I thank my God in all my remembrance of you …, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace…”
Life and ministry has cycles of work and rest, of busy and slightly-less-busy. As we come out of the summer season of ministry rest we look toward the Fall, a season filled with new activities, school, and resumed weekly ministries. In our experience, if we are not mindful we can easily enter the Fall already tired, and find ourselves stressed and overwhelmed by the time Christmas rolls along. We don’t want that. We want to be a healthy church where people worship weekly, serve out of love and not guilt, and maintain sufficient margins of rest in their lives. But we know this is easier said than done. We find ourselves easily pulled in a hundred different directions. We want to grow in our faith and rest in God’s love, but sometimes we do serve simply because there is a need and we seem to be the only ones able to step forward. Sometimes we can’t make it to church on Sunday and end up feeling guilty instead of taking a Sabbath rest on the Lord’s Day. As we look forward to the next year of ministry, we want to be aware of these tendencies in the culture of our community, and take active steps to mitigate them, allowing the Spirit to work in our hearts, through the nitty-gritty of our weekly schedule.
For this new year at TCC, we want to grow together in community. As Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians, we are “partners in the Gospel.” What does it actually mean to be partners in the Gospel? It means we share in the joys of ministry, we share in the celebration, the mourning, the praise and thanksgiving, the labor of love, and partake in feasting, resting, and fellowship together. What does Gospel partnership look like for you? Maybe you have shared in celebrating a prayer answered. Maybe you have seen a visible sign of God’s goodness to you, a friend, or family member. Celebrate it! Let us know in the comments how you have seen God’s grace and goodness. We want to celebrate with you.
Our Theme This Year
“One Mind, One Love, One Christ”
In his book, Evangelism, Mack Stiles (pastor of Urbil International Baptist Church in northern Iraq) makes a great case how we need to become a culture of evangelism as a church. At critical points in his little book (available upon request; a great book for lifegroups this fall!), he appeals to the message of Philippians. What Stiles is advocating is not yet another church program, but a culture shift in our hearts toward what the Gospel means in our own lives, the lives of our children and how we want to share that passion with others. What we need is a total mind shift – a radical re-orientation. Deep down, whether we are new to Christianity or not, all of us need the Gospel every day of our lives: the message that God through Jesus forgives our sins (our brokenness, rebellions, shortcomings). By sharing in the grace and forgiveness freely offered to us, together we become partners in the Gospel. The secret to this reality of authentic community and unity of purpose is about a mind shift. A shift from ourselves and our own self-centeredness to the mind of Christ, who “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:7). However, lest we think it’s about a passive life devoid of creative energy, Paul urges to take a comprehensive approach to this mindshift: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). Welcome to this journey toward one mind, one love, and one Christ. As we do so, we also share in this promise, “that he began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
Our Focus this Year
Beginning in October, on the first Sunday of each month we will worship together the same location, with adults and K-5 children and students beginning in the service as we have during the summer and splitting off into age-specific ministries at the greeting. Extending this practice into the school year reaches even more families who are away during the summer and is a visible reminder that we are one church, while retaining our wonderful age-specific ministry times. “First Sundays Together” will be times of celebration and unification as we highlight the children’s theme for the coming month as well as a special feature for not just families but the whole church that is relatable to people of all ages. We hope that these Sundays strengthen our identity as a church family and help us get to know one another and celebrate the amazing things God is doing in our lives.
Children’s Theme: Initiative – Seeing what needs to be done and doing it
Feature: Commission Children, Student, and Adult LIFE Group leaders
Children’s Theme: Contentment – Deciding to be okay with what you have
Feature: Operation Christmas Child Ministry
Children’s Theme: Community – Working together to do more than you can do alone
Feature: Children’s Bible Presentation
Children’s Theme: Compassion – Caring enough to do something about someone else’s need
Feature: Lessons and Carols
And to further unite and align us as a church, our 6th-12th grade students will be studying the book of Philippians this fall!
- We love our little ones too, and acknowledge that this age needs extra special attention, so infant and Pre-K LTA will run the entire 9:30 hour as normal. Consider volunteering to serve here on 1st Sundays so our regular LTA staff can join us for worship!
- Communion is moved to the 2nd Sunday October 2018 – June 2019
2. Intergenerational fellowship and discipleship
This is less of a ministry/program and more of a commitment to fostering relationships with people outside of our age group. We want to encourage new LIFE groups to form that span a variety of generations. We want to see parents serving alongside children. We want to empower older parents to connect with younger parents and share from their experience. We believe that strengthening relationships across generations will strengthen our church and our witness to the outside community.
Our 11am hour is a ripe opportunity for discipleship and teaching, and we are excited to offer classes and learning opportunities at that time for adults. We know that many at TCC want to go deeper into the Bible, even in addition to our Women’s and Men’s weekly Bible Studies, and want to learn how to read it for themselves. This Fall we’re offering a 4-week course on how to study the Bible, taught by Gordon-Conwell student and YWAM Alumn Jeridan Dyck, plus many other opportunities for growth.
Sept 30 – Welcome Brunch (12 pm)
October 14, 21, 28, November 4 – “How to Study the Bible” with Jeridan Dyck
October 28, November 4 – Membership Classes
November 18 – Missions Seminar with visiting Missionary Kevin Rideout
With a church of our size, the needs of day-to-day ministry can often overwhelm our volunteers. There are many jobs to be done, and many needs to be filled. In addition, we want to be a church that extends beyond our walls and serve our community. To do so most effectively, we want to streamline our service projects, partnering with two high-impact ministries to bless our community and contribute to the life of the church. We are concluding our partnership with Open Table in Maynard. Though this is an excellent ministry and we hope to see it flourish and thrive in the years to come, we want to devote more of our energy to two Christian ministries in Framingham, namely, Pearl Street Café and The Bridge House. Learn more about our local outreach at tccwayland.org/serve. We hope that everyone can join together in these great ministries to our community.
All of this needs to be built upon a foundation of prayer. Please join us in praying for the next ministry year, that Christ would be proclaimed as we strive side by side to advance the Gospel in Wayland and Metro West. Prayer is what unites us so that we can be of one mind as we work together.
Finally, we remind ourselves of the message of the Gospel which is not what we can do for God, but for what he has done for us in Christ. We become partakers of grace not because we earn any status or favor with God, but because he has partaken grace with us first.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
May the Grace of Jesus be with your spirit,
Tom, Kyle, Debbie, Gail, Cheryl and Adam
Your TCC Ministry Staff