For many, December is a hectic month! Many are so busy in December, they do no want to think beyond Christmas. A common thought: "If we can only survive until December 26th!" As busy as December is, we [your staff] must be busy planning for 2001. Actually, we were seriously thinking and praying about 2001 months ago.

About three months ago, your staff made serious projections regarding our 2001 work. We seek healthy transition from a work that looks at the immediate ["that's good; let's do it soon!"] to a work doing good in ways that increase its future opportunities [today's good create building blocks for tomorrow]. A 2001 calendar for many planned events was printed recently on the back page of What's Happening At West-Ark.

What is the goal? Actually, the major goal exists in 2002. We hope to interact with the Fort Smith community in a major outreach in 2002. To prepare for that, we want to increase the effectiveness of our outreach and influence in the Fort Smith area. Our primary objective is to use Jesus' person and teachings to touch [constructively] the lives of people in the Fort Smith population area. We ask Jesus to guide us in helpfully ministering to lives and families. He is the master. He can help "the unhelpable."

Fort Smith is a religious city. Church buildings and worship sites are everywhere. Yet, about fifty percent of the people in our population area are not religiously active. They do not worship once a month anywhere. Many struggle alone against the emptiness and void. Many have neither purpose in life nor objectives for living. They merely exist.

We want to move from the sorrowful head shake ("isn't that sad") to proactive outreach. We want to share Jesus' hope, God's promises, and eternal purposes. We want to be a powerful, positive force for God in this population area. We want Jesus to do through us what he came, died, and was resurrected to do.

Desire is not enough to make that happen. If we move from sorrowfully gazing at the need to introducing people to God's hope, forgiveness, and direction provided in Christ, several things must happen. These happenings rest on a foundation of three things.

(1) We place our faith in God's power. If we love and serve as Christ wants, God can and will touch and change hearts [including our own!]

(2) We must trust God's use of us. It takes more than "motivational lessons" to build confidence. As a congregation, we must trust the truth that God can and will work through each of us.

(3) We must believe God will address peoples' needs in ways that exceed our comprehension. We do not have all the answers to the complex problems evil creates in the lives of people. Yet, we trust God's grace, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness to minister to the heart of any person cleansed by Jesus' blood.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 10 December 2000

 Link to next article

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell