This is a big Sunday. If we weren't still in the midst of the coronavirus, the elders have agreed that we would be doing more to highlight this day. So, presuming things have returned to some sense of normalcy by next summer, hopefully then we will have a more official "celebration": inviting former members and attenders to come, hearing from some who may now be far away, rejoicing in God's mercy and goodness to us through these years.
Much has changed for many in these 10 years. For example:
So the church has changed. Ironically, even after 10 years of existence, the average age of those at Burning Hearts is now lower than it was when we began!
For me personally, Burning Hearts has been a wonderful thing. There is so much that I like about Burning Hearts (the name, the fact that we have no debt, the sense of "family," the great spirit of the church, the sense of freedom). God has used the church to meet our family's financial needs, and he has also used it to meet our spiritual and emotional needs. I feel deeply indebted to God and to you for these 10 years.
Years ago I would have been greatly troubled that Burning Hearts has not numerically grown. I would have viewed that as showing a lack or failure in my life. I don't see things that way anymore. While I was at LEFC there was tremendous numerical growth, yet today, a number of those that I knew very well during those years no longer attend any church and show little to no delight in our Savior. So what is to be made of all that? I cannot even grasp it. It leaves me totally flummoxed. These many years later attendance figures don't impress me, and the size of a church staff means nothing to me. What does mean a lot to me are those moments of shared intimacy regarding our salvation – of what we hold dear in Christ. And I find that I can have that in just as meaningful a way with one or two people as with ten or twenty times that many people.
I am glad that Burning Hearts has survived. The fact that we are here, ten years later, would leave even the greatest skeptic agreeing that Burning Hearts was and is more than "a flash in the pan." We're here to stay. In a couple of years we expect a new pastor to be at the helm. That will be good for the church and that may be the stimulus that God will use to truly take Burning Hearts to the next plateau. We'll see. My plan is to still be around to support that pastor and support you in whatever way I can.
So, God bless you…God bless us! Ten years! Wow. How time flies.