Photo by Henry de Saussure Copeland.

Dear St. Andrew’s Family,

Sometime this week, for the second time in a year, our clergy and the administrative staff that assist us will relocate our offices to a mobile office unit in our parking lot.  Dwight, bringing a sense of merriment to yet another stressful experience, has suggested we set up remote cameras in the trailers and start a reality show called, “Churched.”

As prep for our move I am going through those things of mine that survived the fire to see what will survive this move.

Among the few things I found was a portion of the Search Profile that the Vestry developed when they called me to be the Rector of St. Andrew’s.  As I read through it I was reminded of what attracted Jacqui and me to St. Andrew’s. We discovered that St. Andrew’s wanted to become,

  • A teaching center, living under the authority of Scripture and calling people to new life in Christ.
  • A place of spiritual renewal, welcoming the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit.
  • A church where people could grow in relationship with one another and the Lord.
  • A church that was growing in mission and evangelism.

And we wanted to be a part of that.

So the Vestry and I laid out a few simple goals in those early years – goals that would turn out to give us shape and context to this very day:

  • We prayed that God would bring many people to faith in Jesus Christ.
  • We prayed that people might be filled and refilled with the Holy Spirit.
  • We prayed that we would become more outwardly focused.
  • We prayed that we would make children and families a priority.
  • We prayed that we would be able to equip every member of the church to live out their faith in their homes, and in their neighborhoods, and at work.
  • We prayed that we would become a church that if we ceased to exist all of Mt. Pleasant would feel our absence.

And over the years God has blessed us.

We’ve grown, certainly numerically, but also in Christ.  Faithful and gifted leaders have been raised up. We developed and launched LifeGroups. We started a Men’s Ministry to complement our Women’s Ministry. We sent out missionaries.  We had one international mission partnership and now we’ve established deep mission partnerships in 10 countries. We’ve partnered with OneWorld Health and Water Mission to bring both practical assistance and the gospel to those in need across the globe. We’ve been blessed to walk alongside Drawing Near to God and Life Resources and Alpha South Carolina and Young Life and Fellowship of Christian Athletes and more recently, CanCare.  We’ve established congregations in Charleston and North Charleston.  We’ve helped plant churches across the Carolinas.

But this past year has been a year unlike any other.  And as I’ve said in sermons recently, I would not trade this year for any other.  Why? Because we’ve seen God’s faithfulness in ways that we never would have otherwise. The Lord is bringing beauty out of ashes.  A wonderful future has opened up before us and the Holy Spirit is pushing us out of a comfortable past into an uncomfortable present as we anticipate a future of new life and opportunities.

I am sure you have experienced this, but there is a real spiritual hunger in our culture – in our city. People are looking for something tangible.  Something true. Something lasting. And that is what the church – this church, our church – is meant to be.

People want to know God is real.  And I think the Lord is pushing us, literally, out – to engage a world, a city, a neighborhood, to meet and care for people that are harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.

And so, standing at the threshold of a new ministry year, would you pray with me?

  • Would you pray that we would be a church that connects people the presence of Jesus Christ through the power of the Spirit?
  • Would you pray that God would bring many people to faith in Jesus Christ through our church?
  • Would you pray that all those who consider St. Andrew’s their home might hunger and thirst for God and then be filled – and continuously refilled – with the Holy Spirit?
  • Would you pray that we will be able to raise up and develop more and new leaders?
  • Would you pray that we might nurture Christ-centered families?
  • Would you pray that all of the members in this church – let’s make it personal – would you pray that you will believe that you are called by Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be ministers of the Gospel?
  • Lastly, would you pray that we would make much of Jesus and that His Name would be exalted throughout the Charleston area by our lives and ministry and witness?

With much love in Christ,