Dear Brother and Sisters,
Grace and peace to you in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and Praise the Lord! As I am sure you know by now, our Session, in light of Governor Ivey’s Declaration, has approved the 2021 Summer Worship/Ministry Transition Plan. You will notice there is no longer any need to use Interim nor the need to put a letter from the alphabet behind Plan. The key word is “transition.”
For the last 15 months our leadership has attempted to keep us intentionally, effectively and safely… On Mission, On Message and In Ministry. Some might ask,” Well Pastor, can’t we just go back to normal?” The simple answer is “Not yet” for a number of reasons.
For instance, In the Providence of God as we have attempted to remain faithful as a Great Commission Church attempting by God’s grace to live within a Great Commandment culture where we “love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves.” The Lord has opened up a number of ministry strategies, venues and opportunities. For instance, our Lord’s Day media ministry footprint has been expanded, Today in Perspective Podcast as well as Fresh Bread devotionals have geometrically expanded and at one time were being heard in every State as well as on 6 continents. To God be the Glory!
So, how can we continue to use this outreach tool while affirming the primacy of gathered worship? We have established communication instruments that are not substitutes for gathered fellowship, Bible Study and meetings but can supplement and enhance such efforts. We have and are finding means that allow us to love those who are medically vulnerable with intentional, effective and safe ministry while confidently trusting the Lord yet not carelessly tempting the Lord.
So, it’s not simply “normal” that we are returning to in August but a “new normal” and hopefully even more effective “normal” to fulfill our Biblical Mission with our Biblical Message through our Biblical Ministries. Affirming and expanding the joy of gathered worship on the Lord’s Day, shepherding people with personal contact while taking advantage of new communication instruments will make us by God’s grace even more effective as…
“For God’s glory Briarwood is committed to equipping Christians to worship God and to reach Birmingham to reach the world for Christ.”
Brother and Sisters, the challenge from the world to the church is before us. The need to address the issues within the professing evangelical church is also before us. But the Word of God is inerrant and sufficient, the Spirit of God is powerfully present and the Glory of God is our greatest delight as we evangelize the lost, equip believers and edify one another. Our confidence is in our Savior who saves his people at the Cross and has promised us “I will “build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
I want to thank the sacrificial, servant-hearted leadership of Briarwood Elders, Deacons, Pastoral staff as well as the Support Staff for your Christ-honoring labor over these last 16 months. I want to thank the fellowship and membership of the Briarwood family for your persistence, patience, intercessory prayers and commitment to “press on” in your commitment to honor the Lord, love one another well and be “the Salt of the Earth” and “the Light of the World“ during “this present distress” which soon God willing, will be in our rearview mirror. So let’s “press on” as we “rescue the perishing,” and proclaim Jesus “Who is merciful to save.”
I say it often but I don’t say it enough! It is a privilege to serve the Lord with all of you! So one final request. Please join me in intercessory prayer that we will not only enjoy and take advantage of the “Summer Transition Plan” but anticipate with joy the opportunities which the Lord has, is and will open for us to serve Him as we “Lift High the Cross” ….
On Mission, On Message and In Ministry.
For Christ, The Gospel and His Church,
Harry L. Reeder, III