I was asked recently, “Trey do you have a peace about becoming full time at the church?” I quickly responded, “Like a river!” And, it is so. I have a strong sense that we have made, not only the right decision, but a wise decision. My only concern about this transition is that our congregation might now become a bit too relaxed. We have been on a roll lately and, perhaps, part of our recent success has been due to the realization that without a traditional full-time pastor, other people must carry their load. We have all worked hard and this must continue.
Indeed, the evidence suggests that 2018 was a good year for FBC Ahoskie. Our North Street house is a fully functioning transitional home for women. I was encouraged recently when I ran into one of the women, currently living in the house, at the hospital. I ran into her there because she works at the hospital. We are loving our neighbors and helping our neighbors get on their feet again. In a similar vein, last year we restructured our benevolence outreach. Anna and LaCount Anderson now meet with people from our community, in need of financial assistance of some sort, on Tuesdays from 10am-3pm. They talk with these folks in need, decide if we can assist them or not, and even provide counseling so that they might find themselves in better future circumstances.
Our final 2018 numbers are encouraging. I am pleased that in addition to our revenues exceeding our expenses, we will exceed our budget for 2018 by about $2100. This is a nice development because it means that we did what we said we would do when we agreed to the 2018 budget at the end of 2017. Our average Sunday morning worship participation for 2017 was 160 people. Our average Sunday morning worship participation for 2018 was 175 people. I am confident you are as pleased as I am with our worship participation number moving north by 15 people.
In addition to all of this, there is simply an enthusiastic spirit within our church that is contagious.
While I strive to serve our church well, I remind you of something I said when I was installed as pastor. Our church has existed since 1804. I have been with you since 2017. Our church has done quite well, throughout its history, without me. We were responsible, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, for the successes of 2018.
And now that I serve our church as a traditional full-time pastor, we must continue to work together to love God and to make Christ known in our community and beyond.