Celebrating God’s Faithfulness in 2014
As most of us do this time of year, I’ve spent some time reflecting on 2014. As I’ve pondered this past year, these verses from Psalm 111 came to mind:
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name! (Psalm 111:7–9)
These verses capture a couple of truths that I want to celebrate with you.
First, in light of the truth we celebrated last week through the birth of Jesus Christ in Psalm 111:9 (“He sent redemption to his people”), let us remember why we exist. Sovereign Grace exists to make people aware of redemption through proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ all over the world. Isn’t it remarkable that we, as a family of churches, get to participate in gospel ministry together as we strive side by side in making Jesus known!
Second, over the last year, “the works of his hands have been faithful and just” (Psalm 111:7). God has been kind to faithfully work in our family of churches in 2014. I want you to consider with me just some of the faithful works of God in Sovereign Grace this past year.
- Thanks to Jeff Purswell’s faithful labors, ten men graduated from our Pastors College in June. Two of those men are being equipped to plant churches in New England and another graduate is being trained for cross-cultural missions work in Southeast Asia.
- Thanks to Ian McConnell’s leadership, a national Church Planting Group is formed and actively supporting the nine churches we planted or replanted in the last couple of years. Through these church planting and replanting efforts, people are hearing the gospel and being saved. For example, I was at New Covenant Church in Arnold, MD three weeks ago and the Sr. Pastor, Ed O’Mara, told me about two people who were recently converted because we replanted that church.
- Thanks to Bob Kauflin’s faithful labors, we have released our most successful music project ever in Prepare Him Room, which has sold 10,000 CD’s and seems to be having a broad reach and influence.
- Because of the faithful labors of our pastors, our new polity is functioning in a way that seems to be strengthening us both relationally and in the mission that we share. Polity can sound boring, but I consistently hear from our pastors how much they are enjoying working with other men in their regions in strengthening our churches and advancing our mission.
- Thanks to Craig Cabaniss’s leadership, our seven Regional Leaders are faithfully working in our new structure in a way that is strengthening our shared partnership. For example, I recently participated in a Northeast Region Small Group Leaders and Ministry Team Leaders Conference where a number of members of our churches told me how much they benefitted from the conference saying, “This is why I’m a part of Sovereign Grace.”
- God was faithful to bless our Pastors Conference in October. It seemed to serve our pastors and give us forward momentum in gospel mission. I was recently on the phone with Greg Dirnberger, Sr. Pastor of Emmaus Road Church in Sioux Falls, SD, who told me that the conference was the spiritual highlight of the year for him.
- During this past year three churches have been adopted: Community of Grace in Buffalo, NY; Grace Life Fellowship in Hastings, NE; and Sovereign Grace Church in LaGrange, GA. We also have at least six churches actively in the adoption process that we hope to adopt in the coming year.
- Because of Tommy Hill’s and Mark Donovan’s faithful work, we have received another clean audit for the last fiscal year, which is important in maintaining the trust of our donors.
- God was kind to add Rich Richardson to our Leadership Team to strengthen our efforts to be a global family of churches who advance the gospel all over the world. Rich is planning a “Pacific Rim” retreat in 2015 that will involve churches in Australia, South Korea, and the Philippines. We are praying that this work leads to the establishment of a Pacific Rim region!
- God has been faithful to work through the labors of Carlos Contreras where several churches in Mexico and Latin America have interest in being formally adopted into Sovereign Grace. Carlos will also lead his third Spanish-speaking Pastors Conference in Juarez this coming year.
- Through the faithful labors of Nathan Smith and Grace Church in Bristol, England, we held our first Worship God UK conference this past Spring with our second conference planned for May 2015 where a one day UK Pastors Conference will be held the day before.
Because the works of God’s hands have been faithful and just this past year, there is much to celebrate as 2014 comes to a close. He alone deserves all the glory, for “Holy and awesome is his name!” (Psalm 111:9).
As we consider all the faithful works of God in our family of churches this past year, may our faith be stirred for all the ways He will work in and through us in 2015. Let us continue to be a family of churches who strive side by side to advance the gospel for the glory of His great name knowing that our God will be faithful.
Photo by Sarah DeWire.
Mark Prater is the Executive Director for Sovereign Grace and serves as an elder at Covenant Fellowship Church. He and his wife, Jill, have three married daughters and a growing number of grandchildren.
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