Pastoral Letter | June 19
Dearest Christ Church Family,
Who would have thought that 2020 would begin in such a fashion. Since the new year we’ve experienced a deadly pandemic, a mandated quarantine, an economic recession, ubiquitous protests over racial injustice, and destructive riots throughout every major American city. These social upheavals have disrupted our lives and schedules in myriad ways. It hasn’t been easy. But aren’t we reminded that “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Prov. 16:9)? Nothing happens by chance. Our sovereign God is on his throne, and he does all that pleases him (Ps. 115:3). While mysterious, God’s providence is good. He is working out all things for the spiritual benefit of his elect (Rom. 8:28). Whatever challenges we may face, the Lord is with us, and he is sanctifying us by his Spirit. Christ is a Good Shepherd. He not only makes us lie down in the green pastures and beside the still waters to restore our souls; he accompanies us through the thorn-infested valleys of this life to provide comfort and strength. God’s steadfast love and mercy are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness! Indeed, we cry out with the Psalmist: “The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble” (Ps. 37:39).
During the lockdown we worked hard to create and cultivate “online” community for Christ Church, and provide our congregation with weekly encouragement and resources for discipleship. We accomplished this through weekly online ministries such as livestream “Kids’ Story Time w/ Pastor Jon”, MUSC & Young Adults Zoom Bible Study, livestream mid-week devotionals from the Psalms, congregational prayer meetings on Zoom (with devotionals led by guest ministers), Zoom men’s and women’s Bible studies, and full Lord’s Day morning and evening worship services via livestream. In addition to these ministries, we’ve sought to personally reach out to our members through calls, FaceTime, texts, emails, and personal visits. It has been an extraordinarily busy — and encouraging — time in ministry. The Christ Church staff have also been working on a new and improved website for Christ Church, including a professional video welcoming visitors to come worship with us! I am exceedingly grateful for all those who have labored so diligently to establish new ministries and keep regular ministries of Christ Church going during this unprecedented season. Your labor is not in vain. The Lord is at work. He is building his church.
New Location | 486 Wando Park Blvd.
We are exceedingly thrilled to move into our newly “renovated” location in the early fall. Over the next three months the 8,000 sq ft. leased facility will be gutted and completely outfitted with new classrooms, nurseries, offices, bathrooms, fellowship space, and a beautiful new 350-seat sanctuary. Issues related to parking requirements and building permits slowed the process to a crawl since January— like a turtle walking through a sea of peanut butter! But thankfully, the parking issues have been resolved and the building permits are in hand. Our contractor will begin the demolition phase soon, and we’ve been told that the entire renovation will take approximately fourteen weeks. God-willing, we will be in our new location in September!
Christ Church | Building Renovation Campaign
Last spring we held a fundraising / pledge campaign to purchase the building that we are presently leasing. Most of you made generous pledges towards the campaign. However, since we did not end up purchasing the building, those pledges became defunct. On behalf of the session and diaconate of Christ Church, I am asking you to prayerfully consider giving all or a generous portion of your previous pledge towards the present renovation campaign. In doing so you will be investing in the future ministry, mission, and growth of Christ Church Presbyterian. Our newly renovated church home — in a strategic and central location — will play a significant role in our establishment and growth as a congregation. If you are in a position to give in this way, above and beyond your regular tithe, please consider supporting the Christ Church renovation project.
The cost of the renovation, including new chairs, sound system, nursery equipment, pulpit furniture, piano, etc., is estimated to be between $400-425k. We currently have $360k in the CCP building fund, but this will likely be used, in part, to help with the cost of the monthly lease. Like many churches, giving has been down over the past few months, and so we are asking you to consider giving towards the renovation fund to protect our current reserves. My hope and prayer is that over the next few weeks we will raise $425,000 towards the renovation so as to mitigate our use of current reserve funds. Will you help us reach this goal? There may be some reading this appeal who are not members, but who have been blessed and encouraged by the ministry of Christ Church and feel compelled to give. Please know that we would receive your contributions with the deepest gratitude.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I probably don’t have to tell you that Christ Church is at a critical juncture in our short seven year history, and right now we have a wonderful and strategic opportunity to get established in a main artery of the Charleston lowcountry. Please pray about what you will give towards the renovation project. Checks may be written to Christ Church Presbyterian (memo: Building Fund) and sent to P.O. Box 2246, Mount Pleasant, SC 29465. If you would like to give stocks or a financial gift through wire transfer please contact Mr. Andrew Godwin, our church treasurer at email@example.com.
Christ Church | Prayer Requests
In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle Paul exhorts them to “continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2). Our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against wicked and unseen spiritual forces. Therefore, we “keep watch” and fight with spiritual weapons of warfare. We fight with earnest prayer and thankful hearts! There is much to pray about these days, as I enumerated at the outset of this letter. But our prayers are not only for our national crises. No, the need for prayer comes much closer to home. Ron Jacobs begins chemotherapy this week. Evelyn Wear is in the midst of heartbreaking grief. Kelly Hester’s brother will soon be with the Lord, right on the heels of her father’s death. Steve Wilkins is recovering from a recent heart attack. Pray for our pregnant mothers, Aly Biles, Camden Batte, and Anne Elizabeth Cope. Pray for the Ellis and Batte families who have both recently finished their fellowships and relocated to new positions in Louisiana and Mississippi. Pray for those who are unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 layoffs. Pray for our missionaries, and pray for the leaders of Christ Church. Ask God to use Christ Church to reach the lost with the good news of grace in Jesus Christ, and to make mature disciples. Devote yourself to “continue steadfastly in prayer,” and watch the Lord carry out his glorious will.
I would also humbly request prayer for me and my family as we get away for some rest. While I am away, Pastor Michael will lead, alongside the session of elders and the deacons. Also, in addition to the elders, Rev. Robert Berry, our pastor of shepherding care, will be available if you have any shepherding needs.
What an unspeakable privilege it is to be a member of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ! Seriously! Jesus, the eternal Son of God, gave his sinless life on the cursed tree to purchase our redemption, and to make us members of his church. Does this not thrill your soul? Christ loves and dwells with his bride, the church. Wilhemus ‘a Brakel states: “They who belong to the true church ought to rejoice, exclaiming, ‘Christ is here!’ for Christ only dwells in the true church. Only there, by His Spirit, is He engaged in the work of conversion, consolation, and sanctification. ‘For there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life forevermore” (Ps. 133). [‘a Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. II, 3]. Though our present times are full of trials, uncertainty, and hardship, may we not lose heart. God holds his church in his loving hands, and he will never let us go. If this good news doesn’t fuel Christ-centered worship, service, and mission, nothing will. Soli Deo Gloria!
Your Pastor, Servant, and Friend,