The summer of 2017 has proven to be a short summer indeed. I took the last few weeks of July for vacation and my son and I went to the Florida Keys. When my son realized how close we are to the start date of school he began his prominent ten-year-old lament. This primed my thoughts toward the accomplishments over this summer, as well as what is in store for the fall. If you have been at Switzerland Community Church for any length of time, you know that our continued prayer is that the Word of God becomes an unquenchable thirst in the lives of every member. I am continually overwhelmed by the power and beauty within the pages of Scripture. May the passion and excitement of His Word take each of our lives by storm.
Looking back over the summer, the thing that stands out is the way people have come together to celebrate the intensity of the Scriptures. I must be honest with you. When we planned this summer sermon series, we took a few facts into consideration. First, we know from historical experience that summer has the lowest attendance months of the entire year. We figured that our attendance would drop as people traveled for their summer vacations. We also know from historical experience that summer is the time we do not typically see a lot of new people visiting. These of course are not bad things, they are just the typical pattern. This is the reason we thought that we would take the opportunity to teach Scripture on a deeper level. We chose to do a ten-week series that would teach the big-picture structure of the three major prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. If you have ever read through these texts of Scripture, you know that these are tough books to understand. We covered an audacious amount of text in a very short period of time. We did not shy away from the judgment presented by the prophets and we highlighted the hope set for the future. There was nothing shallow about this series. I cannot express the blessing this series has been to me, and I pray the same has been true for you and your family.
This summer series however, proved each of our assumptions untrue. I am convinced that it has to do with the hunger for the true Word of God in those who attend SCC. First, our attendance this summer was not low. As a matter of fact, the attendance reached the highest that I have experienced as pastor of this church. Also, we have been blessed to see more families visiting our church family over the past several months. Please join me and the rest of our staff in praying for them to find the perfect place to worship the Lord in covenant community, and that we welcome them with enthusiasm and the Love of Christ. As we continue to grow our church family, I pray we will continue to make a priority of serving all of those who need our community. As I think back over the summer I realize that, even though the time has seemed short, the Lord has continued to work in a mighty way.
Now that summer is coming to a close, my prayers are turning to the plans for the fall. We will use the weeks of fall to prepare our hearts for the coming King (towards advent). We have decided that the book of Nehemiah will serve as a wonderful preparation for our advent celebration. This book is filled with rich spiritual gold that has the potential to shed light upon the weight of the incarnation. The book of Nehemiah is only thirteen chapters long. We challenge you and your family to read through this text several times this fall in order to mine all of its important spiritual teaching and guidance. May our fall of 2017 be as impactful and blessed as our summer. May the Word of God continue to draw close all whose hearts are prepared to hear. May it also soften those hearts that have been hardened. May the victory of Christ be as vibrant today as it is in eternity.
Pastor Joseph Smith