Introducing the 2020 Focus for FBC Wiggins

I’m excited to announce the theme for 2020, Reaching in with Love. As you know the mission statement for FBC Wiggins is “Reaching Up, Reaching Out, Reaching In.” Over the past two years, we have focused on the first two “reaching” goals. This year we feel it’s time to focus on the last one, namely, “Reaching In.”

 
 

By the end of 2020, we want to see members of FBC Wiggins loving one another better. We want to take seriously the words of our Savior in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.” Think about that for just a moment. Jesus commanded us to love one another just as He has loved us.

 
 

How did Jesus love us? Here are three ways:

 
 
First, He loved us with a love that was so sacrificial, it cost Him His life. He saw our need for salvation and spared no expense to meet that need. He gave all of Himself for all of us. If He laid His life down for us, shouldn’t we also lay our lives down for one another? Even if He had not given us the commandment to love one another as He loved us, it would still be the right thing for Christians to do. John wrote that the love of God cannot be in a person who, having the “world’s goods,” closes his heart to a brother in need.
 
 

We don’t mean to close our hearts to one another and hold back help for brothers and sisters in need. However, we also don’t mean to love them. We are not adept at looking for and meeting the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are outside of the circle of people we sit beside in worship and our Sunday school class. We hope to see growth in this area through Reaching In with Love.

 
 

Second, He loved us at a time when we were not particularly lovable. Paul wrote in Romans 5 concerning the reasons one person might die for another. He said, and I am paraphrasing here, “it makes sense that a person might give their life for a good person… a nice wholesome person. But who would give their life for a bad person… say a thief or a murderer?” Then he goes on to say (quoting now), “But God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

 
 

As mentioned above, we have a difficult time loving people we like, but we find it almost impossible to love people we don’t like… people with whom we disagree… people who have done us wrong. This should not be so for Christians. We all know what it is to be unlovable and yet loved. It shouldn’t be so foreign to us to love the unlovable. Through Reaching In with Love, we will seek to love our brothers and sisters especially when they are at their worst because there is no greater demonstration of the gospel and because that is how we are instructed to care for one another.

 
 

Third, He continues to love and care for us daily and moment by moment. Each day, He gives us our daily bread even without us asking or thanking Him for it. He not only sustains our lives moment by moment, but He holds the whole universe together (cf. Colossians 1:17). His love never stops reaching us… there is never a space between us and the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (cf. Romans 8:31-39). We may not always feel His presence, but His love…? Well, His love is always with us.

 
 

We, on the other hand, turn love on and off based on how we feel and what circumstances we are in at the moment. In season, we love well. Out of season, we stink at love. Our love is as unpredictable as the weather in South MS. We hope to see more consistency in our love in 2020 through this focus, Reaching In with Love.   ————-  

What will this focus look like? Below I list the three main thrusts of Reaching In with Love and the new ministries that will be launched to give legs to this movement.

 
 

THRUST #1: Reach with love to the brotherhood.

Most members only associate with the other members that they know well. It’s time to get to know more people… to broaden your circle. The Bible teaches that every member of the church is important and essential to the fellowship just like every part of your body is essential to your health and happiness. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’” ( 1 Corinthians 12:21). We tend to do church like only certain members matter… like only the ones we are close to matter. In order for us to understand how much we all matter to the fellowship of the body, we must get to know one another.

 
 

To help with this thrust to love the brotherhood, we will launch a Family Friends Ministry. All families will be challenged to put their names and contact information in a basket during the month of January. On the first Sunday afternoon of February, a “Family Friends Night” will be hosted in the fellowship hall. As a part of that get-together, each participating family will draw names from the basket until they draw the name of a family with whom they are not well acquainted. Between February and July, each participating family will make an intentional effort to get acquainted with their new “family friends.” Opportunities will be provided by the church along the way that will encourage each participating family to spend time together and serve with their new Family Friends.

 
 

We will repeat the Family Friends Night on the first Sunday afternoon in August. This will allow newcomers the opportunity to join in and for those who have already participated to make even more Family Friends over the last five months of 2020. If one were to do the math, then each participating family will have the opportunity to get to know four other families over the course of eleven months in 2020.

 
 

THRUST #2: Reach with love to the forgotten.

Our church roll is thick with families who no longer attend First Baptist. Some just got out of the habit of coming. Some are wounded in some way. Some attend other churches but have never moved their membership. Regardless of the reason for their absence, FBC Wiggins has a responsibility to minister to these brothers and sisters. They need to know that we have not forgotten them. They need to know that we love them and still want them. We need to do everything we possibly can as a church family to encourage them and be reconciled with them.

 
 

To help with this effort the staff is in the process of forming an “In-reach Team.” Members of this team have demonstrated a passion for ministering to these members we have been missing. The members of the In-reach Team are also strong in the gift of hospitality. Their task will be to identify all the members who have gone inactive and help develop a way to involve the whole church family in reaching out to them. If you have a desire to be on this team and we haven’t already spoken with you, please let one of the ministerial staff know and we will get your name added.  

THRUST #3: Reach with love to the greater body of Christ.

It’s important that we go about this process of Reaching In with Love with the idea in mind that it is not just about FBC Wiggins. Just as each member makes up the local body that is FBC Wiggins so also FBC Wiggins is a member of a larger body that is the Church (with a capital C). Just as it is important for the families within our church to make connections with more families, so also it is important for our church family to make connections and develop relationships with more church families here and around the world. Our church has talents, gifts, and resources that other sister churches need and visa versa. A cursory read of Acts and the Epistles shows that this is the way God designed the Church (again with a capital C) to function from the very beginning.

 
 

With this in mind, there is a church family in Knoxville, TN that we feel the Lord is leading us to connect with. The name of the church is City View Baptist. City View is currently enrolled in the TN Baptist Convention’s church revitalization program. On a visit last fall, Larry and I learned that they are wanting to reach out to their community in much the same way that we did in Wiggins last year, but they lack the manpower and resources to do it well. That is where the Lord is calling us to come in and help our brothers and sisters. We will be making two visits to City View in 2020. One to help them conduct an evangelism conference (will consist of a smaller team for one weekend in April) and another longer trip in the summer to help them conduct a Mission Week like we did here in Wiggins last year. If you are interested in either of these trips, we invite you to attend the interest meeting after lunch on January 19th, 2020.

 
 

Thank you for taking the time to read this explanation of our 2020 theme. Please be in prayer for our whole church and the whole body of Christ. My earnest desire is to see us love one another well in 2020. I hope that is your desire too. Jesus said that this is how all people would know that we follow Him… by the love we have for one another (cf. John 13:35). May all people be introduced to Christ through our growth in loving one another in 2020.