As I have contemplated this past year and decade, I’ve quickly become grateful for all that God has done in and through Jubilee. It’s a lot, so I’ve broken it down into four parts: 1) People Impact, 2) What that Impact Has Produced in Us, 3) Leadership Training, and 4) Our Future.
Saved and Added
As we concluded 1999, Jubilee averaged 66 people in our gatherings. We now gather 330 worshippers in St. Louis City and Wentzville combined (about 400 including Union). My gratitude goes well beyond the numbers because each one of us has a story. It is a story of God’s grace and redemption. It is a story of how we were once strung out, addicted, on the verge of divorce, broken, lonely, without purpose or plan, with no hope and no future—but God’s grace saved us. We were once a God-less people, but now we are the people of God! It is with His grace in full view that we gather together for celebratory worship and to be equipped so that we can worship Him by serving, giving and telling others of His wonderful works. (I really, really would like to hear your specific story. I would be blessed and encouraged if you took the time to email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can read it.)
Saved and Sent
Now Jubilee’s people-impact goes well beyond our current gathering of 400. Over this past decade, dozens of people have felt the call of God to go elsewhere and we have had the pleasure of sending them. I think about people like the Largents and the Eftychious who in 2005 went to help plant Jubilee Church (Atlanta, GA) led by Carl Herrington. Jonathan and Leigh-Anne Eftychiou are a leading couple. Jonathan was on staff with us and oversaw worship. Both of them are classically trained musicians and were a huge blessing. Dave and Tasha Largent are a spunky couple who are very evangelistic. It was rare that they were not bringing someone with them on Sunday to hear the gospel. There have been several others, including Sam and Marlene Poe, who were with Jubilee in the beginning. Sam and Marlene moved to Tacoma, WA in 2006 to help plant New Community Church led by Bo Noonan (Bo will be speaking at Mobilise USA 2010 and to Jubilee on January 17). Sam Poe is highly prophetic and plays a huge role in our Newfrontiers family of churches to preach the gospel in nations who have yet to hear of Jesus Christ. He spearheaded a charge to develop a system of communicating the Bible through storytelling in order to reach oral learners who represent 70% of the earth’s population. Sending people is bittersweet. I love these people and wish they were still here, but I am encouraged how God is using them and feel honored that we were able to play a role in their lives.
Over the past decade, we have preached the gospel to hundreds of people who may not have stuck with us, but I am confident we impacted their life. Sometimes you reap where you do not sow, and sometimes you sow where you do not reap. When this life is over, we will not be judged by the results that we see but by the results that God sees. Our primary call as a church is to be witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For some the gospel is the power of God but for most it is the stench of death. Although we want to see people converted, it is outside our abilities to convert them. Our part is to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to do all the heavy lifting. However, we have seen literally hundreds of people make commitments to Christ and have baptized more than a hundred of them. There is nothing more encouraging for me as a pastor than to lead someone to Jesus or to hear that someone else has. It is why we do what we do.
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