Yesterday was Emmanuel Baptist Church’s second Open House Sunday! Guests were welcomed, the gospel was lovingly presented, and God worked in people’s hearts. It’s an incredible blessing to see God bless the faith of the EBC family. It’s appropriate to share the victory in hopes that your faith will be encouraged. As I reflect on the day, here are the things I thank God for…
1. The church family’s efforts of faith. On Wednesday evening well over 125 people came between 6pm and 7:15pm to distribute flyers around the region. Afterward we gathered for prayer and asked God to move. It was AWESOME to see our church family believe in the power of sowing seed!
2. The church family labored together for the faith. Throughout the week many people—teens and adults—participated in cleaning, painting, folding, calling, inviting, and serving. From grilling hamburgers to wrapping gifts, many servants of Christ engaged in the work of the ministry together with a spirit of unity and faith.
3. The staff led by example and with diligence. Congratulations to a hard-working team! They led, they prayed, they worked, they sacrificed, they exhausted themselves in service to the Lord and church family. Their fruit was evident today! It’s a real joy to serve with faithful laborers.
4. The church family invited friends and family. The testimonies were abundant! “My family came!” “My co-worker came!” “My neighbor came!” “Pastor, meet my friend!” “Pastor, my guest trusted Jesus as Saviour!” WOW! New England is sure responding to gracious, biblical Christianity.
5. God gave us approximately 35 visiting families in the service. More than a wonderful attendance, we were humbled to welcome so many guests, and to see many hearts soft towards the message of Jesus Christ. It reinforces recent studies that say that “57% of New Englanders are responsive towards a friend’s invitation to church.”
6. God worked in the hearts of at least 15 people who trusted Christ as Saviour. The response to the gospel was strong. It was a miracle to see so many guests choose salvation by faith!
7. Our young music team led in a well-rehearsed, wonderful package of worship! The choir, the trio, the guitar, the cello, the congregation energetically singing “Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King…”—it was all a dream come true! The spirit of the service was exceptional.
8. Nine new believers followed in biblical baptism. Seven of them were saved recently through the ministry of EBC, and they were SO excited to identify and celebrate their salvation through baptism. Thank you to the pastoral staff and follow-up teams who invested time in discipling these new believers toward this decision!
9. The church family celebrated the blessings! They clapped! In obedience to scripture… they clapped in agreement after we worshipped! They clapped in celebration of many who trusted Jesus! They clapped in celebration of each person who was baptized! They did exactly what God said to do: “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.” (Psalms 47:1) (For the record, clapping in this context is the farthest thing from carnal… it is absolutely worshipful and spiritual! When God changes lives, there’s something to clap about!) It’s exciting to see our church family enjoying church and enjoying God at work.
10. Guests stayed for lunch, connected with Christians, and LOVED the love they received at EBC. During the lunch, after greeting so many new people, I just looked around and rejoiced. All over the fellowship hall, new life was intersecting with mature believers. God’s people were serving. New Christians were experiencing an environment that cannot be found in the world—anywhere! (REAL LOVE!) I said to one of our pastoral staff, “This is as close to New Testament Church as you can possibly get!”
11. New believers went to the gift table to pick up their discipleship bags! This was new for us, but many of the people who trusted Christ came straight to the table in the lobby where they met smiling ladies who helped them fill out a decision card and pick up a new Bible and workbook. That was wonderful to see!
12. Guests came to the breakfast reception! This was another first for us—a pre-service reception for recent guests. It was great to meet them, speak with them in an un-rushed setting, and share more about the church with them. Thanks to all who made that happen!
13. The new sermon series began—”Off Script, What to do when God rewrites your life.” Over the next 11 weeks we will study biblical responses to hardships in life. It was a joy to hear stories of how people were encouraged today by God’s Word.
14. Abbie got saved! This one is more personal. Some time ago I wrote about a manager at a local Dunkin’ Donuts named Abbie. You can read that post here. At first I chickened out, but the next day, invited her to church. I was surprised when she later came to my table and said, “I’m going to come to your church.” Well, after several months of continued invites and kind exchanges as she handed me a coffee, she finally came today. She wept through much of the service, accepted Jesus as her Saviour, was SO glad that she did, and told me at lunch, “If I had known this church was like this, I would have come a long time ago!” WOW! That was just over the top!
The work has just begun! This week and in the coming months we will focus on following up on these new relationships, and hopefully see many more of our guests come to Jesus personally and begin growing in His grace..
The gospel is not dead. Jesus is alive. The Word is powerful. Lost hearts are hungry. And people respond to genuine love. I share this to say thank you to many friends who have expressed prayer support for our family and the EBC family. We want to give glory to God, and to hopefully encourage the faith of those serving or considering serving in New England. The harvest field is white!
Emmanuel Baptist Church is coming to life and celebrating new life! I’m humble to be a part of it, and want to LOUDLY say, it’s surely not me. It’s a powerful, living Saviour who is manifesting Himself in response to the faith-filled hearts of His people, as they seek His face and labor together with Him. I’m just thankful to be on the team and honored to preach the truth!
EBC family—CONGRATULATIONS! God is using you as a church family. Thank you for honoring Him, loving the gospel, loving each other, and loving the lost! It is truly an honor to serve with you… and I honestly believe that God is preparing us for a wonderful work in the decades to come.