The New Year has ushered in several changes to our church schedule as we seek to get more of our members involved in our regular services and institute training. The Temple Baptist Institute recently completed its first round of the full three-year curriculum, which means that several of our original students no longer need to attend. To make the ministry training school more accessible to some of our interested churchgoers, we moved the classes from Monday and Tuesday to Saturday only. Now we meet four hours on one day for five weeks, and the sixth week is our exam. We have been pleased to see at least 15 new students in classes so far. Also, in our mid-week prayer meeting, where I am teaching a series on “Reaching the Next Generation,” attendance has increased as we moved the service time back 30 minutes to make provision for the increased weekday traffic coming from town towards our church. Our Sunday evening service is also undergoing the following changes: starting in March, two Sundays a month will be devoted to “Family Time” when each of our fellowships (men, ladies, singles [pictured at an outing], teens, and children’s club) will meet for one hour, the first Sunday of each month will be Lord’s Supper, and the third Sunday will be devoted to a special visitation program. I will still take time each Sunday evening to continue our preaching series on “Character Traits.”
A phenomenon that has been a joy to observe over the years has become more obvious recently: our people have increasingly devoted more attention to the financing of our ministry. Last year our men’s fellowship (among several other functions) raised money to replace our bus engine, provide electrical wiring for our new generator, and begin the outside plastering of our present auditorium [pictured is our men's fellowship leader with his daughter]. Our ladies fellowship has now taken over providing the food and doing the cooking for each of our conferences and the church anniversary; last year, they held a fundraising dinner so that various needs within our membership could be met, and seven of our ladies attended an out-of-town women’s conference, which filled them with many more ideas. We have recently formed a business men’s fellowship that is going to focus more on generating funds within our church and helping our members with job opportunities and job skills, allowing our men’s fellowship to keep its original focus on visiting families, meeting prayer needs, and improving the church.
Our single lady missionary, Ms. Pat Hamburg, has been quite a blessing to our church and my family. Since her arrival in August 2009, she has faithfully taught the ladies Sunday School class, ladies Bible Institute classes [students pictured with Ms. Pat], and an English class open to all in our church. She secured a house of her own close to the church at the beginning of last year and is very involved in visiting with and being a help to our ladies. Ms. Pat has very little financial support, so I know she would be quite appreciative for your prayers on her behalf.