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Vision 2024

Vision 2024 Prayer Letter - 10/24/21

October 24, 2021

Dear Brother or Sister in Christ,

 Thank you for your faithful prayers for our church as we press on together, day after day, toward our 100-year anniversary in 2024. The Lord is worthy of our diligent efforts toward becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus together. This month is filled with praises! Psalm 145:1-4 declares, “I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.” Therefore, let’s exalt our God together in praise and prayer! 

Praise God for His mighty work among our Kids and Youth Ministries! Our Wednesday nights are being well attended by many children, youth, and adults. We’re averaging around 150+ people each week who gather for a delicious meal, sing songs of praise, and learn from God’s Word together! The energy in the building is palpable. Just about every single nook and cranny is being used, even some of our offices and back hallways. God is at work in these spaces. The message of salvation is being shared with nonbelievers, believers are being built up in their faith, and many of us are using our spiritual gifts to love and serve one another in this place. We are continually coaching and equipping our leaders for successful discipleship. Please pray for effective Christian discipleship week in and week out. Pray for our Halloween outreach on Sunday afternoon, October 31, with Seth Maxwell. 

Praise God for bringing us Pastor Douglas; he is an answer to prayer. He is off to a great start with a wonderful team of leaders around him. Our young adult ministry is really getting off the ground with a Thursday night Life Group, a Tuesday night Bible study, and a Tuesday CRU meeting from Bemidji State University that is growing each week. We’ve also recently kicked of two brand new youth Sunday School classes. Our middle school students are learning from the Gospel of Luke and our high school students are studying “A Beautiful Design” by Matt Chandler, a study of what the Bible says about gender. Pray that these studies will be fruitful in discipling our teens and pre-teens. Also pray for our students who are going to Camp Shamineau on two separate weekends in the end of October. Pray for safety, spiritual fruit, and greater relational connectedness and trust building within our youth group. Pray also for Emily and their kids as Pastor Douglas spends time away on these weekends. Praise God for a healthy Youth Budget and a bus fund that allows us to underwrite many of the expenses for these ministries, keeping them affordable for any student who wants to attend. 

Praise God for a wonderful sermon series through the book of Acts. Praise God for Pastor Eric’s preaching these past two Sundays. So many people have been blessed and encouraged in their faith. Pray that all of us pastors will continue to grow not only in our preaching ability but also in our shepherding care and spiritual oversight. Please pray 1 Timothy 4:15-16 for all three pastors: 

“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Praise God for a flourishing music ministry at our church. Praise Him for our youth band on Wednesday nights, as well as all of our many Sunday morning musicians. Praise God that our hand bells and choir are back in full swing. Praise God for special musicians like Glenn Seibel who blesses us with his euphonium as well as the many other musicians who bless us with their unique musical gifting. Pray Psalm 150 for our local church, that we will praise Him with all kinds of instruments, and that everything that has breath will praise the Lord. Pray this for both our 8:30 traditional and 10:45 contemporary services. Praise God for the 10:45 worship teams that continue to lead us even as we are short-handed some weeks. Praise God for providing Nicholas Jackson and Matt and Amy Graf, as well as our long-time musicians who’ve been faithfully serving year after year. Please pray that God will provide us with a long-term fit for our 10:45 Music Director position.  

Praise God for our faithful tech team running our sound, lights, cameras, etc. Pray all of this equipment and all of these “operators” behind the scenes will continue to bless those in the building as well as those at home via livestream. May our church be effective in this day and age of technology. Pray that we won’t be bogged down by it or distracted by it, while at the same time praying that we will steward it well to maximize our gospel impact. Praise God for the funding we have available to upgrade our switcher box and wiring, scheduled for October 26. Praise God for companies like NLFX who have the expertise to help us with these upgrades. Praise God for Dan Evans and Danny Paddock and the many volunteers who faithfully serve alongside them! 

Praise God for recent, strong financial giving at our church. Back in August, we were over 11% behind on our budget (over $60,000). As I write this prayer letter, we are now only 2% behind budget (only $15,000). Praise God for all of these tithes and offering, large and small! May these recent special gifts, above and beyond our regular giving, inspire all of us to consider a special gift. How great would it be to exceed our budgeted needs – how fun would that be!? Pray that the experience of God’s people in Exodus might be repeated at E-Free Bemidji in 2021, “…‘The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.’ Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.’ And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.” (Exodus 36:5-7)

Praise God for our Connection Café. Pray that we will be a warm, friendly, welcoming church. Pray that God will help us to NOTICE those who are new to our church and that we will be effective at reaching out to them and helping them connect in meaningful ways to this body of believers. Pray also that we will be sensitive to those in our church who are hurting. Praise God for the many who are serving, whether they’re officially on a serving team or not. Praise God for people who are mowing lawns, dropping off meals, delivering birthday wishes, and on and on. Praise God for the ministry that we can have in loving one another through times of loss like funerals as well as times of celebration like weddings and anniversaries. Pray that we can effectively minister to one another whether married or single, divorced or widowed, or whatever our life situation may be. Pray Romans 12:15-16 for our church, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Please also pray that God will provide us with a Visitation Caregiver very soon. There is such a need for this staff position even though many people in our church have been stepping up and filling in some of these needs lately. Praise God for our many faithful Global Partners who are serving the Lord even now. Let’s continue to pray through our Global Partner flipbooks, praising God for how He is powerfully at work through them all around the world.

Pray that our church will grow in spiritual maturity, holding fast to the core truths of the gospel. Praise God for active, well-attended adult Bible Studies, Life Groups, and Sunday School classes (including the Jonah study averaging almost 30 adults each Sunday!) Praise God for a strong women’s ministry including the BSF group and the new Overflow ministry! Pray Ephesians 4:14-16 for our church: “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, thanks for praying! 

Together for Christ,

Pastor Jerry 

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