Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pastoral Report 2009

The Annual Pastoral Report
Pastor Matt Mitchell
Year in Review: 2008

Dear Church Family,

10 years! It’s hard to believe, but in 2008, we completed and celebrated a full decade of ministry partnership together. I am so blessed to have been your pastor since 1998. It is a joy to serve with you in the Lord’s work!

2008 was a growing year for us, both spiritually and numerically. Numerically speaking, we averaged 130 people in worship (a 5.6% increase from 2007). We took on 4 new members: Charlene Ball, Kay McGivney-Knaul, Tanya Harned, and John Bodner. And a number of new families began to worship with us. It’s hard to keep track of everybody–and that’s a good thing!

We grew spiritually, as well. God worked in our hearts to love Him more and make us more like Him!

Pastoral Ministry

As your pastor, I concentrate on three main ministry emphases: preaching the Word, equipping the church for ministry, and shepherding the flock.

Preach the Word

It was a fruitful year for preaching. We had four main sermon series. In the Winter and Spring, we studied the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit: “The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.” In June, we celebrated the ten year anniversary of the beginning of my ministry here with three special sermons called “Ten Things.” In the Summer, we considered “Applying the Gospel: the Message of Titus” and for the whole Fall, we studied (and memorized!) 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 under the title, “Learning to Love.”

We also had special guest preachers: Brian Rathbun, Blair Murray, Ralph Magill, Phil Alessi, Tim McGill, Mark Petras, Dave Young, Steve Miller, and Tim McIntosh.

Equip the Saints

It’s my job to help our ministry leaders work effectively. It was a joy to work with our 2008 Leadership Board, chaired by Blair Murray and with our devoted part-time staff, Holly Lockwood and Cindy Green.

I had the privilege of working with each of our ministries, committees, and leaders to help them develop towards their ministry potential. Their reports fill the rest of this Annual Report, and I’m pleased with their efforts and progress.

I was also able to be useful in ministry in the Allegheny District and on the national EFCA level. I continue to lead a regional pastor’s group and have taken over leadership of the district Constitutions and Credentials Board. I got to attend the EFCA National Leadership Conference in June, participate in the historic vote to affirm a new Statement of Faith, and write up a report of the conference for EFCA Today–“More Than a Vote.” I am now also serving on an editorial consultants team for EFCA Today, offering my two cents worth on each issue before it goes to print.

Shepherd the Flock

My favorite part of ministry is caring for people. It’s a precious privilege to visit you in your homes, have you over to our place, talk to you in the foyer or on the phone, stop by your hospital room, pray for your family, and provide a biblical counsel. Thank you for letting me into your lives. I don’t take that privilege lightly.

To grow in this area of shepherding, I took two intense weeks of doctoral-level classes with the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF) in Philadelphia. Thank you for allowing me the time to study and for praying me through the course-work!

Report on Ministry Goals for 2008

Last year at this time, we set six specific goals to reach for in 2008.

1. Five Active Link Groups.

We didn’t achieve this goal, though we did grow from two groups to three and each of our groups have grown in size. Perhaps this year we’ll see that goal reached.

2. Two Servant Outreach Events.

We did reach out to our community in 2008. We offered a Bike Rodeo at the West Branch Community Days, created Outreach Prayer Cards to send with love to outsiders, and hosted a Wild Game Dinner and a Christmas Tea outreach. We still need more work in this area.

3. Building an Allegheny District Church Planting Prayer and Support Team with 30 Adults Praying and Raising $300/month.

At one point last year, we were averaging over $300/month for this ministry. And we have at least 20 adults who have committed to pray. More is needed!

4. Totally Eliminating Our Debt.

Done within the first quarter! Praise the Lord!

5. Developing a Master-Plan for the Next Three Years.

This hasn’t really even begun. We are waiting for the leadership re-structuring to be completed and comfortable before we get underway with this goal.

6. Leadership Restructuring Completed and Approved.

Done! We approved the new structure in July, found leaders to populate the new structure throughout the Fall, and are now implementing it. It’s going well so far! Praise the Lord!

Vision & Goals: Growing in Love in 2009

Our current emphasis on learning to love will continue into the new year:

Love for God

As a church, we exist to glorify God by bringing people into a LOVE relationship with Jesus Christ.

We are loved with an unfathomable, amazing love and are called to love the Lord in return (Ephesians 3:16-19, Matthew 22:36-40).

Everything we do as a church must be done from a heart of love for God.

Love for Each Other

Our new elder board will be studying 1 Corinthians 13 again and applying its principles to leadership. We need to lead with love. Pray for us as we begin to functionalize the leadership structure changes that we outlined last year.

Our Link Groups are all studying the life of Jesus and learning to love like He does. We invite everybody to read along with us in the book Love Walked Among Us.

Our Connection Team needs re-tooled for effective ministry of care for one another.

Love for Our Community

I believe that God is calling us to reach out beyond our walls to serve our community. We need to reach lost people with the Gospel and care for our neighbors in tangible ways.

Other Goals

Holly Lockwood will be resigning this Spring as her family is moving away. We will miss her and need to pray in her replacement.

Our new Facilities Team will be evaluating needs around the building and working on plans for new projects, including the sound/video project we began last year.

It’s been a great 10+ years. I’m looking forward to seeing what God does in the next 10+ years! He is so good to us.

In His Grip,
Pastor Matt


Matt, This is awesome. I praise God for you and your family. Your faithfulness to our King and the example you live in front of us!

Love in Christ


Thanks, Derek.

You are an encouragement to us, as well.