Dear Sisters and Brothers, and friends of FBC Bennington,
God is at work here in Bennington, and it has been a privilege to join him here at FBC in 2016. As we look forward to what he will do in and through us in the year ahead, the love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit will enable us to follow the Lord together by faith.
There are many ways we can measure and report on what has gone on in the past year. By the numbers, we have baptized one believer, welcomed two new members, and have been joined by about 10 new regular attendees. We have faithfully worshipped God together each Sunday, looking to the Scriptures to guide us and grow our faith and love for Jesus, and the Holy Spirit has increased our faith, hope and love together. It has been very good to walk together through the Gospel of John this year, and also to blend in new music with old favorites.
We have welcomed a new pianist, as well as a new Sunday School teacher, and both are a significant blessing to our worship and work. We have hosted about 9 different Bible studies in various formats and contexts (Open-to-all, Men, Women, Youth, Children, One-to-one). Through these times we have seen our faith grow, and our experience of God’s grace increase. We continue to share our space with various non-profits, including the Free Clinic, Kitchen Cupboard, Farmer’s Market, Pet Clinic, support groups, and many more. It is an honor to bless our community by sharing the good gifts that God has given us. We have given away over 100 Bibles in various formats to the many community members who pass through our doors. Let us look to God to show us further opportunities to tangibly bless our neighbors.
We have been privileged to participate in the funerals of 8 of our loved ones this year, honoring and celebrating those who have passed, and bringing God’s grace and peace to ourselves, and to family, friends and community members through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have also gathered for times of fellowship and fun, including movie nights, game nights, a talent show, a Fall hayride, and the Christmas pageant. We have hosted successful tag sales and bazaars, which have greatly contributed to the ministry of the church. Additionally, each Sunday we have consumed countless cups of coffee, eaten untold numbers of cookies and brownies, and the occasional carrot or celery stick.
Where is God leading us for 2017? Let us pray together for guidance and faith. As pastor, I always hope to prioritize “prayer, people, and proclamation
” — regular and specific prayer, time with people, and proclaiming the gospel in any way possible. I often fall short, but God’s grace abounds all the more, and he delights to give his strength in our weakness. Will you pray that God will lead me, and all of us, according to his priorities? Let us pray that God will equip us all to grow in faith, and enable us to bless those in the Bennington area with the amazing grace of Jesus.
“May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)