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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ten Years

Ten years. 120 months. 520 weeks. 3,653 days (3 leap years). 87,672 hours. 5,260,320 minutes. Ten years.

This year is not a year where I look back over just the last year of ministry but over the last 10 years of ministry. It was 10 years ago in June that I began my ministry here as Lead Pastor. Let’s see…what was going on 10 years ago…

• January 1 - Smoking is banned in all California bars and restaurants.
• January 25 - Super Bowl XXXII: The Denver Broncos become the first AFC team in 14 years to win the Super Bowl, as they defeat the Green Bay Packers, 31-24.
• June 14 - The Chicago Bulls win their 6th NBA title in 8 years when they beat the Utah Jazz, 87-86 in Game Six. This is also Michael Jordan's last game as a Bull, clinching the game in the final seconds on a fadeaway jumper.
• June 25 - Microsoft releases Windows 98 (First Edition).
• November 3 - Jesse Ventura, former professional wrestler, is elected Governor of Minnesota.

There were a few other notable events like the President of the United States being under investigation for moral misconduct, Apples iMac was introduced, John Glenn got another chance at being in space.

When I came to Cold Springs Church it was called First Baptist Church and there was a small and faithful group of people who were pretty tired after a lot of years of conflict and building. As a 36 year-old I didn’t know a lot but I was determined to bring a lot of energy to the party! And God was faithful and wise, even when I lacked one or the other.

One of the encouraging things over the last 10 years was the privilege of baptizing 216 people during that time. There is nothing that more clearly illustrates the purpose and vision of the church than baptism – the transformation of lives so that they publicly declare their faith and allegiance to Jesus Christ!

Some of the other encouraging things: Finalizing the second longest open building permit in Placerville by finishing our facilities. Growing from 100 people to 500 and seeing over 850 people impacted this last Easter. Seeing an increase in faith as we have given away more money and resources to local, national and international efforts of sharing Jesus Christ.

The last ten years have been a journey to embrace our mission of living for the people who are not here yet and reaching people for Jesus while working hard at discipling those at Cold Springs Church to be passionate followers of Jesus.

God has blessed us with an enduring sense of unity over the last ten years as we have gone through tremendous change. We have had 9 worship leaders and four youth pastors over that time. We have gone from traditional worship to blended to multiple services with contemporary and traditional worship styles. We have tried new types of services and stopped ministries that were no longer effective. We have moved the adult Sunday School class at least five times in order to make more room for ministering to our children. Some of the changes have gone smoothly, some have been painful. But the vision of Growing Transformed Lives has stayed at the center and we have held unbendingly to that mandate.

The greatest danger as you read through the reports in our Annual Ministry Report is to get a feeling that “this is good enough.” Although I am grateful for all that God has done in the past, I know he isn’t a God of the past, he is a God of the future. My reflections of the past make me long for so much more because I don’t think we have come close to reaching our full potential in Christ as a church.

One of the things I realized was a significant focus of our church over the last 25 years has been securing, developing and improving our ministry campus. We have spent a tremendous amount of time, energy, money and focus on our facilities. It has given us an awesome tool with which to reach our community. But it is just that – a tool.

Now we need to unleash our resources, energy and passion upon our community and world. What would it take to make a lasting impact on 3% of the people around us - that is 2700 people? What would that do for our community? How can we make Jesus so evident and so important in our community that they don’t just put up with us, they invite us to sit at the table of decisions because we are such a critical part of the community? What will it take to unleash God’s Spirit in our community of faith that the people who come on our campus are overwhelmed with a sense of the love and power of God? What will it take to awaken each and every person at CSCC to embrace their divine calling and live not just for the rewards of a successful life but rather for the eternal rewards of a significant life? What would it look like to live a life of faith as a church, not trying to protect the progress of the past but embracing the hope of the future? What difference would it make to partner with other churches to plant churches that plant churches? How significant of an impact would it be to see the Ethiopian Graduate School of Evangelism resourced to train multiple more leaders to reach Africa for Christ and push back the rising tide of Islam?

These are some of the questions that my soul wrestles with as I reflect on the future. Our best days are not in the past, they are in the future. Just as the past has been a story of change so that we could find and embrace the opportunities, the story of the future will require the same. When I get to heaven, I don’t want Jesus to say, “Hey David, pretty good first ten years but what was the deal with coasting the rest of the way?” I want to hear “Well done good and faithful servant!” I am committed to living my life and leading in ministry such that we hear those words from Jesus! My invitation to you is to join me. My prayer is we will all look back and say “This was the year God began to move at CSCC in ways I never could have imagined!”

Wouldn’t that be awesome.

For the glory of God,

David Cooke
Lead Pastor