In Touch January 7, 2011
Posted on January 7, 2011 by under Touché,

 A Sunday I Have Missed

            In twenty five years of ministry I have rarely preached the second Sunday of January.  Our denomination (the RCA) has a clergy/spouse retreat called Freedom in Ministry on this date.  Cathy and I have made it to that retreat every year we could.  Cathy is off the planning committee for FIM and she is driving Sarah back to Hope College this weekend, so I am here and I am glad.

            There are two things that I have missed by not being here all these years:  ChristCare Sunday and the celebration of the baptism of Jesus.  These two foci are two of the most important in ministry for me. I am very glad that I am here this year.

            ChristCare Sunday:  A number of years ago, as Randy took over as Director of Spiritual Growth and it seemed guaranteed that he would be preaching on the second Sunday of January, we decided we would make this a day to focus on ChristCare, our small group ministry.  In 1999 we launched ChristCare ministry and I know it has been one of the key transformational ministries that have made a difference at HRC.  We have thirty ChristCare groups and over 300 people involved in these groups.

             Our vision is to be a church of small groups, not a church with small groups.  We still have a way to go to accomplish that, but I have seen significant life change happen again and again through these groups.  This is also the place that many find their primary support and care in the church.   This week, Liz Singh will share at the Gatherings service how ChristCare has changed her life as she and her husband have just become parents by welcoming Taeman, their son.  At the Foundations service, Jon Hander will share how ChristCare has connected him with this church and as Jon, Christine, Ashley and Austin move to Boston, he will reflect on the difference ChristCare has made for him.

            Mike Boyd, who has led the ministry for seven years, will be stepping down from his leadership role in ChristCare.  He has served well and made sure that we followed the model that was given to us by ChristCare.  We will be looking for God’s calling upon a new leader for the equipper team, and we are trusting that the ministry built around the four elements of Biblical Equipping, Community Building, Prayer and Worship and Missional Service will continue to move into new levels.

            The Baptism of Our Lord:  The Sunday after Epiphany we celebrate Jesus’ Baptism.  The power of the Father’s blessing at the beginning of Christ’s ministry when the voice is heard saying:  “This is my son the beloved in whom I am well pleased”, has become an existential verse of grace in my own life.  It has become one of the most important affirmations for me to live into the grace of God, rather than work into the grace of God.  It truly is a blessed verse for my life. I am glad that I am here this week to share this Sunday with you all. 

In His Grace,                              Taylor