by looking at numbers, both in attendance and financial giving have been consistent, or stable... or flat, it does NOT mean that we are not primed and ready for spiritual renewal.  Voicing the fact that we are not growing exponentially does NOT mean our future is dismal. By no means, because God is still inviting us into the future, full of His power and grace. It is what God does. He is redeeming and renewing every generation by the renewal of our hearts and a renewal of our strength.

God is always about doing NEW things!  The prophet Isaiah reminds us:

Isaiah 43:19

See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the

wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

It is up to us to recognize what God is doing among us and around us... and to respond accordingly. And... we must pray.  Continually and fervently, we must pray. Constantly searching as to what God would have us do.

Sometimes the change required will be incremental, repairing important things that are in disrepair.  It may also require us to swallow hard and eliminate aspects of our ministry here that are obsolete or not part of the new vision God has for our church.

With prayer, confidence and a spirit of thanksgiving we move forward with God. While God’s plan for us materializes we must maintain a willing spirit to join Him...WHEREVER and HOWEVER God chooses. Do you have courage for that kind of obedient response?

Connect With Us On: