Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
As I thought back over the past year of ministry at Calvary East, this verse from Hebrews came to mind. The author places it right after a verse on following the example of your spiritual leaders and right before a verse on rejecting false teaching and being strengthened by grace. The idea is that our conduct and our beliefs must both be grounded in the unchanging character of Jesus. He is the foundation for all Christians past, present, and future. This year several events in the life of our church family have helped us look to the past and to the future.
Last fall we devoted eight Sunday mornings to a study of church history. Steve Huyck taught on the Apostles Creed, and I focused on the Protestant Reformation that began five hundred years ago. Martin Luther and others called the Church back to a biblical understanding of God’s saving grace, and we saw how relevant that truth continues to be for us today. We must remain anchored in the essential truths of the gospel.
We must also remain committed to spreading that gospel, and the funeral of one of our members drove that lesson home for me. Sam Befus began attending Calvary East with his wife, Pat, in 2011. During World War II, Sam served in the military in the South Pacific, but soon after the war he went to Japan as a missionary with the Pocket Testament League. Over a 20-year period Sam and Pat served in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and then returned to the United States to serve in pastoral ministry for another 35 years! We must carry on Sam’s legacy of faithfully sharing God’s truth with people who have never heard it.
Other events helped us look to the future. On June 4, 2017, Tommy King began his ministry at Calvary East as our worship director. As a recent graduate from WMU, Tommy helped us develop a connection with CRU (formerly Campus Crusade), and in September we adopted Anthony Trobeck into our missionary family. Anthony is also a recent WMU graduate who now serves with CRU discipling students and spreading the gospel on campus. We have focused on ministering to children and youth, but moving forward we must focus on reaching, equipping, and encouraging young adults.
A lot of churches seem to gravitate one way or the other. They hold to the past and never look forward, or they look to the future and lose all connection to the past. My prayer is that we would grow in both a deep sense of our connectedness with other Christ followers throughout history and a creativity and innovation that is quick to adapt in proclaiming the gospel of Christ today and in the future. May we exhibit the unchanging character of Christ in all that we say and do!
– Bryan Craddock
from the Calvary East 2017-2018 Annual Report