This month, we as a church family will celebrate our 30th Anniversary. We will mark this special event with much fanfare including a cruise and a powerful service on Sept 28th at 11:15 A.M. Our LORD has been so very good to us we just can’t help but praise Him and dedicate ourselves to His service.
When we say we are celebrating 30 years of doing something for the Lord a very natural question arises: “Just what exactly have we been doing?” The short answer is… A LOT. The long answer would require a book. For the purpose of this article I want to identify five things we have been and will continue to do for the Lord. We have embraced these things for the last thirty years because we believe they are God’s priorities for His church.
From our very beginning, our church; Calvary Chapel, has been doing something and that something has been proclaiming the life-changing message of salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our efforts have taken many different forms. We’ve gone door to door in our communities, been involved in evangelistic crusades and sponsored all kinds of specialized events for all kinds of people. In addition, we have given people of all ages the opportunity to give their heart to Christ through the work of the various ministries of Calvary. Something that we’ve been doing for thirty years is evangelizing.
In addition to outreach, from day one at Calvary we have been involved in the process of the discipleship of believers. The something we have been doing in this area is training the followers of Jesus Christ on how to be followers of Jesus Christ. This process involves Bible classes for young and old. It has involved systematic teaching from Calvary’s pulpit. In recent years, it has taken a more formal shape in the form of The New York Institute for Biblical Studies, the Bible Institute we founded for the purpose of equipping God’s people for God’s service in the 21st Century. Something we have been doing for thirty years is equipping believers.
In a city as large as New York it is easy to feel lost and uncared for. Calvary, from its earliest years, has sought to provide the warmth and Christian fellowship that we all greatly need. We’ve tried to be more than an army of workers. We have endeavored to be the family God has called us to be. We’ve supported one another in our losses and honored one another in our wins. We’ve worked together, we’ve wept together, we’ve rejoiced together and we’ve eaten together, my oh my, have we eaten together. This whole process is called building one another up or edification. Something we have been doing for thirty years is edifying.
What our world needs is Jesus Christ. The people of our world need His salvation. They also need His healing and restoration. God refers to His church as “the body of Christ”. If I understand this correctly, Calvary Chapel is to be the arms, the feet, the ears, the mouth and the heart of Jesus Christ to our city, our borough, our neighborhood, and our world. For thirty years, we have sought to be the embodiment of Jesus locally by feeding the hungry through food distributions, by supporting and counseling the hurting, by honoring neighborhood heroes – firefighters, cops and teachers, and by standing for and with the most vulnerable, the unborn. We have sought to be Jesus to our world by regularly supporting ministry partners in several foreign countries and by sending Calvary teams on ministry trips to Haiti, Mississippi, and New Orleans. In short, we have sought to embody what it means to be the body of Christ. Calvary has been, for almost every moment of its existence, multi-ethnic, just like the churches in the New Testament were. This, we believe, has enabled us to embody Christ to all people regardless of their ethnicity or culture. Something we have been doing for thirty years is embodying.
Calvary Chapel was not founded for the glory of any individual or group. Our Church is God’s Church and it was founded for His glory. Our awesome LORD is what it is all about. In every service, imperfect as we may be, we have sought to point not at ourselves but to the One who has done so much for us. Whatever we have done we have sought to do for the glory of God. It is His name we want exalted above everything else. Something we have been doing for thirty years is exalting.
Evangelizing those without Christ, equipping those with Christ, edifying fellow believers, embodying what it means to be the body of Christ to our world and exalting the living and true God. Linking arms and hands together to accomplish God’s purposes…this is what we have endeavored to do for thirty years. Thanks for celebrating with us. By His grace and strength might we do something for at least for 30 more years.
In His Service,