This year has been a whirlwind. I’m sure for you, personally, it was a chaotic year at least in some ways.
It’s easy as a pastor to get discouraged, and there were certainly times over this past year where I was discouraged. We shut down church completely for about 6 weeks, and we still have not started our regular small group ministry back up. Wednesday nights are non-existent, except for student ministry. We aren’t really able to visit those in the hospital, due to coronavirus restrictions.
But– if we spent just a short bit of time asking God to bring to our minds what he did this year– I think we’d be surprised. Some are more subtle– and some are “smaller-scale” than maybe we’re used to. But God was at work in 2020 nonetheless!
What God Did in 2020
Here are a small sampling of the wonderful things God did in our church in 2020:
- The Word of God: Before we get to things that are more measurable, we cannot forget perhaps the most important thing. We heard from God’s Word every Sunday in English, Spanish, and Zo/Burmese. We looked at nearly every verse in Jonah, Titus, Exodus 1-14, and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. We also had two shorter series on the family and the the nature of the Church!
- Online & Livestreaming: God was kind in his providence: we made significant investments into online ministry and live-streaming just before the pandemic hit. This has proven to be incredibly beneficial!
- Virtual VBS: We had over 100 kids involved in Virtual VBS from multiple countries! We also had almost every one of these kids jump into the ZOOM small groups that happened right after each VBS night.
- Candy Hunt: God allowed us to “host” between 700-800 children and students (not including parents) for our North Arlington Candy Hunt! We also had over 100 first-time guests the next morning, when we worshipped all together, and shared the gospel. We followed up with multiple who requested follow-up with a pastor, and saw one dad come to faith in Christ!
- Kids Ministry: We had two kids believe upon Jesus and baptized this year! We’ve also been able to start Children’s Church back up and see more than 40 already jumping into this ministry each week.
- Student Ministry: We saw God save a student during Digital Youth Camp, and saw 2 more students jump into weekly 1-on-1 discipleship relationships.
- Feeding Teachers & others: We were able to feed the teachers of FOUR elementary schools we partner with, and also the entire Lamar High School Marching Band!
- Prison Inmate Ministry: What started with one inmate, has now grown to twelve inmates in two different prisons. We send them a note of encouragement, and a manuscript of my sermon every week. We also send study Bibles and any other resources they may need!
- New Members: We’ve had well over 100 new members join our church in the last 18 months, and have 25-30 new regular attenders join us in the last two months. Many of these will be jumping into our “Lamar 101” class in January.
- Pastoral Conversations: We have had, almost every week, people reaching out during a Sunday service to talk with a pastor. Many of these have been with people joining in online, not yet part of our church! Many of these conversations and counseling have been about salvation, depression & anxiety, and other spiritual and physical needs. We are grateful that God is using us for his glory!
- A New Roof: We’ve had an upcoming need to replace our roof hanging over our heads for a few years. This year, due to a few hailstorms, our insurance covered a complete replacement of every roof on our campus here at Lamar Baptist Church. This included gutters. This was a $750,000 claim. We are so grateful!
2020 looked different. Drastically so. This is true not only of church ministry, but for our ministry as individual followers of Jesus. But before we’re tempted to think that God was somehow limited by the circumstances of 2020, let’s be sure to take a moment and ponder the good that has come out of this year. If anything, let’s rely on Christ more than ever before.
God is at work, even in 2020. We just have to have “ears that hear, eyes that see” (Proverbs 20:12).