Why Celebrate Church Anniversaries?
This year 1st May 2019, New Life Church turned 10 years old. This Friday the 17th May, we will celebrate this anniversary together.
I wanted to write this letter to all who are currently members of NLC, and all those spread across the globe, who at one time were members to explain why this anniversary is important to celebrate. The scriptures tell us that “except the Lord build the house, they that labour do so in vain.” Your labour has not been in vain! We are thankful and very aware that it is the Lord who has been building New Life Church. Our 10th anniversary is NOT about us, but rather about the One who daily frees us from sin and death, who binds us together as a diverse yet unified body, and who calls us forward into new life and service for others--Jesus, the Crucified and Risen Christ.
Anniversaries also honour the founders God used to start the work. All those years ago, God gave men and women a vision to plant New Life Church in the Middle East. Though it cost them in terms of money and time, they did it. Even though New Life Church is fairly young, it did not arrive at its 10th anniversary by accident. This milestone was not reached without some intentionality.
Our Facebook page says that ‘New Life is a church all about making and developing disciples of all nations through proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our greatest desire as a church is to reflect God’s glory to Abu Dhabi and to the world. God is glorified when we make disciples who are then developed to become like Christ’. I am thankful for this intentionality that has been part of the very DNA of the church from the beginning.
Church anniversaries are special because they place us in a position of reflection. Upon doing so I am reminded how blessed I am to know Christ and to be a member of a church that is committed to the glory of God and the salvation of the lost. Our celebration on Friday will hopefully strengthen this resolve. Even though we are thankful to our Lord for building this church, and His spirit guiding us these last 10 years, and as we look backwards into history to see where we began and have gone, what we have done, and how we got here; we will not only reflect on the past in a nostalgic way, but celebrate what is to come with joyful anticipation. Only the Lord knows what is to come, and in this truth and His sovereignty we can rejoice with a fervent expectation of what lies ahead and where He will lead us, what Christ will do in and through us, and how the Spirit will continue to inspire us for service to our neighbours and sharing the gospel with the world around us. Even though the future is unknown, we know that He who holds the future is not.
William Carey, the British pioneer missionary to India said “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” My prayer is that this will be true for New Life Church. God’s promises and plans for our church are not finished. I truly believe that our church and other Christ following churches have their best years of ministry ahead of them, because the need has never been greater.
Pray with me as we celebrate this weekend that this anniversary will remind us and encourage us as a church to:
- To keep following Christ with a total commitment to making and developing disciples of all nations through proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- To keep pressing forward after the upward call that the Apostle Paul talked about.
- To be equipped, willing and ready to share the faith like the Apostle Peter commanded.
May God continue to work in and through us for the furthering of His kingdom—here in Abu Dhabi, and across the United Arab Emirates, the Middle East and the whole world.
- P.S. Please feel free to write to us if you have any memories or greetings you would like to share with NEW LIFE CHURCH during our anniversary celebration.