This year marks a very special anniversary for our church – 20 years of ministry! Church-planting experts tell us that as many as 80% of church plants fail within the first year. For any new ministry to survive the first year, much less make it to 20 years, is a testimony to God’s wonderful blessings on this body, as well as the leadership and vision of those who came before us.
As I was reflecting on this milestone, I couldn’t help but think about all that has happened in the last 20 years. It was November, 1993 when a small gathering of believers held their first public worship service in the cafeteria at Northside Elementary. There was no church building. As you can see in the picture, folks sat in plastic lunchroom chairs that had to be rearranged every Sunday morning. Northside Baptist Church was officially born!
Gas was a little more than $1/gallon. It only cost $4 to go see Jurassic Park at the movies. Bill Clinton was president and the World Wide Web was “invented.” Windows 3.1 was released and Beanie Babies were flying off the shelves! Bosnia and Herzegovina were embroiled in conflict and Branch Davidians of Waco Texas were headline news.
Twenty years later, the world has certainly changed – not just in economic ways or in technological advancement; but in spiritual, moral, and ethical beliefs and attitudes. These changes in our culture have had an impact on the methods that churches use to engage their community. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the message that is proclaimed. Twenty years, two-hundred years, or two-thousand years, the message of the perfect Son of God – crucified, buried, and resurrected – is still the only hope that a lost and dying world can find. It was on that message that the early church built a foundation that would fundamentally change the world. It was that message that would ensure that Northside would thrive and grow. And it is that same message that we continue to cling to as we continue to fulfill the Lord’s calling to make disciples – across the street and around the world!
Over the next 12 months, we will revisit some of the exciting moments of our 20-year history, culminated by our 20-year Anniversary Celebration in November. If you’re new to our church, we welcome you, and invite you to be a part of what God is doing at Northside. If you’ve been around a while, my prayer is that you will share my enthusiasm as we take the lessons we’ve learned from our past and look forward to an exciting future.