Jan 03

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The New Year 2015 has arrived; it gives us the opportunity to look backward, or to look forward. As one who serves as an elder of this congregation, I prefer to look forward. Yet, the New Year does not stand alone disconnected from the year just past, no, it stands upon it. What we plan to do will have roots that reach back into the years that have gone before; both in our failures and in our successes. Wise people learn both from failures and successes. Therefore, may the Barnes church of Christ be wise!
It is the responsibilities of elders to lead wisely; while staying within the limitations of the teaching of Christ (2 John 9). While it is popular to follow after innovations, to go after “culture,” as some today are teaching that any number of New Testament teachings was just “culture” of the time, therefore, not blinding today; elders are required neither to turn to the right nor to the left. Therefore, before the elders of the Barnes congregation put anything before the congregation, it must pass the test of the New Testament! As Paul wrote: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col. 3:17). No faithful child of God would ever think of giving thanks to God for an action not authorized by Christ! Yet, throughout what is called “Christendom,” and at times even within some churches of Christ, it is done year after year! Things are justified by the words, “God led me to do this!” or, “I feel this is what God wants me to do.” Just where is the authority in any such words? Yes, to study and stay within the authority of Christ may mean that things move a little slowly, but better slowly than moving without authority! First question of the year, are we as a local church of Christ ready to face the challenges of 2015?
One new thing, the Barnes congregation will start out the New Year with deacons! As the plans are for three men to be appointed to serve this congregation as deacons on this the first Sunday of the New Year, 2015! This will give the elders much help in getting things done! These men will be responsible for certain areas of work and they will be asking other members to help them in doing the work. We will need a way to learn what each member has the ability to do, so your talents can be used. No matter how small, or how unimportant you may think your talent may be, we would like to know about it. Remember, do what you can do and do it now! It appears that the best way to find out what you are willing to do, is to hand out a sheet of paper with works on it, and have you check what you are willing to do. So, be looking for such a paper in the near future!
We have members who are working quietly; such as Minnie Patterson, who sends out cards to those who are ill and miss worship. Then, Earline Austin who sends out the bulletin, a hard copy, to our shut-ins and others not members of the Barnes congregation but desire to receive it. These are the type of things that need to be done. Of course, the elders are very grateful to all of those who are teaching our young. Week after week you prepare and teach without any fanfare, but please understand, the elders and the parents and grandparents are most grateful for your labor of love. If I may, plans are at this time for Jerry Gore to teach the Wednesday night Bible class, once Rick Sumner completes Proverbs. Jerry will be teaching Daniel.
Then, it must not be overlooked, even though little thought is generally given to it. Those men who serve each Sunday morning and evening that keep our worship both “decently and in order,” we are most thankful. We now have more men serving than in a long time. This is a good area to start in serving and from here, growth can take place. It must not be overlooked the many hours that Mark and Barbara Mills put in, as they keep the building clean, and Mark does any number of other things which no one knows about.
We are starting the New Year with a victory! For more than one year we have talked about, and even put hands on, trying to repair, or redo our baptistery, but each time it was met with failure. Finally, the elders determined it was just beyond the abilities of our men to do themselves; therefore, the work was put into the hands of Van Daggs. He went out and got the right people to do the work and today we have a working baptistery! Thank you Van Daggs! Paul Moisant is continuing to work on the speaker and the power-point sermon systems! The aim is that all problems can be handled from the back, rather than having someone come to the pulpit area when a problem appears. This is an example of what we trust will take place with the deacons, the right person leading, right people helping, and the work is done! However, it will not happen unless each member is willing to use the abilities you have!
Now, just what are the plans for the New Year 2015? Some of our plans are not new, but carry-over plans which have not been completed. Well, let me be honest! The major part of these plans has not even started, though we have tried; we have worked with one architect, who just did not give us what we wanted. Therefore, a second one was sought and found, thanks to Van Daggs. We are now waiting on his plans. He told us that he could give us plans for the restrooms we desire. After talking with him, I do believe we will be happy with his work. He has built a number of church buildings in the area. This will take time, as he is a busy person! Van has talked with him and he will start on the drawings shortly. As to the remodeling of the kitchen area, the elders will look at this area after getting the cost of the first stage. The first stage, the restrooms, can be done without the second stage, the kitchen area. However, it seems that it might be easier to start the work on the second stage, the kitchen, as the first stage is nearly completed as the contractor will be on site. However, money is a big question!
We also desire to build a room (Maybe two, one on each side.) at the back of the auditorium which will reach the top of the present ceiling. This will cut down on the open space; thus, less to heat and cool. One room will be for a sound room and a library. We are hoping to move the present library to the new room. This will free up the present Library room for a class room. This will mean that Jerry Gore will have a class room to teach the teenagers in their own room. Right now, the Oklahoma City School of Biblical Studies uses the same room as does Jerry Gore and the teenagers. This will also make the back of the auditorium look a lot better. The elders are asking for your ideas on this change! John Bellah will be in charge of the Library and the sound system, etc. He will be working with the elders as these plans are worked out.
We are also trying to work out a plan(s) to get our sermons, and even our school classes, so they can be viewed on “you-tube,” etc. John Williams has been recording the power-point sermons. However, it takes hours to prepare them; to change them over. This is an area where my understanding is most lacking.
Well, this gives you a few ideas as we look at the New Year 2015! May each member of the Barnes church of Christ commit themselves to take part, to be active, in every way you have ability! Look around, the Barnes church is growing!

— Frank R. Williams

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