This is the text from Dr. Don Brezavar's last newsletter column published June 8, 2016.
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts;” I Cor. 12:12a
This text gives us the fundamental truth about the church.
The church, our church, First Christian Church, Independence is a body of Christ, “and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” (I Cor. 12:12b).
This text goes on to tell us that just as all the parts of the physical body are different, they none-the-less form one, and only one body; so all the parts of the body of Christ, though different persons with different skills, talents, and abilities, still work together in unity and harmony to form one body of Christ to the glory of God our Father.
Barbara and I praise Jesus for this body of Christ who have worked diligently to accomplish so much in just a few years. I cannot thank the leaders enough for their unique leadership gifts and styles. I have had the honor and privilege of working closely with and developing friendships with, and learning much from each leader: Bob Shirk, Jay Crowley, Norm Humphrey, and Clint Shrout.
Together as part of the body, with many other parts of the body doing their part, we have accomplished many of our long-term goals.
With Clint Shrout and Patty Cox’s leadership we conducted a David Ramsey Financial Peace Seminar with 34 people attending including 7 non-members. We upgraded the music program with the addition of the latest hymnals to be printed which has helped add newer music to a blended style of worship. Thanks to Bruce Marston we have more and different styles of special music utilizing the talent of many of our own members at every service (early and late) and have added children’s bells and choir pieces to our worship.
We started a MOPS program for young families which did not work out but not because Kari Thomas, Susan Marquardt, Linda DeHart, Mary Czeschin, and others did not put in a lot of hard work to start a quality program for the community.
We started a Bible Study that now has an attendance of 30-35 each week which includes 15 people form 6 different churches and 5 different denominations.
Under the leadership of Norris Shrout the long range planning committee thoroughly investigated the addition of an Audio Visual system for FCCI. We spent hours of research including going to another church on the Plaza and having a company come in and set up a complete system for us to sample, the bottom line is an appropriate AV system will cost in the neighborhood of $60,000 and no one knows for sure if it will work in our unique setting, but we did the research. And thanks to Norris we dreamed about the addition of $30,000 to our church income, little did we know that dream would be fulfilled within the year.
Thanks to the leadership of Woody Cozad and the artistic eye of Susan Marquardt we conducted the most successful stewardship campaign in many, many years adding 19 new pledges and were blessed with 36 of our own members increasing their pledges from the previous year, all of which totaled an increase of giving of about $30,000 for fiscal year 2016. But the increase in giving that started in 2015 helped us achieve a 2 year budget surplus of $28,500 at the end of last year, all while still funding and participating in over 16 missions projects including Crossroads, Tabitha’s Closet, and the Proctor reading tutors project. Praise the Lord!
With the leadership of David Wade and the property committee we were able to complete and pay for, out of our surplus, many of the projects that have been needed for years. Those projects include: the painting of the Sanctuary, the addition of a security system with cameras and remote door entry system, a new vastly upgraded phone system, a much needed upgraded internet server, router, and software system, and the addition of a new keyless card system to make access to our church facilities more secure.
Again thanks to you all, we were able to save our stained glass window on the south side of the sanctuary which was badly in need of repair. We used our church birthday gift along with the “A bit more” campaign (remember) to raise $9,000 to fund that project and we still have $2,000 left over for future window repairs. Let’s match that birthday gift this year!
And one of the most significant accomplishments over the past year and a half has been the completion of the task of the search committee. Under the leadership of Brenda Shrout the team has stayed on task, sought and fulfilled the will of the members, and selected God’s pastor for the future of FCCI.
All of these things are possible because all of us as members of the church have been willing to work together united in the Spirit as the Body of Christ.
Well, the good news is Barbara and I are the only ones leaving this Body of Christ. The rest of the Body with all of its leadership and hard workers is still in tack and united in Christ.
Together we have provided a firm Spiritual and fiscal foundation through the Lord, Jesus Christ for Rev. Colby and Suzy to continue to build on, for the glory of God our Father. I know each of you will unite in the Holy Spirit and work with Rev. Colby as you have with me.
To His hope and His future in the Spirit of Christ, (Jer. 29:13)
With our love and deep appreciation for your love, support, and encouragement,
Pastor don and Barbara <><