I don't have dreams. I have goals. And when I meet one, it's on to the next. -Harvey Specter in Suits
Wow! What a year! Before we push hard into 2014, I just wanted to take a few moments to remind us of what's been accomplished in 2013, as well as communicate what's up ahead for 2014. There are two main focuses here at MD: serving outside the body of Christ, and serving inside the body of Christ. We've got a lot accomplished and a lot planned in both of these aspects, so let's take a look!
Outside the Body
Glassboro Family Success Center and Boys & Girls Club- These two programs were among the first community resources we plugged ourselves into. Justin had a job at the GFSC for a few months, and built some key relationships there. We now have Nathan and Amy on the board of the GFSC. They are helping to strategically care for those hurting in our community. Emily Senski is championing our presence in the Boys and Girls club by helping them communicate more efficiently, organize events, and care for hurting, broken children in the community.
Glassboro's Memorial Day Parade- This was our "debut," meaning, our first real exposure to the community at large. We marched along with our banners and t-shirts, handing out invitations, candy, and pens to the thousands of Glassboro-ers lining the streets. We learned a TON from this event, namely always have enough freebies on hand. We quickly ran out of everything! At the tail end of the parade, several MDers had the honor of helping to fold the community's 50ft American flag. What a day!
Glassboro Market Place Events- We were able to get 3 tents at many of the town's Marketplace events. We offered free resources, kid's activities, and a changing station to provide some privacy for moms with little ones. Over the course of the summer we handed out dozens of counseling resources, hundreds of flyers, and thousands of ballon animals to attendees. That was only half of the opportunity! We also go there early and left late to help other vendors set up and tear down for the day. This gave us a lot of inroads and opportunities to minister to the vendors on a personal level rather than some of the hit-and-run tactics we had to employ throughout the day. We received several letters from event coordinators thanking us for our love for the community and willingness to serve. Lord willing, we'll be seeing some of them in church soon!
Adopted Families for Christmas- Last year MD helped one family in need have a great Christmas. This year, we sent each Covenant Community Group into the stores to provide thousands of dollars worth of gifts to 4 different families in need. Through our connection with the Glassboro Family Success Center, we had needy families hand selected from throughout our local community to be ministered to by our covenant community this Christmas season.
Within the Body
The Membership Process and Church Leadership Training- At launch, we had 1 elder and no members. To date, we have had 1 discipleship training, 2 leadership training events with a third on the way, and about 15 people accepted as members. Praise God! We look for exciting things happening in these regards in 2014, but more on that in a section to come ;-)
Covenant Community Group Expansion- At the start of the year, we only had one CCG that met on Wednesdays. We now have pushed out to four total community groups, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays! As we continue to grow and shape our CCGs, we'll be able to connect with the teaching and each other personally on deeper levels, as well as with our community in missional and incarnation ways. None of that face value stuff!
Generous Giving- We don't have all the financial info gathered from 2013 yet, but we're not in the negative. Not close. Praise God for that! As we grow this year, we will spend more money than last. We rely on generous gifts every week to meet our financial needs. With no paid staff, 100% of what was given in 2013 went straight to the streets! Thanks!
Wrapping It Up
We had a blast of a year! I remember those crazy few weeks of nonstop marketplace events, and thank God we have a little break! But breaks don't mean we stop being productive. As we are still adjusting to 2014, here are some few things to be thinking/praying/doing:
Give generously and consistently- One thing we learned in 2013 is that when there's an emergency need, we're quick to meet it, but our week to week giving fluctuates greatly. This makes it difficult project how much we'll have at any given time, and hinders event planning and purchasing. If you could be praying on how you can give generously and consistently in 2014, it would be such a blessing.
Consider membership- As EJ recently mentioned, we're wrapping up round 1 of MD members! Over the next few weeks, we'll welcome around 15 people into a purposeful covenant with MD as their home base! If you don't have a home church or bounce between 2 or 3 churches on a Sunday, consider membership. If you end up committing somewhere other than MD, we ask you pour your heart into your home church and invest in them heavily. If not, ask us for membership papers and read what a covenant with MD looks like for you.
Consider leadership roles- We've gone through 3 leadership training sessions that outline the church offices and their role in the church. As we wrap up some of the membership process, consider taking on a leadership role. Can you serve as a deacon or deaconness? Are you willing? Men, do you desire the office of elder? How is God shaping your place at Missio Dei?
Consider branching out- MD is a part of many different community organizations currently. If you arent' involved in any of them, why not? Talk to Nathan or Amy about serving that the Family Success Center. Chat with Emily Senski about the Boys and Girls Club. Let John or Pat know you want to get involved with Choices of the Heart. Branch out a little.
Now what? What plate will you step up to in 2014? Let's go!
[image "new year" by Sally Mahoney]