…THANK YOU, all who attended, for a great congregational chat after worship yesterday!  The reason have these “chats” is to provide regular times for congregational conversation in an informal setting, where we can discuss our concerns and thoughts about our dear church without the encumbrances (and, to be honest, intimidating nature) of a formal business meeting.  No formal decisions are made: we just talk with each other, nicely and honestly.  I like to think of the chats as wonderful opportunities for us to learn how to speak and listen to each other in a way that pleases the Lord Jesus!  So, here’s what I took away from our chat yesterday:

1.  Our congregation notices the sometimes lack-luster quality of our PA system when I preach, but it doesn’t bother the church as much as it bothers me as I preach.  You understand that I need to do something to resolve the issue (Knute’s helping me with this), but don’t want me to get too obsessive about it.  All is well.  Cool.

2.  Our elder team needs to move a bit faster in welcoming people into membership of the church.  We’re slow about that, sorry!  We have a very unique situation here in downtown Portland, in which every single week we have first-time visitors, non-members, etc., to the degree that we always have more people in attendance than the total number of members of the church.  We’re used to that, and grateful for the weekly opportunity of gospel-witness, but know we need to integrate people better into the fellowship.

3.  We’d like our welcoming team to consider its ministry to begin at the sidewalk of our church, not on the inside of the doors.  So, they’ll give more attention to stair-safety, and helping folks get into the church who may have some trouble with our (steep!) steps!  Roger is on top of this…

4.  We’ll continue to have coffee-snacks after almost every service, and will begin a 3rd Sunday soup lunch, all to provide opportunities for our members and friends to develop more friendships, and to provide opportunities for any of our neighbors who might be in need of a meal.  Thanks for bringing this up, Emanuel!

5.  Like all churches, yes, we need more money to make budget each month, but…., as reported by Pastor Keane, we’re doing better all the time, and have a growing number of members who have committed to giving more regularly (weekly), as a weekly part of their worship.  This seems to have had a wonderful effect on our congregation!  Thank you for being creative and committed!  God will provide the resources for His will!

6.  Pastor Keane and Milena continue to make plans for future ministry, and are growing in the conviction that God has called them to a new ministry endeavor–in East County.  Personally, I break out in a cold sweat at the very thought of losing this dear family, and my irreplaceable, beloved partner in this ministry, but….  there is the bigger picture here!  God is at work, and we are joyful He’s let us in on what He’s doing!  We look forward to the Holy Spirit including Grace Bible Church into this vision, and enlisting us as partners!

7.  Next week, another Congregational Chat, and then on Dec. 16 we’ll have our Annual Congregational Business Meeting to approve next year’s budget and other issues related to our church in 2013!

Again, thanks for sticking around to chat!  What a privilege and honor it is to serve you, dear church!  Blessings, Pastor Ken