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January - Matthew 9:9

Casting a Vision

Dear Faithful Followers,

Happy New Year! 2020 is here. This will be a great year to really focus on our Vision of the Church. Your Board of Directors has already started this thought process. We have a working Mission Statement: FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS: Reaching Out, Educating, and Nurturing through the Gospel. Our vision should be focusing on creating these Faithful Followers by intentionally reaching out, educating, and nurturing our members, our visitors, and our community.

Before we jump into the New Year, let’s take one last look at 2019. My hope is that you had a wonderful Christmas and was able to celebrate Christ’s birth with family, friends, and your Church. Was this the best Christmas you ever had? Or what was your favorite Christmas of all time? My most memorable Christmas was not my favorite, but it is one I’ll remember forever: my 8th-grade year. A few days before Christmas, I became ill and had excruciating pain in my stomach. A trip to the ER and a few hours later, my appendix was removed. I can still remember quite clearly laying in the hospital bed (I even got my own room) as I rested and recovered, that I was worried I would be in the hospital for Christmas! However, I was lucky enough to go home on Christmas Eve--although I didn’t get to rest because my parents brought me to Church as the School Choir was singing (remember when we would even have the City of Westland videotape the kids choir to rebroadcast it)? Thank God, this year was not as eventful as that day, but it was still great being with family, sharing stories and laughs.

Back to 2020!

What will this year hold for St. Matthew? Do you ever think about what God has planned for us? Or even question why He has not sent the Pastor He has picked for us? There can be many different reasons for that, but in the end, it is all in His time. He still wants us to grow, learn, or become something first. We all need to be asking ourselves, "What's one thing I can do this month to help the health and growth of St. Matthew?" So many of you do so much already, and there is the old adage that 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work. We shouldn’t be a simple statistic. Many of the needs around our Church include taking care of the building, maintenance and upkeep. We have a great group of volunteers that climb ladders and scaffolding to change light bulbs or remove poison ivy as they do yard work. We are even talking with CEF to see how they can help us with our roof leaks and boiler issues. CEF is also giving a grant to keep students safe this year and we are working on that as well.

If you didn’t have the time to read the long letter from last month recapping the book, “Becoming a Welcoming Church,” let me wrap it up in a concluding summary. If St. Matthew wants to grow or stay alive, we must get new people to come to Church. There are two ways to do this: 1) Go out (Reaching Out) to the people in our community and share the Word; 2) Be an inviting place (Nurturing) that people would want to come to. We need to make changes. These changes won’t save anyone, but it will make it easier for someone who is new to Church to visit and come back for more visits. The more we can get someone into Church, the more they will get to hear the Word (Educating). Then the Holy Spirit does all the work. If there is no one in the pews, it doesn’t matter how Biblical your words are, no one will hear them.

Each month this year I will continue to keep everyone up-to-date with what is going on around St. Matthew, and will hopefully make you think about different issues that affect the Church as a whole and how we can do more at St. Matthew. Be prepared for next month’s letter—the theme is Stewardship.

Serving the Master Teacher,

Dan Burk