A few weeks ago, I told my wife, Sandy, that the question I dread the most every year when December rolls around is, “What do you want for Christmas.” I say that because, there’s not a single thing that I need and, at my age, most things I want are a little pricey. So I do my best to put together a simple and “relatively” inexpensive Christmas wish list for my family. In the end, I’m never disappointed because the gifts I receive, no matter what they are, reflect love and value. But I’ve got to tell you, I sometimes labor over that Christmas wish list.
That’s not the case when the New Year rolls around. I’m one of those guys who looks at each New Year as a new opportunity and it’s easy for me to come up with a New Year’s Wish List for myself, my family and my church. And since this blog post will be read, primarily by my church family, let me share my New Year’s Wish List for Mount Pleasant.
1. A greater commitment to weekend worship.
This past Wednesday, in our monthly Pastor/Director/Coordinator meeting, I was sharing with my staff the reality that we live in a day and age when even committed Christians are attending church less often. The result is, you can be reaching more people overall but your attendance may be flat or growing more slowly than you hoped simply because the person who used to come once a week now comes a few times a month, etc. This is a bothersome trend for a variety of reasons but the bottom line is oftentimes a step away from church is a step away from growing more deeply in your faith, serving Christ by serving others, reaching new people, etc. I’ve seen this reality over the past 36 years and I’ve seen this trend right here at Mount Pleasant. Life is busy…busier today than at any other time in history (at least my 58 years of history). But a commitment to spend 1 hour and 5 minutes a week in corporate worship can benefit your life in so many ways. I read recently that most unchurched people became that way simply because they got out of the habit of going to church. That’s what happens when our lives get filled with other things. So…make weekend worship a priority in 2017. NOTE: Our new Sunday morning service schedule (8:45 – 10:00 – 11:30) is to make room for more, part of that is you attending more often.
2. Get “engaged.”
I want you to come to church, but even more than that, I want you to become “engaged.” This is something that our Connections Pastor, Fred Meadows, and his Assistant, Amber Clark, work hard to do. The best way to become engaged is to join our mission by serving. We offer opportunities that range from weekly service to special events throughout the year. The bottom line is we need your gifts and talents to help enhance our ministry.
3. Say “yes” to community by joining a Home Group.
At Mount Pleasant we are committed to something called “relational discipleship.” Relational discipleship is simply the opportunity to grow in community with other believers. This happens in our Home Groups where 8 to 14 people gather each week for study, prayer and fellowship. Our Home Group study time is based on a deeper look at the weekend message as the Home Group leader (facilitator) guides a time of discussion/discovery based on questions and thoughts related to our sermon notes. Home Groups provide the opportunity for ongoing prayer and support related to the needs of the group members, and there is always a rich time of fellowship. NOTE: Sandy and I love our Home Group! There’s nothing you could do in 2017 to give you a better level of connectedness at Mount Pleasant than to join a Home Group. Say “yes” to community. You can learn more about this by contacting Andrew Philbeck or Amber Clark at or
4. Embrace generosity.
I am deeply committed to the Biblical teaching of stewardship. We have a great responsibility before God to be good stewards (managers) of everything He has entrusted to us. This includes the money God has entrusted to us. A huge part of stewarding God’s money is embracing the need and opportunity for generosity. I’m thankful to be able to do that in a variety of ways, but I’m particularly thankful to be able to do it through the ministry of Mount Pleasant Christian Church. I love, believe in and support the vision and mission of Mount Pleasant and so consistent, faithful and generous financial support of this ministry is a commitment Sandy and I embrace. In this budget year July 2016-June 2017, we will give over 1.7 million dollars away to ministry partners. This is “line-item” giving in our budget. In addition, we will give away hundreds of thousands of dollars in other “special” gifts and our weekly participation in Change For a Dollar. There is no shortage of need. That’s one of the many reasons why my wish list includes the commitment to embrace generosity. I don’t want to see our ministry or our opportunities compromised by a lack of funds. This past November, I didn’t preach on financial stewardship the way I normally do. Instead, I challenged you for 4 weeks to live with an “All In” commitment to Christ and His church, that included financial support. If you are not regularly and generously supporting the ministry of Mount Pleasant, I would encourage you to begin right now. Take a 90 Day Giving Challenge. For 90 days, commit to giving like you’ve never given before and see what the result will be for your life. Let’s put ourselves in a position to embrace the many needs that come our way by being generous.
I could list more, but I’m going to stop here. Thank you, Mount Pleasant family, for the privilege of being your pastor. My family has been deeply blessed by all of you and we look forward to seeing what God will do in the future. I pray you’ll look at my New Year’s Wish List and see yourself and ways that you can serve and be served as we trust God together.