“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. … He who sits on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!'”- Rev 21:1,5
Our faith is a hopeful faith. Hope motivates us as we minister in a world that is so far removed from what it could be… as we serve in churches that struggle to be what they should be… as we ourselves fall short of what we are called to be. The IBC is not yet what we want it to be. But we do not lose hope because we know that the One who sits on the throne of heaven offers hope and help. The NEW is coming! Every life transformed by the Gospel is a life eternally changed. Every church is a trophy of God’s grace and brings the message of hope in Christ, an eternal hope. Christ is building His Church one person at a time. His Gospel never changes, but we must constantly seek to minister in new ways that enable us to present the Gospel most effectively because we are looking for “a new heaven and a new earth.” I view my role as General Secretary as leading the mission and vision of the IBC. I aim to lead in the areas of strategic thinking and planning and to lead our team of leaders in the Convention to think and act strategically. We do this prayerfully and with a view that we are utterly dependent on God and mutually dependent on one another. The reason I believe I can focus on this kind of leadership is that I work with a great team of leaders and because we can dare to hope for the future. For the past three years, our Strategy Team worked, with input from IBC pastors and other leaders, to consider God’s mission and vision for us, to identify core values for our work together, and then to seek to reshape our structure and strategy to accomplish what God is calling us to. That is a big assignment because it involves change, and change is never easy, especially when it involves many people. Having named our five core strategies that we believe will best enable us to accomplish the mission and vision God has for us, we needed to name directors or leaders for those five strategies. God has helped us. We made a good start at our Annual Convention Meeting in October as we discussed and made decisions about the future. We looked at a new budget that reflects our strategy. We looked at a new constitution and operations manual that reflect the structure and strategy, mission, vision, and core values. (You can see all this and more at our newly designed website, www.ibc-churches.org). Perhaps the greatest challenge is not behind us but before us. A part of that challenge is to communicate the directions and decisions we believe God is leading us toward in such a way that you – the IBC family – will decide to commit to play your part in working together to accomplish what cannot be accomplished by a few. As pastors, leaders, and church members we are all busy. We have to choose carefully and wisely the commitments we make. Each of us must decide where he or she can contribute best. At the October meeting, we heard from our core strategy directors. They have been praying and planning for the future. They shared some of their ideas about moving ahead. Now they need your prayers. They need your support. They need your personal involvement if we are to accomplish the mission and vision God has given us. They are building their teams, and you can be involved in some way. I believe God is calling us to have a greater impact locally where IBC churches are located and also globally. As international churches scattered in more than 25 countries of the world, with people from well more than a hundred countries represented, we have an opportunity to impact the world in a significant way. People with “many faces” are coming from “many places” with many different personal and spiritual backgrounds and need to hear and learn and worship and grow. Then they are going to the ends of the earth to live and work and minister. The world is at our doorsteps as international churches and military congregations. We are located in strategic places. As a family of churches, we believe the local church to be the “tip of the spear” as we battle to extend God’s kingdom and spread the Gospel. Strong, healthy, growing, global-minded churches led by strong, healthy, growing, global-minded leaders that are focused on God’s agenda and doing it together are the means God has chosen for Gospel penetration around the world. No one church can do it all or do it alone. Nor are we so prideful to think that we as a family of churches are the only or the best ones accomplishing this task of world evangelization. Rather we see ourselves as partners with many, many others around the world, each of us doing our part in cooperation with others and, more importantly, in step with God’s Spirit and His Word for the glory of the “One seated on the throne… who is making all things new.”
I look forward to being with you again this coming Sunday as we consider together, The Church – Back to the Future!
Yours in Christ,
General Secretary, IBC