Today we celebrate twenty-nine years of ministry at Lancaster Baptist Church. (Wow, that’s hard to believe!)
It’s been a journey of faith, growth, and, in general, complete awe at God’s greatness. He’s done more than we ever dreamed He would, and we give Him glory for it!
As we celebrate as a church family today, we look back in gratitude, look around in awe, and look forward in faith.
We look back in gratitude.
Although time has flown and it hardly seems twenty-nine years since we began this journey together, God truly has done amazing things over these past years.
I remember that first Sunday night in the upstairs room of our building downtown. There were about a dozen of us there, and I preached from Philippians 1:27, challenging our small church family to be “striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
My highest hope in those days was that one day, just maybe, our church would have one hundred people. And now, every week, the Lord gives our church the opportunity to see people saved and baptized and to minister to thousands of people.
I don’t ever want to take that for granted. It is Christ who builds His church, and I’m full of gratitude that He allows us—all of us, as a church family—to co-labor with Him in building lives.
We look around in awe.
Going back to that upstairs room with no air conditioning and duct taped carpet, it’s pretty amazing to realize that today we dedicate a 54,000 square foot building to the Lord for the ministries of Lancaster Baptist Church.
When I look at the Walther Center (at least on the days when I’m not thinking about all that still needs to be done!) my jaw drops. This is the work of God in and through His people who have had a heart to sacrifice and build. And I praise Him for it.
In coming months, the walls of the Walther Center will resound with the preaching of God’s Word and the fellowship and activities of the next generation being trained to serve God. That is amazing.
We look forward in faith.
There is much I don’t know about the years ahead. We serve the Lord in uncertain days and in a culture that is becoming increasingly antagonistic to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But I truly believe the best days of Lancaster Baptist Church are not the ones we see when we look back. I believe the best days are yet ahead!
Why that confidence? Cultures shift, but God’s Word never changes. And Christ Himself promised, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
I believe that promise. And I look to the coming years with faith-filled anticipation.
Lancaster Baptist Church, we’ve seen a small fraction of what God can do. Let us continue to co-labor with Him in His building of the greatest work on earth—the local church.
Let’s continue to preach the gospel and obey the Great Commission. Let’s thoroughly saturate our community with the gospel. Let’s keep soulwinning and discipling and sending missionaries. Let’s keep building together with Christ!
Fellow Pastors, we do serve in uncertain times. But we also serve a great God. From a moment of reflective celebration in God’s goodness, may I encourage you to continue building as well?
I know that sometimes it’s more difficult than you ever dreamed. I know that the progress isn’t always immediately apparent. In fact, sometimes there are long stretches when you wonder if you are making progress at all.
I challenge you, however, to lay hold on Christ’s promise, “I will build my church,” and to strengthen your hands for this good work. Keep building, and God will bless your labor.
Lancaster Baptist Church, thank you for the journey. And now today, on our twenty-ninth anniversary, we look forward in faith because we have a promise that is unshakable and serve a God who is unstoppable:
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.—Matthew 16:18