A lunch bag in 1982 contained this note from my most loved person on earth, Noël:
"Remember, He doesn't give us more than He also gives us grace to bear. (And in 1 week this will all be past.)"
Which means: thank God for grace and thank God for Noël. No one but God will ever know how much of my ministry is her ministry. One of these years I will write a Star article entitled, "My Wife is a Soft Rock," (interpretation for the less poetic: a pillow for my head and pillar in the flood).
One set of silent but significant statistics that doesn't get mentioned anywhere else comes from the tape and sermon ministry. With the help of Olive and Arnold Nelson and Tom Youngquist and Carol Steinbach and Linda Nelson 539 tapes of sermons were sold in 1982. And since July of 1980, 8878 typed copies of sermons have been sold.
A few more God-honoring statistics would be: in 1980 BBC gave $48,068 to missions; in 1981 you gave $62,119 plus $6,500 of the Foundation money, plus $19,953 through Project '84 to missions; and the Foundation money and Widen bequest have not been touched. God has surely touched you at your pocketbooks! And that says something good about your heart; "for where your treasure is, there..."
While we are on missions, 1982 was the year of Glenn Ogren's Uganda mission which seemed to spark even more interest among our young people to be open to God's worldwide leading. I cannot escape the thought that our old Project '84 logo ("Alive in the city... A love for the world") is still the best summary of our mood at BBC.
1982 was comfortable compared to 1981 because there were no significant controversies (like the changing of the church covenant in 1981). It was a peaceful and prosperous year. My sense is that it will go down as a year of consolidation and of reassurance. There was no astonishing growth in numbers (Sunday morning worship averaged 539 as opposed to 526 in 1981). Yet the year-end events of the Children's Choir, the Uganda Mission, the stupendous giving, left everyone with the sense that the meaning of 1982 is in the future. The harvest for which we prayed is still white and ready. Some first fruits were gathered. The sickle is singing ever closer to the thick grain. The prayers of '82 will not be fruitless.
1982 will gradually be recognized as the year of the growing squeeze. Most people don't see it yet, but there are pressures developing in our educational building which must be addressed with planning soon. Toshavim now meets as five significant Sunday School classes, not just one. The Becomers are now filling the sewing room. Mosaic packs 40 people into the Conference Room. King's Friends and Fidelis have no place to grow. Sundouloi can easily fill the over-flow room. And the nursery is already unbearably crowded and growing fast. 1982 has been quiet—like the blowing up of a balloon.
We enter 1983 with a sense of pressing from within. Many of us feel a pressing for more of God—more of his power for ministry and worship! A pressing up and out from hungry hearts. The pressure in our facility and the pressure in our hearts are twins.
1983 will not be as comfortable, unless we decide not to include others in our fellowship. But that would be the end of us as a church of Christ. 1983 will bring significant decisions about our future. I am going to need your help. On the one hand, I get so excited I can't sleep because of what God might do through us ignitied by the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, I am scared of being sucked out of the study and prayer chamber into a vortex of administrative and planning work that our future will demand. If the Word of God languishes everything will languish. You are the key in 1983. You dream. You purpose. You research. You plan. You motivate. You build. And I will devote myself to the ministry of the word and prayer with all my might. Glenn Ogren will lay himself out for the daily pastoral needs of the old and young for nurture and encouragement. And Tom Steller will pour himself into the lives of our students and career people and develop our adult education.
I feel the Spirit rising on the crest of 1982. May he break over our heads "that the power of Christ might dwell in us!"