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The Next Step
by Steven Hieronymus, elder on August 25th, 2011

The next step can be one of excitement, yet it can sometimes be daunting and a bit scary as well. I realize that the previous sentence is a bit generic, but it is applicable to most any situation. Many of our kids have just begun a new next step with respect to their schooling and some of our parents are now taking the next step to another phase of life. Many of us also might be taking new steps in our career, or other personal goals.

With respect to life within our church body we too are making ready for the next step. Over this past year our leadership recognized a weakness in the area of personal evangelism and we brought forward a vision to correct this weakness; a vision that our church body has endorsed and supported as we applied resources toward investigating and strategy development to better incorporate evangelism and evangelistic opportunity into the life of our church. There is, or should be, a balance to the Christian life that is being conformed to the image of Christ, thus the need to ensure our engagement in sharing the Gospel message.

Soon you will be hearing more about our “next steps”, but I ask you now to be seeking the Lord, to discern His thoughts as to how you are doing in the area of sharing your personal story of graced received. Remember what I said above – excitement, daunting & scary. You can now insert these words again, as you might open yourself to what the Lord might reveal to you.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was reminded of my own weakness in being properly aware of opportunities. I think I have shared before that I live in Canyon Creek and I spend a fair amount of time walking my dog around the neighborhood. I have met many people over the years and developed some degree of relationship with many, or at least with their dogs. At any rate one man that I have known for at least eight years, spending time in the park as our two labs played, recently zinged me pretty good. It was a Saturday morning and we had not seen each other over the past number of months, but we ran into each other and stopped to talk for a moment. This time I said something about our church and he quickly let me know that they were members of another sister church in the area. I have friends that attend and inquired as to whether he might happen to know them. He then told me that his family only attended services and did not really know anyone in the church. I then began to share how having a church family is so important and how valuable it had been to me over the years. As I was speaking he was looking at me intently and paying close attention. He then said the following words to me – “How come you have never spoken about this to me before”? I used the word “zing” above, but that really doesn’t do it justice. I generally consider myself as being pretty bold and am open about my faith, yet here was a guy, that turned out to be a believer, that really shook me - hard. How many people could ask me the same question? How many of them might have their all is well Canyon Creek facade on their face, but really be lost and seeking behind this mask? How many opportunities have I overlooked over the years?

I suspect that my story might also be your story as well. Will you join me as we prepare to take these next steps; confessing our fears, seeking support for the challenges and of course sharing the exciting stories that are sure to come.

Psalms 26: 6-7 – “I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O Lord, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.”

Please let me know your thoughts and your stories.

Steven Hieronymus

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