A message from Pastor Jeff

Upon reflecting on our last year of ministry, my heart moves to one theme: “spiritual conversations.” It is through spiritual conversations that a person is invited to find a home in Christ. Further, it is through such conversations that people are built up in their faith. We were never meant to be silent about our relationship with Jesus Christ. This does not mean we must be obnoxious or confrontational. It does mean we are building redemptive relationships among neighbors, sprinkling our conversations with references to faith. The practice of having spiritual conversations holds the greatest prospects for progress toward our mission. We must learn how to talk about Jesus in a conversational way. We need to learn how to build redemptive relationships, pray for loved ones, ask great questions and share our story. We need to learn how to invite friends to special events or series. Such will be an emphasis in the coming year of ministry.

Looking back over the past year, we observe the following progress in our ministry.

In the area of SEEK, the physical and online attendance at our weekend worship celebrations for the ministry year averages 406 (including physical and online attendance). The last four months of the ministry have seen a modest decline of about 5% in our trends, which is not uncommon in summer months. Slightly less than 50% of regular adult attenders have been connecting in 30 adult small groups. Further, in children’s ministry we have been presenting 19 small groups in both weekend and midweek ministry, with seven small groups for student ministry. A handful of small groups given over to various forms of service (Elder Team, Service Ministry Team, Church Health Team, etc.) accounts for 60 small groups total. Attendance at mid-week middle school ministry is approaching 50, with mid-week high school ministry closer to 20.

In the area of SERVE, the percentage of attendees who engage in service and ministry is currently 71%. This reflects the same percentage as 2019 (pre-COVID 19). God raised up notable support for our Vacation Bible School initiative, with 90 responding to opportunities to serve.

In the area of SHARE, a notable uptick may be discerned in the way God is working. Our Vacation Bible School led to seven faith commitments among children. Summer camps among middle and high school students have led an increasing number of students to take the step of public baptism. We know of 37 faith commitments in this ministry year, with 40 baptisms to celebrate. God is populating His forever family, and He is moving many young people to give public witness to their faith.

God is stirring among many to respond favorably to the gospel message. Looking forward, we intend to build on this momentum by cultivating and celebrating spiritual conversations. I will present a series entitled “Spiritual Conversations” in 2023. Alongside of training in the way of such conversations, we will promote prayer for neighbors and invitations for holiday weekends. Further, we will begin to count and celebrate spiritual conversations.

We will welcome Marcus & Kayla Mackey to an interim “Church Planter in Residence” role with Aspen Ridge Church. God willing, Marcus & Kayla will plant a new church in Indian Hills during 2023. In the meantime, Marcus will be focused on helping our small groups build redemptive relationships in our community.

One important means of supporting this initiative will be a ministry campaign entitled “Rediscover Church.” Such campaign will focus on the value and need for a local Christian church. It will seek to provide resources to launch this new church in Indian Hills, a neighboring community which no longer has a local Christian church. Further, it will (God willing) reduce or eliminate our Aspen Ridge Church mortgage debt. A handful of years ago our leaders decided that building upgrades were vital to our presence in this community. Such upgrades were funded by a modest $225,000 mortgage on our facility, about which half has already been amortized. Eliminating such mortgage will allow our church to send increasing dollars toward adult and small group ministry.

Finally, our leaders are presenting a budget which serves such vision. The budget is designed to promote church health and growth going forward. In addition to planting a church, we seek a 7% growth in ministry outcomes, including weekend attendance and small group life.

On a personal note, I am so appreciative of your gracious support of this ministry. Our church (like many) faces many challenges in this “post COVID 19” context. You have been resilient. God has been faithful. It is an honor to be a pastor/teacher in this fine local church.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jeffrey Clark
Aspen Ridge Church

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