When I take the time to look back over the past year, I am always amazed at how much has changed. Churches have so many moving parts and it’s a challenge to keep all the pieces connected. Even though there are ups and downs, God is always faithful. It is hard to believe I have been the Lead Pastor of Roseville Baptist Church for three years. Every bit of this journey has been a blessing. Speaking of blessings, Carina and I welcomed our third child into our family back in August. Makaiah Rose was born on August 6th and is doing great. As you can see, year three has been filled with some deep valleys but also amazingly high mountain tops. As you read this report, my hope is that you will see the blessings of God, in both the valleys and the mountain tops.
First, I would like to start by praising God and thanking Him for all He has accomplished in us and through us this past year. That’s the key; all these mountaintops are a result of God’s power and grace, and most of the time, it is in spite of our failures and shortcomings. The partnership we have with Gospel Hmong Baptist Church is even stronger than it has been in the past. God is causing them to grow and it is a blessing to see firsthand what is happening. Our Hispanic ministry, Iglesia Bautista, is also flourishing. It has grown by leaps and bounds and in July we ordained Xul Perez as Pastor to oversee that ministry. One of the amazing overflows is our monthly bilingual services on the first Sunday night of each month. We have had great participation and it is the most eagerly anticipated service we have. We had fifteen baptisms in the past year and two new member’s classes resulting in twenty-eight new members. Tree of Life Baptist Church, our Burnsville plant, is also making an impact through Pastor Steve Flattum and his family. God is blessing in incredible ways there. We also were overjoyed to welcome back the Cook family from Japan. Last, but certainly not least, we officially brought on Pastor Mike Blahnik, as our new missions pastor. He has been a great addition to our church and such a blessing.
Next, I want to point to God’s faithfulness through the valleys. The toughest thing we have endured this year has been the loss of some of our long term church family members. Don Ross, Joan Mowers and Paul Whittaker had all been members of RBC for decades. Don and Paul had both served as deacons and all three of them had served faithfully on various ministry teams for years. They are greatly missed but we rejoice that Heaven is their home. Our Collegiate Minister, Matthew Deitner, and his family transitioned out of their roles and are connected with a new ministry in a different church. They too are missed but we rejoice in what God is doing in them and through them. Our church attendance did not see the annual 10% increase this year as we did with the previous four. In fact, our attendance decreased by 1%. It was the first decrease in attendance we have seen in over six years. Our finances were about the same as they were the previous year, but because of anticipated growth, we ended up coming up $24,000 short of our budget. It is the first time in the past three years that our contributions didn’t exceed our budget. Even with these valleys, God’s faithfulness was apparent. We had turnover but also added many new people in the process. Our giving didn’t meet expectations, but by the grace of God, we kept in the black. Sadly, faithful friends left us to go home with Jesus and others have moved on to other churches, but new lives and new members are here and previously departed friends are now reconnected again. Through all of this, God has been faithful.
Lastly, in this next year, we are implementing our vision for RBC. Acts 1:8 is our theme: “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Our focus should will be Jesus and He calls all of us to be His witnesses. As we get to know Him and His story better, we will be become more connected to Him, His people and His purpose. As that happens, God will equip us to be His witnesses and then we can connect our Jerusalem (Roseville) to Jesus too. Will you join us in making this vision a reality at RBC?