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Hey, Mt. Carmel Family! Good Tuesday afternoon! I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! 

Because many within our church family are still not able to connect on a weekly basis with the gathering of the church, I wanted to let you know what was shared last Sunday morning. With the holiday weekend, I know many were unable to join in-person or online—but since the service had such a direct focus on the future of ministry at Mt. Carmel, I wanted to offer a brief summary of what was shared on Sunday.  

After the celebration of 4 baptisms, I asked Pastor Mike and Gordon DeMeritt to share the message time with me as we discussed becoming the disciple-making church that Jesus would desire us to be. Since “making disciples” is the summary of the Great Commission left to the disciples of Jesus, we want to make sure that everything we do—and how we do everything—emphasizes our calling as disciple-makers of King Jesus. 

Gordon started off by explaining that being a Scriptural disciple of Christ means more than simply being a student of Jesus—but also a follower of Jesus. What he shared hit home in my heart because I often find contentment in learning more truths about Jesus—without practically applying those truths to become someone who lives more like Jesus. (After the service, one man told me John Maxwell often teaches that most Christians have a level of knowledge that exceeds our level of obedience.) 

Pastor Mike then shared that disciple-making begins primarily with relationships. Discipling is less about a book—or a program—and more about being with the teacher. He referenced Mark 3 where Jesus called His disciples to be “with Him” first—before sending them out two-by-two. It is in the messiness of relationships where many of the greatest lessons of life are learned. 

Later, Gordon used Isaiah 58 as a text to show how God dismisses our acts of religion (sacrifices, fasting)—when we fail to care for the specific needs in front of us. In a true spiritual fast, we not only avoid food for ourselves, but we look to feed the hungry in front of us. What I found convicting was how many Christians (myself included) often assume the responsibility of caring for the needs of others is for the corporate church. But Jesus calls us as individual followers to care for these needs—as if we are caring for Jesus Himself. It was noted that we often allow our duty in caring for the poor is stop at the giving of offerings for the church to care for the poor. But—just as Jesus did for us—we are called to get in the messy situations of the people to whom God leads us (like the Good Samaritan). 

And then Pastor Mike reminded us that God equips each of us with spiritual gifts. And I was challenged by the way he explained from Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 that those spiritual gifts are first and foremost for the Body of Christ. We are gifted to strengthen the Body. God will give us opportunities to help or serve others—which in turn builds relationships. And God equips us for those opportunities with spiritual gifts—which in turn builds His church. I loved it! 

I closed the service by sharing that we will be starting our Life Groups on September 20. We will be starting 2 Sunday morning Life Groups, 2 Sunday evening Life Groups, and 2 midweek evening Life Groups. These groups will be meeting every other week. All these groups will be covering the same material, so there is no need to attend more than one. Our desire is for you to attend the Life Group that best fits into the rhythm of your life. (I’ll send the details of who is teaching and where as soon as those are all finalized.) 

I also mentioned that because of COVID, every ministry has been shut down for many months. Because of this, we cannot take for granted that our former servants are still able and wanting to serve. So rather than starting a ministry—and then asking for volunteers, we will be bringing back ministry opportunities as we have people to whom we can minister and people to do the ministering. But I do not want this to be a guilt-laden appeal—rather, we are just asking each person to exercise their spiritual gifts for the Body wherever they will find the most joy. (And we had some volunteer cards that were filled out. Thank you, Church, for the excellent response!) 

Our Kids’ Ministry and Nursery will start on September 20 as well during the time our Life Groups are meeting (10-11 a.m.). They will also be meeting every other week—along with the schedule of our adult Life Groups. We will add more Kids’ Church and Nursery opportunities as we have those whose hearts are moved to exercise their spiritual gifts in these different areas. 

I will send an online form for those who were unable to join us Sunday to allow us to update your personal information—and for you to share how Jesus would lead you to exercise your spiritual gifts for His Body here at Mt. Carmel! (But I have to create the online form first. I’ll send it when I’m done. :) It may be tomorrow.)  

I’m sorry for the length of this e-mail, but I really did want to make sure everyone was kept up-to-date with what is taking place. I also wanted you to know what is happening these next two weeks: 

This Sunday, September 13, Pastor Archie Webster will be preaching for us—and his church family will be joining us at 11:00. 

Next Sunday, September 20, we will be pausing to pray for all our school teachers/staff, administrators, students, and parents on Back-to-School Sunday. We will be doing this at both services.  

If I can be of any help to you, please do not hesitate to let me know. I love you—and I love serving Jesus with you here at Mt. Carmel! All we are doing—even these little details—are all for us to see the true glory of Jesus! He is all we truly need! Jesus, Only Jesus! Have a blessed day! 

Pastor Brian