My life was greatly impacted by Bill Bright, a godly visionary used mightily by the Lord. One of his quotes that I have in my study is:
“There is nothing too big for us to attempt for the glory of God. If our hearts and motives are pure, if what we do is according to the Word of God, He hears and is able to do more than we ask or even think. … If we ever plan to do anything for Christ and His kingdom, we must do it now. We cannot be casual or indifferent about our task.”
For many months the elders of the church have been seeking the Lord about what He would have us attempt for the glory of God over the next two years. We feel an urgency to act now without casualness or indifference.
The Lord is calling us to engage in a fight for the supremacy of Christ over our lives. It’s a fight against the temptations to control our lives, to stay in our comfort zones, to maximize our security. As followers of Jesus, will we step into the ring, lace up our gloves and fight to make Him the highest priority in our lives?
As a church, we embrace the earliest creed: Jesus is Lord. He, and He alone, is unrivaled. He is second to none, better than all, incomparable, unsurpassed – He has no equal. Colossians 1:18 tells us, “He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent.”
Our response to the Unrivaled One, Jesus, is to stay in the fight by surrendering fully to Him, stepping out in faith, and growing in generosity.
These are traits Jesus embodied. And these are the same qualities in which He is challenging us to grow.
When I was a university student, I remember praying that the gospel would reach out to the 2.4 billion people on the planet. Today, our world is made up of over 7.6 billion people. Of that sea of humanity, over 3 billion have not heard the good news of Jesus. In Anne Arundel and Talbot counties alone, 470,000 do not know Jesus as personal Savior and Lord. As a church, we are compelled by the words of Jesus to “go and make disciples of all nations.”
The truth is that each of us could live in any area of the world, during any time period. Yet God in His providence has brought us together, drawn us to Himself and led us to the same church. We believe He has placed each of us in this unique season at Bay Area to have a specific impact. God has been faithful. He has matured and grown us as a family of believers. And He has much more for us as a church to do. The time is now – time to step into the ring and continue the fight to make the unrivaled One preeminent. He is calling us to take our surrender, faith and generosity to new levels.
Over the next two years, we’re embarking on a faith-stretching initiative called Unrivaled. Unrivaled is our partnership with God’s Spirit to attempt something big for the glory of God. Unrivaled involves three primary areas of focus.
First, we want to continue to see God work mightily through our current ministries. What are the ministries that you love at Bay Area? Perhaps it’s the student or children’s ministry. Maybe it’s your Missional Community, Women’s Ministry, our weekend gatherings, emphasis on global missions, our marriage ministry, prayer ministry or the opportunities to serve. Whatever it is, we want to continue to believe God to grow and work mightily through all our current ministries.
Next is our unwavering resolve to invest in children and students. In October of 2016, we launched The Descendants Project, our commitment to enlarge our student ministry and children’s spaces. As the construction continues, this vision is becoming a reality! Through the faithful giving of many households, over $2.6M has been given toward this dream. Unrivaled continues our commitment to fund this project that will impact thousands of children and students in the days ahead.
And finally, we are asking God for much more. We believe He wants to expand His kingdom in even greater ways through us. This vision of expanded impact involves launching two to three new campuses, equipping more pastoral residents, increasing our giving to local and global partnerships, improving our traffic flow issues, launching a Saturday evening gathering in Annapolis, relocating to a larger gathering space in Easton, and much more.
We believe that this vision is from God, and we are trusting Him to bring it about for His glory.
Our hope is to draw our church family’s gaze upon the unrivaled glory of Jesus. Flowing out of a renewed vision of who Jesus is, we will challenge each other to surrender afresh, respond in faith, and take the next step of generosity. The result will be God using Bay Area to mightily further the mission He has for us as a church over the next 24 months.
We are praying for 100 percent engagement – that every single person at Bay Area would engage the fight for surrender, faith and generosity by asking what it means to put God first. That’s our primary goal.
Our secondary goal is threefold:
First, we want to continue our commitment to making disciples through our ongoing ministries. Our current combined annual budget for Annapolis and Easton is $5.5 million. Over two years, continuing all that we currently do will cost $11 million.
The second area is our children and students. Unrivaled reflects our ongoing commitment to investing in children and students through the expansion of our new student and children’s ministry spaces in the amount of $3 million.
The third area of investment is the expanded impact God has for us. We’re asking God to provide $2.5 million to expand our impact from Annapolis and Easton to around the world.
We are asking God to provide a total of $16.5 million throughout this two-year leg of our journey of generosity called Unrivaled.
God is going to do amazing things, greater than we could ask or imagine, in the days ahead! $16.5 million is a big faith goal. Yet we know that God is faithful. He owns it all, and calls us to respond in faith as He leads.
I close by reminding us that we don’t fight alone. God wants to do a powerful work in each of us. He wants us to fully surrender and trust the unrivaled One by making Him preeminent in our lives. We know that the bond of control, misplaced trust and security keeps us in the safe zone. Yet we as a church want to see God glorified by stretching and using us mightily to advance His kingdom.
My prayer is that every single one of us will join the fight. On behalf of the elders, I’m asking you to pray about how God would have you give generously in order to make an impactful financial commitment toward the vision He has given Bay Area. We’re not stepping into the ring alone. We’re lacing up to fight for surrender, faith and generosity alongside the One who is preeminent, incomparable – Unrivaled.