Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Exhale and Give Thanks.

The rhythm of college ministry allows for a deep exhale at the end of every semester. Here are some reflections on last semester.

First, a snapshot of the last Salt Company of 2011:

There's always the big picture of what happened...

- The largest attendance at Salt Company last year was around 170. The lowest attendance at Salt Company this year was around 170. 

- 21 people were baptized in 2011. 

- 98 people became members of Veritas

- We are at about 109% of our budget... which we thought was aggressive when we planned it last year. 2012 will be an even bigger step of faith... and our people are ENERGIZED. I love what one of our elders said, "This is not a financial decision, but a spiritual one." It led to a sweet time of prayer and fasting for the year to come. 

- The largest Veritas service last year was 255; the largest this year was 365. 

Here's a picture of our service from Sunday in the Coralville Convention Center (we got bumped to this "airport terminal" from our much warmer ball room)

I'm not going to end this blog with the conventional pastor riff that "numbers don't matter." Not when those numbers represent...

People becoming followers of Jesus.
Prisoners (not metaphorically speaking) getting set free and becoming part of a community.
Learning how to pray while studying through Luke's gospel.
Relationships being reconciled.
Children growing in faith and love.
People responding in love when they are told by their employer that they are not allowed to take people to church or tell them about Jesus (strategic ambiguity here...)
And de-churched people realizing that just maybe the church is the hope of the world after all (an email Jeff and I received from a dad in our church)...

"I just wanted to send you a quick not of encouragement about the good ways God is using Veritas. Every year since [our kids] were little, we've had a tradition that when we are having Thanksgiving dinner we go around the table and everybody talks about something that has occurred in the last year that they are thankful for. This year all five (added one this year) of them included Veritas as one of the things that happened in their lives that they're thankful for... I told them about what a thrill it is for their mother and I to watch them individually pursue their relationship with Jesus... [We] are also thankful for the work of Veritas. A year ago I was pretty much of a mindset that I was completely ok with the notion that we may never attend another church service, but God has used Veritas to show me that corporate worship can still be genuine and meaningful, and that church community still has purpose..."

The kingdom of God is among us- and it is marvelous in our eyes!

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