When I became the pastor at Emmanuel in 2002, we had already joyfully embraced the vision to construct a new auditorium at a cost of over $2.5 million. That loan was finalized in March 2004 in what was, in effect, a 30-year note. By God's goodness and the sacrifice of His people, this Sunday we will finish paying that debt...about 23 1/2 years ahead of schedule.
During the last 6 1/2 years, by the Lord's grace, we have also purchased about 13 additional acres, built a large preschool annex, converted the office area to house some additional nursery rooms, bought the old Farmers' and Builders' Supply building, renovated it in 2009 for our student ministry, and constructed a new administration building. That doesn't include the growing budget in other areas as we've expanded our missions and ministry base. That's just a little of the brick-and-mortar side!
All of this effort has been a testament to God's grace and His hand on our fellowship. Humanly speaking, thanks goes to the faithful membership at EBC. Your systematic giving has been an outward manifestation of your love for our Lord. I also owe a personal word of gratitude to my friend and predecessor, Dr. Don Hattaway. He ministered here for nearly a decade and left a strong healthy church. And he and I both have been privileged to reap where many faithful pastors and members plowed and sowed before we ever came along.
So...this Sunday in celebration of our Lord's birth, I plan to give a gift of gratitude to put "The 2010 Vision" over the top. And I am humbled to have the privilege of doing so.