I am grateful for the First Baptist Church of Sylva because I hear God’s voice speak to me through your life and faithful witness.
These past few weeks, our staff members have shared their gratitude for our church.
Additionally, our own church members have responded to our staff members with words of appreciation, furthering a spirit of thanksgiving in our faith community.
As we round out this month, I’m happy to take my turn and bear witness to the work that God is doing in our church.
I am grateful for our church’s location in the Sylva community. For 13 decades, our church has demonstrated a faithful presence in the heart of our town.
I am grateful for the way our church serves others by volunteering their time and energy. Much of the work of our church is accomplished by individuals who quietly contribute to our church’s ministry, leading others in any number of faithful ways and providing out of their own resources for the good work that we are seeking to do together.
I am grateful for the warmth and friendliness of our church members and attendees. I am thankful for smiles, cheerful embraces and hearty handshakes. I appreciate the thoughtful questions that accompany these encounters and I am awed by the generosity of spirit that I see our church members extend to others.
I am grateful for deacons, trustees, committee chairpersons and team leaders who help to identify opportunities, and then discern the best way that our church can do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.
I am grateful for those who make lemonade on Wednesday nights and for those who wash dishes.
I am grateful for those who champion mission education, and for those who position our church to be generous to our neighbors both near and far.
I am grateful for the spirit of appreciation that accompanies our worship experiences on Sunday mornings, and for the awareness our church has for all that our staff does each week.
I am grateful for those who paint, build ramps, trim rose bushes, pick up trash, crunch numbers, consider concerns and brainstorm solutions.
I am grateful for the faithful investment our church makes to fund our ministries through their tithes and offerings.
I am grateful for our History Room that tells the story of who we have been in our collective past.
I am grateful for the trust that our church grants me as I serve as pastor.
I am grateful for ‘behind the scenes’ individuals who make our ministries possible. These people set-up our sound system on Sunday mornings, prepare our food, clean up after us, hand out bulletins, and bake cookies to share at our hospitality table.
I am grateful to be a part of a church who values prayer, and who believes in God’s miraculous work in both big and small ways.
I am grateful for our church’s prayers, encouragements and support when our work together becomes challenging and tricky.
And I am grateful for a church that is defying the odds by growing, thriving and expanding our influence in our community and in our world.
First Baptist Church of Sylva, thank you for faithfully choosing to be church together. My life and ministry are all the richer for it.