2020 was a difficult year in many ways; not only on a global and national scale, but also on a personal level for many families and individuals. However, it is still a year worth rejoicing in! We saw the Word taught, the lost found, disciples made, and God glorified. As we move into 2021 our church desires to keep moving in that direction. The elder team has taken time to think about what we want to focus on this year.
We have decided to emphasize three main things in 2021: discipleship, evangelism, and fellowship. These three tend to overlap. Evangelism and fellowship are part of discipleship and fellowship is part of evangelism. In 2021, want to emphasize these three connected things in the life of our church by both formal (with set plans and programs, etc.) and informal (organic, less planned) means.
I will highlight here three of the ways the elder team plan to better implement discipleship, evangelism, and fellowship. First, we have established and equipped the new deacon team to share in the leadership responsibilities of the church, under the direction of the elders. The duties they have assumed will allow us to work more smoothly as a body and involve more people in the mission of the church. The deacons are Cole Wyatt, Evan Baker, and Brandon Horst.
Second, we want to form more home groups in 2021. We have seen great fruit in all three areas – discipleship, evangelism, and fellowship – from Ridgeview’s home group ministry. Home groups meet in homes on Sunday nights, often enjoying a meal together, fellowshipping around the Word, singing and worshipping and praying together. Home groups are a great place to get to know others, grow in the Word and find further encouragement for the week. If you are not part of a home group, you are really missing out, and we invite you to join one!
So that more people can participate, we are praying that a few individuals and/or couples in 2021 would show interest in launching new home groups in 2021. We believe that our church needs two more groups in Chadron, and potentially one in Crawford. If you are interested in starting a new group, please let an elder know and we can help you with the next steps!
Third, as church leaders want to be more intentional about shepherding and praying for individuals in the congregation. To that end, we we have created a list of members and regular attenders of Ridgeview and have divided that list among the deacons and elders (rotating the list each quarter). And we will reach out to our families/individuals to show intentional care, find out their prayer needs, and encourage each one in the Lord. If you are a member or active attender at Ridgeview, a church leader is praying for you!
In the short term, we also have plans to help emphasize our three focuses. To encourage and equip the church for discipleship we will host a “How to Study the Bible” seminar in April. This seminar will teach men and women how to dive deeply into God’s Word and how to show others to do so. Along with the Holy Spirit, the Word of God is the key catalyst for discipleship. We hope this event will both encourage and equip the church to better know God through his Word and help others to know him. Stay tuned for more on this!
We are taking similar steps to encourage and teach on evangelism. In February, the church will host a half-day seminar on evangelism. The seminar’s purpose is two-fold 1) to start a conversation about evangelism and 2) to teach what it looks like to develop a culture of evangelism in the church.
Finally, to encourage organic fellowship, we will make the church facilities even more available so that the congregation will make frequent use of the campus to host game nights, group meals, ping-pong tournaments, etc.. These are great ways to bring new people in and connect with them and fellowship more together as a church family. It is has been great to see this happening already – so many informal game nights and fellowships during the fall and winter of 2020! We want to encourage more of it in 2021 to see God’s people gather even more often for the purpose of fellowship. If you want to host something like that here, just let the office know!
We are excited for what God has done, is doing, and will do in this church. Our prayer is that God will use our people and resources to save the lost, disciple them into Christ, bring all into the fellowship with Him, and above all glorify His name.