Letter From Pastor Jon
Dear Christ Church Family,
The Christian life is intended to be a fountain of gratitude and praise. In the opening verses of Psalm 34 David writes, “I will bless the LORD at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!” (Ps. 34:1-3)
It is our profound privilege as a church to join this chorus of praise, and to glorify our Lord’s name together. In this valley of thistles and tears, we live by faith, and not by sight. Therefore, like the Psalmist, we bless the LORD at all times. Even in the dark and difficult seasons of life we keep on singing. We praise God continually. “Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (V. 8b)
The following is a brief pastoral letter to inform and encourage you in the Lord.
A Season of Blessing and Encouragement
God’s Spirit is always at work through His appointed means of grace (ie Word, sacraments, and prayer). They are His appointed means to create, strengthen, and nourish the faith of His people. However, there are particular seasons of church life when God chooses to use His ordinary means of grace in extraordinary ways. I cannot help but think that we are in one of those seasons now.
Over the last few months, I have observed in our congregation an increasing and uncommon zeal for knowing God, and growing in deeper fellowship with one another in the church. There is a growing zeal to reach the unchurched. Many are sharing the gospel and inviting friends and neighbors to church. Parents are exhibiting greater intentionality regarding family worship, catechism, and Lord’s Day observance. Attendance to both morning and evening worship services is growing (We have been experiencing record attendances recently). Moreover, we have been averaging 25-28 at the Tuesday evening MUSC & Twenty Somethings Bible study in our home, and our men’s, women’s, teenage girl’s, and kid’s weekly/monthly studies have been a tremendous blessing to many. And let’s not forget our monthly home groups. We’ve been seeing those grow as well. I could go on!
There is a friendliness in our church that is uncommon as well, which I believe is fueled by a love for Christ and the gospel of grace. On Monday I received a very encouraging email from a visitor who worshipped with us this past Lord’s Day morning. He wrote that he and his family, after being warmly greeted by four different family units from our church, “walked away feeling loved … and felt like family rather than strangers.” He added that “the worship was also a great experience of comfort, conviction, encouragement, and hope … [and] we left rejoicing that in Christ we have everything.”
Dear ones, God is working through His appointed means of grace. He is also working, by His Spirit, in and through you, the members of Christ Church. Be encouraged! Also, be alert. For the devil never rests. He is always seeking to undermine and destroy vibrant gospel ministry. Would you redouble your prayers for Christ Church, the church officers, and for me, your pastor?
Assistant Pastor Search: In December of last year we released our associate pastor, Rev. Michael Bauer, to plant a PCA Church in Farmville, VA. Let us continue to earnestly pray for Pastor Michael, Sarah, and the kids as they begin their new and exciting church planting ministry. Many have asked if we’ve begun a search for a new assistant. The answer is yes and no. The session has determined that the best present course of action is to conduct a “soft search” for a few months (informally receiving potential candidates from sister churches and friends of Christ Church), and then to conduct a formal search in late summer/early fall.
Please pray for God’s wisdom, leading, and direction as we search for a new assistant pastor for Christ Church. We are praying for a godly man who possesses specific gifts for outreach, visitor connection and follow up, shepherding, administration, and preaching/teaching.
Facility Search: In case you haven’t noticed, we are quickly outgrowing our current space. The nurseries and classrooms are full to overflowing, and the sanctuary is running out of room on Sunday mornings. I was informed that we had an attendance of 230-240 in the sanctuary this past Lord’s Day morning (we have 300 chairs!). The good news is that the Lord is blessing the ministry of His Word, and we are growing. The bad news is that we are running out of space.
We have two more years on our (five year) lease, with a three year option to extend. Two weeks ago we approached the owner to see if he would be willing to consider a lease-purchase option, so that we could acquire the entire building and grow our footprint by more than double. But he is not interested, and we do not believe it is in our best interest to do further renovations on a building that we do not own. So what now? The session has taken a deep breath and agreed to start informally looking around at property and land in Mount Pleasant (south of the IOP Connector) and downtown Charleston. Our current location is simply not going to be a long term option for Christ Church, unless the owner changes his mind and agrees to a potential sale of the property.
We are not in a rush at the moment, but realize that we probably need to do something within the next couple of years. In addition, please keep in mind that no decisions on property will ever be made without the approval of our congregation, per the Book of Church Order.
Again, please pray for wisdom, leading, and direction as it concerns a facility that will meet Christ Church’s growing needs for ministry in the future
First Quarter Budget Shortfall
The Lord has always provided for the financial needs of Christ Church Presbyterian. He has been so good to us! From the first day of the church plant (almost ten years ago!) until now, our heavenly Father has provided through the faithful giving of our members, regular-attenders, and friends.
Recently, however, we have experienced a $16,000 shortfall after the first quarter. I wanted to make this known in case you are behind in your giving or may be led to give above and beyond the tithe in the coming weeks. And let us remember that we can never out-give God. Never.
Summer Mission Trip | Change of Plans
We currently have 13-14 members of Christ Church who have committed to a summer mission trip. Due to newly heightened travel alerts by the State Department, along with strict covid restrictions (vaccine and indoor mask requirements), we decided not to send a team to Honduras this summer. However, we are currently exploring the possibility of sending the team to another location where there is a Reformed church plant, and opportunities for evangelism, training, church encouragement, and an overseas mission experience. Please pray for wisdom and resources. Stay tuned for more information.
Give Thanks to the LORD
Dearest members and friends of Christ Church, there is so much to be thankful for. Would you magnify the Lord with me? Would you join me in giving thanks to our blessed triune God for saving us from our wretched sins through faith in Jesus Christ? Would you join me in prayer, boldly approaching the throne of grace for help in those things listed above? Would you pray for our families who are hurting, and who could use encouragement? Would you pray for our covenant children? Would you recommit yourself to Lord’s Day activities at Christ Church, from the prayer meeting to evening worship? Would you pray about serving in the nursery or on the welcome team? Would you pray for our congregation to mature in Christ, and grow in compassion for the unchurched? Let’s pray big prayers to our sovereign God. Remember, He wants to hear our prayers more than we want to pray them.
May our lives truly be a fountain of gratitude, prayer, and praise.
Your Pastor, Servant, and Friend,