First Presbyterian Church


austin's update 1/23

Posted by Austin Hill on

For the past month I’ve been having a blast thinking about our mission and vision. This sermon series has had me digging through old church newsletter articles, annual reports, and bulletins, while also thinking about our town and opportunities around us, while simultaneously thinking about the early church in Acts.

While considering our core ministries, preparing for my sermon this last week, the list of examples I wanted to share kept growing. For those who missed the sermon, I highlighted four core ministries of our church. We defined core ministries as areas where we excel, are passionate, and feel called in Scripture to do. The four core ministries listed were youth and family ministry, congregational care, worship leadership, and mission.

In these four areas in particular, our church has innovated and creatively followed God’s calling throughout the years. We have begun intern programs, ministered to kids after school while their parents are still at work, cared for fellow church members and neighbors daily and weekly, experimented with worship services in different venues and different times while utilizing the talents of gifted worship leaders from all over the world, and started local and international non-profit organizations to serve God and the world. I could write pages about all the cool ways our church has followed God’s leading in unprecedented ways – just in the seven years that I’ve seen.

As it turns out, this is similar to how God’s people responded to God’s call throughout Scripture. The Bible is filled with stories about people taking steps of faith, and journeying into the unknown. I’ve been particularly amazed by the Book of Acts lately.

These early Christians were learning everything on the go. They didn’t really know what they were doing. For example, the passage we’ll study this Sunday on the 29th describes John and Peter as they are taken before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish community leaders of their time. With their lives on the line, John and Peter are told to stop telling people about Jesus. In response to the directive, they explain that they simply cannot help but tell the story of what they’ve seen and heard. They don’t back down! Now, we know the end of the story and that they are allowed to continue doing their ministry. But they must have been terrified at the time! And they continued in ministry anyway.

These stories give me courage. They remind me that even though the future is never certain, we can know that God will be with us through it all.

Austin D. Hill