The one thing enjoyable about being an Independent Baptist is just that, being independent. No not reclusive or progressive in thinking or action, but independent from a higher authority. No one calls you and tells you how the church is supposed to be run and what programs to implement in the church. “Oh, he doesn’t want anybody to tell him what to do (like you do)”, is what you just read, but not what I just wrote. This doesn’t meant that we shouldn’t have accountability or for someone to instruct here or there. What is enjoyable is the fact that our authority is from the Lord. The way that our churches are going to grow spiritually and physically comes straight from the throne. This is an awesome and sobering thing. Awesome because what goes on in our churches is exactly what God wants and sobering because we have to be listening at all times to His voice…and not get in the way of His will.
If I were to take a poll on what I must do in this church in order for it to be a real “NT church”, one would find (usually based on what Bible school was the instructor had attended) that I must have: Street preaching, Bus routes, RU, a greater focus on music, and the list goes on. “Oh, he doesn’t like all those ministries”, is what you just read, but again, not what I wrote. I would love to have those! And I am sure in the future some of those will be a part of this church…if the Lord wills. It has been said that you don’t come into a new church and start changing things around right away, but to give it time and be patient. This is the approach that is being taken here. With all that being said the one vital thing that is needed in a NT church is the Spirit to be in control (Mt.18:20).
The above verse is what God wants me to focus on at this moment. As I have been praying about what to do to get this church to grow, God has answered very clearly. In May He told me to do improvements on the building, June was preparation for Canvassing in July, August, and September. And canvassing we have been doing. In July we canvassed 847 houses in about 10+ days of going out. On each doorknob is hung a bag with a John & Romans, a nice tract, and a 3x5 invitation with information about the church on it. It is very quick paced, impersonal, and not a substitute for door-to-door visitation (which we will have in the future when God says), but has been a good way for people to get their feet wet in getting out the gospel. The reality of casting the bread/scripture upon the waters/mankind is that it takes time to see the fruit of it…but it will come. So far one lady has been faithfully attending the services.
In June we had our first revival meetings of length. From a Wednesday-Sunday we had Evangelist Steve Schwanke in. The services were attended pretty well, with a hunger to be fed. During one of the nights of the meetings we had one of our young boys, Stephen Enebrad, get saved. The meetings were recorded and should be up on our new website: www.lcvbc.com.
The west is not the east. Way to go Captain Obvious! One morning as Bro. Schwanke and I sat reading our Bibles by the river, we heard what sounded like cougars on the other side. The sound was distinct in nature and made us whip our heads around simultaneously to the noise. Later we heard it again, quite a bit louder and more intense. This time it was joined by another one. From the sounds rolling to us across the water, neither would have made a good mascot for the United Nations. “Steve, all you have to worry about is if you can run faster than the pastor!”
Also, recently I preached a message dealing with birds. In the message the Bald Eagle was illustrated a little bit. While swimming the river with my family a huge bird swooped down and glided to a branch thirty feet above our heads. It was our national bird! Having travelled for many years on the road I had seen them in nature and in captivity, but never so close. Needless to say it was a direct reminder to me to practice what I was preaching about birds.
Recently, my wonderful wife has been slaving over changing our church website around. So by the time you read this we should have something a little nicer with more commodities. Also, the church has a Facebook account where you can see some pictures as they are put on there. NOTE: This is not a Gipp family Facebook account.
Piano player – I will talk more about this in the next letter.
Rose – Her salvation…I mean pregnancy. The Fifth Gipplet is due sometime in February!
Rose – For patience, since she has me as her husband.
Me – Wisdom on moving forward in God’s time.
Church Growth - Another family joined the church in the month of June.