Oak Forest United Methodist Church
Saturday, October 21, 2017
To Know Christ, To Grow in Christ, To Share Christ

Pastor's Message

October 2017

Where Are We Going?

“I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. They are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them.”- Isaiah 42:16

One of most important things we do as a church is to vision, a.k.a. dream. As much as I would like to force God’s hand on the vision for Oak Forest, God’s doesn’t work that way. Vision is a gift and it is not something that only one person receives. Usually when someone has a vision for the church it is echoed through other people. A vision is different than a mission which can be quite confusing. George Barna defines it well for us: “Vision for ministry is a clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God to His chosen servants and is based on an accurate understanding of God, self, and circumstances” (The Power of Vision by George Barna). It the question we ask ourselves as a church, “why do we exist?” Just to unpack this a little, Barna means that God is not going to ask us something that goes against the basic principles of who God is, nor is God going to lead us into something that defies our identity as the people of God. With that said, our vision is “To Know Christ, To Grow in Christ, and to Share Christ.” 

The mission of a church “relates to ministry objectives, while vision deals with a ministry’s direction and uniqueness” (Ibid.) It’s the how of our vision statement….how are we going to know Christ, grow in Christ, and share Christ?” Oak Forest has worked with the conference over the last year to dream and strategize to implement specific ministry objectives that will help us live into the vision of Oak Forest. Darren, Rene Wilt, and the MAP team (Ministry Action Plan), which consisted of several lay people of the church, worked for a year to develop a plan. We hope to have everything developed so we can celebrate and work towards God’s preferred future for Oak Forest.

I want to celebrate the just a few ways we are living into that dream now:

Ben is our Director of Children and Youth and while he only started a few weeks ago, the youth have some amazing things planned this year. Stacey, his wife, is also working to assist in this ministry. Beyond the big trips that are planned, we have solid God-lead leadership with our youth and children. They are not only our future but the children are the NOW of Oak Forest.

Mary Catherine Middleton is now the Congregational Care Associate. She, along with the pastor, visits and cares for the congregation, especially when they are going through a tough time. We have a team of visitors who have commit to care for the homebound and those who are sick.

Sunday School is growing with a new women’s Sunday school class. We are working to renew our focus on the education of all our people and to equip the classrooms and teachers. Sunday school is an important part of the education of all Christians of all ages. We encourage everyone to be a part.

K-life and the Wednesday night Communion Service are growing. The children are having a blast learning about Jesus in a safe and nurturing environment. They have all gotten new Bibles are are learning how to use their Bibles. We gave over 100 Bibles to our children and youth, and that number continues to grow weekly!!

That is just a small portion of the amazing ministries that are growing. Are we living into our vision? Are we living as a church with a purpose! Absolutely!! Let us celebrate and continue to listen to God with boldness and joy.

---- Pastor Julie