Celebrating 2013

By : December 31, 2013

The year that is coming to a close was an interesting one from many perspectives. Personally it was one of the most consequential and fulfilling years of my whole life. And though there were some grave disappointments and set backs, I would say I enjoyed 2013 as much as any and more than most.

Here are some of the highlights.

Discipleship and Evangelization

Evangelization is about reaching out to the un-churched with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is about growing members as increasingly committed students of  Christ. The problem with a lot of churches is that they think you can’t do both.  In fact, you have to do both, or your church becomes a consumer exchange. At Nativity, 2013 saw our parishioners step up to the plate on both counts. The number of people who got into a Small Group, signed up for the daily devotional, stepped up to serve in Ministry or go on Mission was impressive and unexpected.  So too, was the increase in people who made invitations to their un-churched friends…and the numbers of un-churched people who actually showed up. All these indices point to solid church health and growth.

Message Series

This year brought several of my favorite series ever including “rebuilt,” “comparison trap,” “breathing room,” “Responsibility-Ability” and “Christmas is Coming.” Each one was challenging as well as fun to do and each helped move the congregation forward in specific ways.

Strategic Planning

We have been working on a Master Campus Plan for a long time, in fact what seems like forever. But in 2013, thanks to our parish leaders, this plan began to take shape in specific and exciting ways. Because of the work accomplished  this year, we are well prepared to share our plans with the parish and include everyone in the conversation in 2014.

Financial Health/ Staff Growth

2013 brought the finances of the parish to a stronger and more robust place, thanks to the continued stewardship of our members. This is extremely important because you can’t do ministry without money. Our financial health has, in turn, funded an expansion in our staff, because that’s the investment we want to make to grow our ministry.

The Books

Of course the biggest news in my life in 2013 was the launching of the books, Rebuilt and Tools for Rebuilding together with my co-author and associate Tom Corcoran. Rebuilt was given birth on February 25 and Tools on November 25, pretty much framing the whole year. In between, and much to our surprise, came a storm of invitations to speak around the country. We were happy to accept as many engagements as we could, as long as the travel didn’t interfere with our weekend responsibilities. The responses that we received, like the sales themselves, have been extremely gratifying. Rebuilt is a solid best seller nationally and Tools looks like it could be headed in that direction. More gratifying than the sales is the impact and the influence both books are experiencing in so many parishes.

The Conference

Another unexpected consequence of the books has been the onslaught of visitors from other parishes, mostly just to see if we’re for real. The highlight of this development was our Matter Conference at the beginning of November, our first ever.

We sold out, with 650 people hosted by 100 volunteer ministers. It was so much fun and it accomplished so much good. As one participant noted “Now I know I’m not alone and there is hope for my parish.”

Christmas Eve

Each year the highlight of the year is the celebration of our parish’s feast day, also known as Christmas. This year we filled the Cow Palace twice, for what must be one of the largest celebrations in the State. The spirit and joy were also in abundance and the experience was simply transforming. Our 350 ministers made it happen.

Thanks to all our staff and volunteer ministers who made 2013 a year worth celebrating.

 

Comments

  1. Felicia Parker says:

    Your year has inspired and changed many. Keep it up!

  2. Terri says:

    I thank God that I stayed around for it all. This year has changed me for the better, especially with my faith. Thank you Father White and my church family at Nativity for helping me find my way back.

  3. Suzanne Wash says:

    Wonderful summary of a outstanding year. Congratulations, your impact is far reaching. Those of us in the extended virtual community appreciate continuing to learn and grow with you.
    Thanks and Happy New Year to you and everyone at Nativity!

  4. Michael.\,

    just read your book.

    Excellent stuff.

    I am currently seminary rector here in Sydney and we are going to use your book for a formation program with the seminarians in February. Will be presented by a fella in the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn, Australia.

    Thought you’d like to know.

    May the Lord bless you abundantly in 2014.

    Tony

  5. Joey Storer says:

    Fr. White,

    Just finished “Rebuilt”. Excellent. What a great book. Your work gives me hope. I will distribute copies and work to start making disciples. This is what we need to be all about.

    Thanks for your efforts!

    Joey Storer
    Midland, MI

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