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    Connections - Entries from November 2014

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    ThuThursdayNovNovember20th2014 Q&A with Mary Bolander
    byConnections Staff Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Many of you have been faithfully praying for Mary Bolander as she has been preparing to join Pioneers and take on a strategic role in advancing the gospel among the nations. In this interview, we learn about what's on the horizon for Mary and how we can continue to partner with her in prayer as she moves to her new home and dives into her new responsibilities.

    Q: What do the next few weeks have in store for you?

    Mary: I will move to Orlando the day after Thanksgiving, November 28. After the 16-hour drive, I will have the weekend and then my first day of work will be the first week of December. I will be back in Lafayette for Christmas and then hit the ground running at Pioneers after January 1. 

    Q: How have you seen God at work during your support-raising process?

    Mary: God has been beyond faithful during this whole process. It was intimidating and honestly scary having to raise support to work stateside. But through it all, I saw God changing my heart and the hearts of my friends and family. He changed my heart to see the privilege I have in inviting others to join me in this and walk in obedience with me. He also changed the hearts of those around me to see their resources as completely God-given and the beauty of giving generously to get the gospel to the nations. 

    Q: What are you most excited about as you step into this new chapter of life and ministry?

    Mary: I am so excited to have an active part in getting the gospel to the unreached. At Pioneers, that is our heartbeat and it is something I have become very passionate about. I am also excited to continue to pursue using medicine within church planting and recruiting just the right medical professionals to join our teams to better get the gospel to communities. There will be difficult moments of that I am sure, but God has been faithful and I know He will continue to be through this opportunity as well. 

    Q: How can your Kossuth family remember you in prayer in the coming months?

    Mary: The main prayer need at the moment is just the logistics and finances that go into moving cross country. Praise God I have a house that I will be living in with incredible godly roommates, but that's about all I have figured out. I also would love prayer for wisdom to find a church that I can serve at and be fed well. And finally for a community to join. I need community and friends to thrive best, so I pray that God will direct me to the right people asap! 

    I also wanted to take a minute and thank the church family for their overwhelming love and support of me not just this last year and half but my whole life. Everyone surrounded my family with love and support when mom was sick, as well as doing whatever they could to help me during this process. I know for a fact I could not have done it without the prayers of so many! God has been so gracious and for that I am so grateful! 

    WedWednesdayNovNovember19th2014 5 Values for the Next Season
    byAbraham Cremeens and Drew Humphrey Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

     

    Now that we are a couple weeks into our congregational discussion of the upcoming leadership transition at Kossuth, one of the questions you might be asking is, "Then what?" On a number of occasions, we have explained that the lead elder change is "Phase 1" of our strategic plan for the future. If that's the case, though, what will "Phase 2" look like?

    During a combined Connections hour this past Sunday, the two of us had the privilege of providing an introductory glimpse at the vision that will drive the multi-year plan which we hope to launch next September (a.k.a. "Phase 2"). Our presentation revolved around what we're calling "5 Values for the Next Season at Kossuth." 

    Ultimately, these values are the fruit of our development of the "4 Commitments" document a year ago and our Spirit-led thinking about how we can better manifest those commitments of Word, Worship, Community, and Mission in the life of our church. These values don't stand on their own, nor are they meant to be a comprehensive picture of what future ministry at Kossuth will look like. Rather, these values depend upon those ideals for the local church that we have discerned from the Scriptures, and they represent a key opportunity for growth and impact as we strive to align ourselves more closely with those ideals. Simply put, these values are focused priorities for a focused season of ministry.

    So here's what we've done: we've taken the congregational input gathered during the CommonVision meetings, the many hours of prayerful interaction with the current elders about our future directions, and the growing dreams that have been coming together in our own hearts during the past four years, and we've put it all together to arrive at these five values for the next season of ministry fruitfulness at Kossuth:

    Established churches with a rich history and heritage—like Kossuth—must constantly be on guard against the temptation to hunker down and become an insider’s club. By championing accessibility, we hope that we can resist that temptation. We long to be a church whose doors are open wide to any whom God might bring along our path. If we truly believe that we are ambassadors of the best news in the world—the message that God saves hopeless sinners—then we have every reason to remove the obstacles that might get in the way of people hearing it. Because we have an inclusive gospel that invites and receives, we want to be a church that invites and receives.

    Kossuth Street Baptist Church has a long and rich history in the neighborhood that surrounds it. Many of our members have invested heavily into those who live nearby, and we want to follow their example by making neighborliness a church-wide priority. Our vision is that Kossuth might become a go-to in the neighborhood, that others would recognize our church as a place where they can be helped and encouraged, that local neighborhood associations would see us as a partner, that our neighbors would view us as their ally and advocate. In short, we want our authentic love for Jesus Christ to drive an authentic love for this city.

    The only thing more exciting than watching a life that's been transformed by the gospel is watching a life that's been transformed by the gospel contributing toward the transformation of someone else's life. That's multiplication. It's what happens when someone turns to Christ in saving faith, announces their new allegiance in baptism, begins to grow in holiness and maturity, and then starts finding ways to point others to Jesus, as well. We've made some significant progress in this area, but more work remains to be done. We long to see the gospel bear fruit and grow. In other words, we want to grow our church by growing the Church.

    Effective ministry is the result of effective equipping. This little maxim is certainly true: "As the leadership, so the church." For a long time, Kossuth has been devoted to the important task of leadership development. We've raised up missionaries and pastors, deacons and Care Group leaders, children's workers and women's ministry leaders. But we don't want to rest on past success. We have a vision to go from good to great and from great to greater. We believe that we have a wonderful opportunity in the next season at Kossuth to become more intentional in how we train and disciple future leaders. Great leaders will make for a great church.

    If you’re going to take a road trip, mapping out your route is good, but it isn’t enough. You also need gas in your tank. You need fuel to propel you to your destination. As Christians, grace is our fuel. We delight in the tremendous biblical paradox that only by resting in God’s acceptance of us apart from works that we can we truly be zealous and productive in good works. So even though we are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work, we must recognize that if we labor from any motivation other than grace, we might as well try to drive across the country in a car without gas. Only grace can adequately sustain our dreams of diligent, earnest, generous kingdom living.

    Hopefully you resonate with these five values. Hopefully this vision leaves you hungry for more, eager to dive into the next season that God has prepared for us. But even if you're still a bit apprehensive about how all of this will look, be assured of the fact that Jesus is our Good Shepherd, our church belongs to him, and we can trust him to grow us, stretch us, and mobilize us to fulfill his commission.

    We can't wait to see what God has in store!

    ThuThursdayNovNovember13th2014 Prepare for Impact
    byAbraham Cremeens Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Check out this video introduction to the upcoming Christmas Impact 2014. Then check out the information page to find out about the full range of opportunities in front of us in the coming weeks.

    ThuThursdayNovNovember6th2014 Join a Team!
    byDrew Humphrey Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Do me a favor. Think for a moment about some of the happiest moments you've experienced in your life. What comes to mind? What memories come rushing back from the past? Take a moment to visualize the moments and try to remember everything you possibly can about them. When were they? Where did they take place? What made them so memorable and joyous?

    Now take a moment and ask yourself this question: How many of these moments involved other people?

    Even if you're the most introverted, reclusive person in the world, I would wager that few (if any) of your happiest moments were experienced in complete solitude. There's just something powerful about being in the company of others that sweetens life, multiplies joys, and awakens us to the simple pleasures of even the most mundane moments.

    As humans (and especially as Christians) we're made for community. We thrive when we are in close fellowship with others. And although this principle has implications for many, many aspects of the Christian life, one particular area where we can often overlook its importance is in service. 

    There's no getting around the fact that it can be hard to serve in the local church. It's draining emotionally. It's tiring physically. It's challenging spiritually. And let's be honest: it usually doesn't pay very well. 

    But I'm convinced that service doesn't have to be as hard as we sometimes make it. We don't have to be left feeling like we've been chewed up and spit out every time we raise our hands to volunteer for a need or opportunity. There's a better way. And the better way is this: to serve alongside others in close partnership.

    When we serve together, we serve better. We last longer, we stay focused, and we work harder. That's why I'm excited about the new teaching team model that we're introducing for preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school Sunday morning classes at Kossuth. It reflects the fact that there's strength in numbers, and it allows faithful volunteers to link arms with other faithful volunteers for the sake of the gospel's advance.

    Even if you've never taught before, will you take a moment to learn more about these new teaching teams and prayerfully consider joining one? Imagine how exciting it could be not only to help instruct young minds from Scripture, but to do it while growing in your relationships with others! All you need to know (including a registration form) is available right here:

    LEARN MORE ABOUT KOSSUTH'S NEW TEACHING TEAMS

    Join us as we strive side by side for the gospel, and who knows: maybe the next time someone asks you about your favorite memories, you'll think of ministering to 2nd graders alongside the dear brothers and sisters who labored with you on your teaching team!

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