“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to
see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Matthew 5:14-16 This above passage is what came to mind when I thought about our church family over the last year. It is incredible to think that Jesus, the Light of the World, came down to earth and gave His life for us. In doing so, He has empowered us with that same light, and he has commissioned us to take that light into the dark spaces of our homes, communities and everywhere we do life. Christ mentions that our light is the good deeds we do, acts of love, truth and compassion. These will draw people to the Father and others will be compelled to praise our God, the one true God. It is important we realise what our light does, it does not shine on our good deeds. Therefore we are not serving to draw attention to ourselves. No, these good deeds illuminate the very Grace and Glory of our Father in heaven. We are such a blessed people, so blessed to know and be in relationship with the Creator of all things. This relationship inspires us to go and share that love with those around us by loving and serving them. We at Elizabeth Church of Christ have been doing that. I am so honoured and challenged by your love for community. I wanted to take a few moments and reflect on a few things we have done this year. My hope is to encourage you and inspire you with your willingness to be the Light to those around you. One of the first things that stands out to me is our willingness to help those in need. If there is someone in our community that is doing it tough, you step up and provide so much blessing. You are willing to donate goods if they are needed, you are willing to give of your time to go and help people with their property, you are even willing to have a chat and a coffee if just a listening ear is needed. I have seen our Acts 6 ministry take a lead role in this area and I believe we have only started to scratch the surface of what is to come in the area of supporting our community needs. I am also inspired by your willingness to see a need and create a ministry to care for those areas. I think about Tough Love. This ministry was started because someone saw a group of people who needed support and care. We now have a great ministry that will support one another when they are stressed with family members who are struggling with addiction or mental health. Café Hope is another area that is so supportive of those doing life tough. I know we have had Café Hope running for a while, but I have watched this year as God continued to grow the ministry to a deeper level of impact. I can’t count the amount of meals we have given away or the amount of conversations that have taken place in the café. People are not just finding a place to get help, they are finding a community to belong to. A place they can
come and be valued and value those around them. Café Hope also has a remarkable discipling tool, they are teaching Work for the Dole volunteers about life skills and job responsibilities. The café team are also walking with high school students who are in the FLO program. This program is for kids who don’t fit the mould of a normal student, individuals who have been given up on by the school system. But the Café is part of empowering them, entrusting them with work, and encouraging them as they have ago. I don’t think we will ever realise the impact this could have on these students. What a light of Christ that is shining through this ministry. I would take up pages in this little article if I tried to write about all the various groups that are shining the Light of Christ, but you can read more about them in their articles in this report. Here is a brief synopsis of some of these groups: - Talk-N- Do who just celebrated 40 years of ministry to our area. What an accomplishment! - The Boomerang Centre that provides good practical needs through its service, as well supporting many who are dealing with Domestic Violence. - MOPS who have seen more mums coming along this year. They continue to offer a place of rest, support and encouragement to these young mums. - Girls Brigade who continue to offer young girls practical life skills and an understanding of who God really is. They too are dealing with tough families and endeavouring to support them through life’s battles. - KIDS Ministry which continues to grow and bless families. We have certainly seen an increase in young families who find our family focus comforting and encouraging to their needs. - Youth Ministry has seen a change this year with Ben and Anni moving into Streetlight, but Riley has come on board and done a fantastic job of keeping the group together and focused on growing in Christ. - Streetlight continues to flourish. Ben and Anni took a huge step of faith this year and I see God’s light shining so bright. I am very honoured they have continued on as part of our church family. I am also so encouraged with how you as a church have supported them on this journey. I know the Matthew passage above is a scripture that Ben was challenged with some time ago, and it is the reason they are out doing what they are doing. God is at work, and it is going to be great to keep journeying with Streetlight and supporting what God is doing through them. - Prayer Ministry is growing even stronger in our church. We are seeing groups gather in prayer and taking action steps to bless their streets and communities. - Connect Groups are such a key part of our ability to shine the Light of Jesus. Our groups are digging into the word but are also looking for more practical ways to impact their communities. We have also seen a few new groups started this year! The last area that I want to highlight is Volunteers. All of the ministries above are led and supported by many people like you. They volunteer their time to help the Light of the World permeate the community. Along with the ministries listed above we have people who give their time in the office administration. We have a group that come each Monday
and spend hours doing maintenance of our facility. We have people who lead worship, run ppt and sound desk. We have those who are on committees like GMT, LMT, Management and Eldership. But it doesn’t stop there! All of you also shine your light in various other ways. Whether it be through your workplace, your homes, communities or even the local shops. Our light is not funnelled through the local church programs, it is illustrated in our everyday life. I truly believe we are on a journey of seeing a greater immersing with God’s light, because you don’t just come to church or serve through the church ministries, you are the church and you are going out loving people and leading them toward Christ. It is this light that is drawing people to praise our Father in Glory. You are all part of the process of God’s Marvellous light shining into the darkness all around us. I want to say thank you. Thank you for not allowing your light, the light of Christ, to be hidden. Thank you for standing tall in your sphere of influence and shining his light of hope and truth so brightly.