First Baptist Church Henryville can look back on 2011 with thanksgiving. There have been struggles, changes, and tragedies, yet through it all our fellowship has been grounded on the life-giving hope of an unchanging gospel. Because of that gospel our church has seen a year of bright hope and promise. Lives have been changed. The story of Christ, his cross, and his love for people has been proclaimed faithfully. Our members have been involved in missions, ministry, service, and as always our focus has been the joy that is ours in Jesus Christ. 2011 has been a very good year.
As we bring 2011 to a close and look ahead into 2012 we are excited as we anticipate all that God will do over the coming months. The next year will bring new sermon series, new Sunday School emphases, new missions opportunities, and new ways for the gospel to be proclaimed to our town, state, and world. 2012 will have youth events, women’s conferences, new Bible studies, new sermon series, and of course the big mission trip to Honduras. Along the way there will be some regular and traditional events, as well as some sorrows, sadness, and pain that are graciously unknown to us today. In the midst of the new, the old, and the painful our church will be upheld by the good news of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. 2011 has been good, but we hopefully expect that 2012 will be even better, and so as one year passes into another we want to celebrate the unchanging gospel that has given and will continue to give us hope.
2011 will close focused on the story of Christmas. Beginning on December 11, Pastor Toby will be preaching a three-sermon series entitled The Message of the Manger: Following the Star to the Cross of Christ. On December 21st during our Wednesday Worship, we will leave the church and go into the community for a night of caroling. On Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) our annual Candle Light Service will prepare our hearts for the message of a God who entered our world as a tiny baby. Then on Christmas Day (a Sunday this year) we will begin our worship time with a special church-wide Sunday School hour (beginning at 9:45 am) entitled “Breakfast in Bethlehem.” Breakfast will obviously be served, and we will unwrap the greatest gift our world has even been given, a gift delivered not in a silvery sleigh but in a humble and dirty stable. After breakfast we will go upstairs (at 11:00 am) for the last Sunday Morning Worship of 2011.
And then, just a few days later we will ring in 2012 with a weekend of exciting worship. On New Years Eve (Saturday, December 31st) we will gather (at the church) for a time of fellowship, fun, and worship. A few hours later we will return on New Years Day as we gather for our weekly Sunday Morning Worship Service. 2012 will begin exactly where it should begin, with God’s people meeting together in worship. That service will kick-off a brand new sermon series (The Power and the Glory) that will be fully unveiled that morning. That night during our evening worship (6:15) we will gather as a local church for a time of singing, worship, and celebration as we give thanks in song for what God has done in 2011 and our only hope as we step into 2012.
We hope that you can be a part of all these exciting weekend worship services. We hope that you’ll invite your friends and family. We hope most of all, however, that as one year ends and another begins, that you will focus your heart and commit yourself not simply to new resolutions (which may be forgotten by March) but to the only source of hope, joy, peace, and life – not a new message of novelty but to an old, unchanging, and glorious gospel of a crucified yet risen savior. He will make all the difference in 2012 and forever.