Dec 26

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We are not there yet, but we sure are approaching it and it is a good time to look both back and forward. There are at least two reasons for looking in both directions: 1) to see the blessing of the past year and to see the shortcomings; and 2) to correct and do better in the coming year and to think about the blessings that are sure to come upon us in the New Year.
This is good both individually and as a congregation. If you will, allow me to do it this way; I have more than one pair of “shoes” in the Barnes church of Christ; 1) I am a member of the Barnes church; 2) I serve as one of the preachers; 3) I am honored to serve as one of the three men who are elders of the Barnes congregation; 4) I serve as Dean of students of the Oklahoma City School of Biblical Studies; 5) I am a teacher in the school; 6) I am director of our annual lectureship; 7) I am editor of our Journal “One Heart;” and last, 8) I write the weekly article for the bulletin and edit the bulletin. Don’t get this list wrong, it is not a brag list; anything from it! Over the past year I have failed to reach anywhere near the goal of any of these works! All of them have been done less to one degree or another than they should have been done! So, as an individual this means I have a lot of room for improvement! I could go into my shortcomings, but for the most part, you know them! But, take “One Heart” for just an example. I am to see that we put into the mail four issues for per year; but I have never got the job done! 2015 was the worse year of all, as I think we mailed out two issues. How is this for failure? You see what I mean about looking back and seeing where improvements need to be made!
Now, let us look at the eldership, and I think I can do this being one of them. First, I have always believed that a congregation will never be better than her elders! We have lead in getting somethings done, one that has been a “dream” of this congregation for years; the new restrooms. As this is being written great progress has been made and we can see with our own eyes the new restrooms, though not completed; the improvement in the foyer and hallway. Then, the building will be safer and more in accordance with the city code. There are other things that need to be done, but we are moving in the right direction in this area. We even have plans, as money is available, for a new library and sound room!
But, the elders need to do better! We need to put before the congregation a budget. A budget shows what we plan to do, where we plan to spend money in necessary areas; but also in future plans. A budget reveals our plans; it lets the congregation know where we plan to go in the year 2016.
A budget also lets the congregation know how much money is needed each week. Of course, God has given us the manner of giving: “as God hath prospered him,” and we each need to understand: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). But, it helps when we all know where the money is going to be used and a budget does this.
So, as one of the elders of the Barnes congregation, I have opened the door and we have looked in; we have seen good and we have seen the need for improvement in the eldership. This may be the best thing that elders can do for the congregation which they oversee! After all, Paul did say to the elders of the church in Ephesus, as he looked at the overall charge: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Here calling attention to the opening words: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves!”
This is the first of more than one article on the subject, as we leave the “old year” and prepare to “enter the New Year.” We must not be afraid to honestly look at ourselves; how else can we ever get better?

— Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: https://okcsbs.com/approaching-the-new-year/