Pastor Cam’s Report – 2018

          Jewish theologian A.J. Heschel once said “words create worlds.” Church innovator Mike Breen says “language creates culture.” Sociologist David Brinkerhoff writes “a common language is often the most obvious outward sign that people share a common culture…languages not only symbolize our culture but also help create a framework in which culture develops.” What this means is words influence us on how we see reality. 

Looking back in time, 2017 could have been described as “formative.” In January 2017 we adopted new bylaws, we moved Ministry Council to monthly meetings to help form and fuel our ministry endeavors. We shored up our values and what it means to be a church in revitalization. The word for 2018 was “togetherness.” It describes our approach to all the things we did this past year. Our aim was togetherness: to lead, teach, and make disciples through shared values. We declared that we can’t “do church” alone.  We embraced community and the family values of the Christian faith.
In 2018 we saw an increase in collaborated team effort. More people coming out of their shell and operating in their gifting. We saw a variety of gifts and graces on display. Different “spheres of ministry” colliding together, achieving common goals. A great example is the amazingly successful VBS. Or how about the recreation of the Gathering Place?  In last year’s pastoral report I wrote, “Togetherness is our vanguard.” We are better together. And we will continue to run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Together we will fix our eyes on Jesus. We will go wherever our King goes.

So this leads to the introduction of our word for 2019: “exposure.” It was the end of summer, and I was eating lunch with a group of pastors at Taylor’s Café in Roxborough. During that lunch, the word “exposure” crashed into my mind. It was channeled right into my brain.  

One definition of “exposure” is the experience of something. The act of causing a thing to be liable to another thing, like danger or weather. It is also a photography term, meaning the act of letting film experience light. But for me on that summer day at Taylor’s, it was a missional term.
The mental image I have for a church body getting exposure, is like a tree reaching its branches towards the sun, sprawling upward so the leaves can receive more light. Jesus says every good tree bears good fruit. And in order to bear fruit, the tree needs to remain in Jesus. So as a church organism, rooted and abiding in Jesus—we will stretch and sprawl, take holy risks, and be exposed to the missional reality that is all throughout the suburbs. Jesus wants this church to bear fruit—and expose ourselves to be his disciples (see Matthew 7:15-20; John 15:1-8). God has been doing some amazing things in and around PMC. But I do sense a challenge from God. A sense of adventurous obedience. Like, even if we don’t have a parachute, if God says jump—just keep jumping.

My challenge is this: 2019 is for the young at heart. And that has nothing to do with age. I’m calling on the saints of Plymouth Meeting E.C. Church to dig in deep with your spirits burning and take holy risks. Dream big. Pray big. Dance to the beat of the King’s marching band. 2019 is the year of the King—He is leading the way!

A few things to say: we are becoming less “Sunday morning-centric;” that is, we have more gatherings throughout the week, and that is a good thing! We’ll continue to update and renovate our buildings. We’ll continue to explore worship arts. We’ll get out and do more missional service projects and events in our area. Love takes risks. And together, we will raise up healthy believers and proclaim Jesus to a hurting world. Long live the young at heart!