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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Invitation


Friends,

I write this as we are about to begin the month of my favorite phrase, NOVEMBERSHIP!  Please, bear with me.

Many years ago I left my home church because of frustration over the church as an institution over the church as a vehicle for service.  I was disenfranchised by the people whom I perceived as those who thought church attendance was only meant to be a blessing for themselves instead of this and a call to become a blessing to others.  I returned to church life, and eventually became a pastor because I came to believe the only way to change this truth was to become involved in the solution.  In my years of service, I have come to discover that not everyone has been institutionalized by the church- there remain devoted servants of God.  Even though my perception has changed, I still believe this is a problem the “Church” faces.  I have had so many misguided conversations about what the church needs to do to survive and not enough conversations about what God would have our local church do.

In my time as pastor of Crooked Creek Baptist (6 years and counting) I believe that we have begun to address this important issue.  Our ministry to hungry people in our community through Manna meals, our partnership with 2 separate communities worshiping in our building (Congolese refugees and a Hispanic community), our support and work in local and international missions is revealing a community of believers dedicated to making a difference by living the gospel message to declare the love of God in word AND deed. 

And I long to share this community with you.  I believe that you will be blessed by any association you have with us.  I believe that we have much to offer you and your family and I also believe that YOU have gifts and skills which will increase the diverse set of interests, services, and ministries we can offer.  It is why I am inviting you to join us for this special month of Novembership!  We will be talking about this call to serve, about the Presence of God in our lives, and worship as a response to this Presence. 

Now, I know for some of you I might be asking you to drive a distance.  Crooked Creek Baptist worships on Michigan Rd, just south of Kessler Blvd every Sunday at 10:45 a.m.  But I believe that the experience of worship, the power of our community, and the practiced love of God will be more valuable than the time and gasoline consumed to join us.  I also know that some of you might have an affiliation with another church- and I need to be clear that this letter is not an effort to derail your commitment to that community.

But if you, like myself, have become frustrated by the church as an institution and are seeking an opportunity to talk/think/ and practice faith as service and ministry then I invite you to come and check out the ministries of Crooked Creek Baptist.  If you have not been attending a church recently then I invite you to try it out again or for the first time.  I truly believe that we have a chance to completely transform the lives of so many people and you can help us in this process.  Not only will we be able to impact the lives of so many people in need but we will also ourselves be changed as we serve.

Friends, this is not just a letter to encourage you to come to church for this month where I use (and abuse) the phrase Novembership…  This is what I believe is the highest calling we have as human beings.  I hope you will consider what more you can be in your life by serving this Loving God.

 

Thanks,

 

Tom Bartley