To say that we live in times of rapid change may be the very height of understatement. Our culture, and its norms, is changing at an unprecedented rate, making it increasingly challenging for the church to remain relevant—and faithful—in proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, in a way that will bring about the expansion of that kingdom.
It's something that the pastors and elders have been thinking and praying about in earnest over the last year. We have been meeting regularly, reviewing our core convictions, looking closely at the ministries of our church family, revisiting our priorities, discussing the changing state of our city and mission field, and praying for direction on how to steward all that God has placed within our care and responsibility.
These efforts have affirmed and strengthened our resolve to fulfill an unchanging purpose and mission: Calvary exists to make more and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ. Further, we will hold fast to our values of each Calvary family member wholly committed, in every area of life, to ‘living on mission,’ in the confident hope that we will help believers and not-yet-believers ‘move one step closer to the right’ toward Jesus and his kingdom.
Thus, we want to be clear: What we are about has not changed. Nor will it.
But— we do believe that how we fulfill our mission (and values) will change. For we have further resolved that God is calling us to do all we can to position Calvary in a way that she will be a growing and healthy outpost of the kingdom, for the glory of God and the joy of the people of our city, and beyond. In order for that to happen, how we do things must always be flexible in response to the culture around us. This has long been a foundational tenet in the field of missions, and applies to us, just as much as to someone serving in China, Morocco, or Indonesia.
So we invite you to a special service—“We Are Calvary”—on Sunday, 14 October, where our leadership team will share some initial changes coming to Calvary. And let’s be honest right here: we understand that while some people love change, change isn’t easy for most of us. Therefore, it will be helpful for some of you to understand this isn’t a massive overhaul of who we are, but steps toward better aligning our resources to our mission, values, and priorities to position us for growth and health.
I have a picture on my study wall of the first and second pastors of this church, who had a vision over 135 years ago, to reach St. Cloud and this area for Jesus. I keep it there to remind me that the reason we are here, is because they were there. And while so much has changed both inside and outside our church over 13 decades, I am confident that all who have been a part of this place could stand together and say, “We Are Calvary.”
Filled with hope for our future,
on behalf of all our pastors and elders,
Preparation For Holy Week
If you were here on Sunday, then you know that we will not be leaving Paul’s letter to the Philippians as the text for our Good Friday and Easter Sunday services.
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
First, it is Palm Sunday. Which means it is the beginning of a week of remembering the most important events in the history of the world: the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, his last meal with his disciples, his death at the hands of sinful men as the result of a sham sentence in a kangaroo court, his burial by those who loved him, and his resurrection from the dead just three days later. All of it for the salvation and rescue of the world.
One of the dangers of reading the stories of those followers of Jesus that we find in the Bible is we can treat them as if they are almost super-human.
In the unsearchable counsel of God's will for the world, he has so designed that salvation will come through the church, that body of people gathered by the power of his Holy Spirit.
The Whole Story: Ephesians-Week Two
I attempted to show in the sermon this past Sunday that Paul offers us two anchor points for our lives, and upon which our lives depend.
Why Should I Read The Bible?
Most days I love waking up, coffeeing up, praying up, and then gobbling up the Bible. But not every day. I’m just like you in that. I need reminding about why the Bible — God’s Whole Story — is an important part of my day, for every other part of my day.