HCC 2022 Mission and Vision Goals Part 6: Vision Action

Parts 2 through 6 of the HCC 2022 Mission and Vision Goals series on the HCC blog are going to be about unpacking the “foreground” of the HCC’s 7-year Vision.  Remember that we are looking at the whole Vision like a picture in a frame.  The frame represents the Mission of HCC with its mission statement, values, metrics for success, etc.  In the center of the frame is a picture that represents the Vision proper.
 
Every good picture has a series of focus points.  There is the foreground, the midground, the background, and the horizon (and beyond).  As we think about Vision, we are thinking about it in these same terms, and also adding a timeline to it which is as follows:
  • Beyond the Horizon – 7 Years
  • Back Ground – 3 Years
  • Mid-Ground – 1 Year
  • Foreground – 90 Days
The closer we get to the front of the picture, the more dynamic and detailed the Vision becomes.  For more on this, check out the first post in this series:

 2022 Goals

Hopkins Community Church has main goals (mid-ground Vision) for 2022:
Remember, the Foreground (90-day) Vision elements are not necessarily directly correlated to the Mid-ground (1-year) goals.  Rather, these 90-day goals will help drive us toward achieving the 1-year goals.
 

 PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

While all of the things that we have been talking about are related to the Vision, the “Actionable” elements of the Mid-Ground vision focus really coalesce under the heading of “Vision Action”.  As was said in each post, all of the Foreground Vision elements serve to drive HCC toward the 1-year goal.  Communication efficiency is important because without it we will not be able to inform you of what we are doing or events that are coming up.  Likewise, discipleship is how we both grow in our faith and are also prepared to share that faith.  Elements from each of the prior posts all help to feed the overall Vision.  In the same way that a painting is not done with a single brush or color, so too is our Vision not carried out by just doing one thing.
 
HCC’s discipleship push is largely centered around small groups and apologetics.  ROOTED has been a key factor in growing relationships as well as deepening faith.  One key element of ROOTED is the encouragement to tell your story.  This is accompanied by a challenge to tell your faith story to someone who doesn’t know Jesus.  HCC uses an apologetics-based curriculum to guide both Sunday School and preaching.  No single lesson provides all the answers, but over time we are equipping the congregation with Biblical knowledge and the ability to answer questions about faith.
 
Community Engagement is an important aspect of Vision advancement too.  We hold events that bless and serve the community of Hopkins.  Apart from following what Scripture says about living out our faith, this shows our true interest in the community rather than just a push to proselytize.  Sharing the Gospel is key to Evangelism; people receive the message much more readily when paired with loving action.
 

 VISION ACTION

In 2021, we achieved an 87% success rate in making a connection with every household in the Village of Hopkins!  For a first-time effort where we learned as we went, I believe that is a major victory.  HCC received, prayed for, and followed up on over 70 prayer requests and almost a number of service requests too.
 
As we move into 2022, a new “Mid-ground” focus comes into view.  This year we will again visit every household in the Village of Hopkins.  We will ask the same questions and give a gift as we did before.  We are, however, raising the bar on our conversations.  In 2022, we will also endeavor to have a more in-depth conversation that includes a conversation about the Gospel, Jesus, and/or our faith.  For this, I believe, most of HCC will want some training.

 Breaking Down The 2022 Vision Action 

The Vision Action Team will be working, in the first couple of months to set up a plan for how we will again visit every household in the Village.  Like last year, they will also prepare a gift and manage the information that we collect.
 
Expectancy, our prayer and discipleship group, has received permission from the consistory to create a “prayer wall” on the east side of the sanctuary.  This wall will serve to engage the congregation in our effort to pray for each other as well as this community.  Prayer requests posted here, anonymously or not, will be visible and accessible for the congregation and incorporated into our weekly time of prayer in Sunday worship.
 
Later in March, HCC will host the Go and Tell Evangelism Workshop.  We are inviting Jim Halstead from Go & Tell Ministries to help equip the congregation for sharing the Gospel Message with others.  This workshop will be followed up with small group offerings (discipleship) for groups that are active or want to form.  The Great Commission Study is a 7-week series that “equips you to Delight in God, Declare the Gospel and Make Disciples who will, in turn, make disciples.”
 
Finally, beginning in May, we will begin going out into the Village again, meeting people, and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with them.  Our goal is to see more than 50% of HCC participate in this throughout the summer as we meet with our friends and neighbors to share the Gospel with them.
 
With that in mind, HCC I ask you right now to begin praying for this.  Pray that God would draw all of HCC to the Evangelism Workshop.  Ask that God would prepare the hearts of this community to receive the Gospel.  Finally, pick someone and commit to praying for them BY NAME, that God would create opportunities for you to share your faith with them and that they would be open to hearing and believing the message of the Gospel!


HCC 2022 Mission and Vision Goals Part 5: Community Engagement

Parts 2 through 6 of the HCC 2022 Mission and Vision Goals series on the HCC blog are going to be about unpacking the “foreground” of the HCC’s 7-year Vision.  Remember that we are looking at the whole Vision like a picture in a frame.  The frame represents the Mission of HCC with its mission statement, values, metrics for success, etc.  In the center of the frame is a picture that represents the Vision proper.
 
Every good picture has a series of focus points.  There is the foreground, the midground, the background, and the horizon (and beyond).  As we think about Vision, we are thinking about it in these same terms, and also adding a timeline to it which is as follows:
  • Beyond the Horizon – 7 Years
  • Back Ground – 3 Years
  • Mid-Ground – 1 Year
  • Foreground – 90 Days
The closer we get to the front of the picture, the more dynamic and detailed the Vision becomes.  For more on this, check out the first post in this series:

 2022 Goals

Hopkins Community Church has main goals (mid-ground Vision) for 2022:
Remember, the Foreground (90-day) Vision elements are not necessarily directly correlated to the Mid-ground (1-year) goals.  Rather, these 90-day goals will help drive us toward achieving the 1-year goals.

 COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

The Church of Jesus Christ has always existed, as Jesus did, with an outward focus toward others.  Jesus’ vision on earth was to minister to people.  “I was sent to the lost sheep of Israel,” Jesus says in Matthew 15:24.  He has compassion for the crowds that follow Him in Matthew 9.  When people come to Him for help, He helps them.  John 3:16 is the ultimate reminder of this.  “For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life.”
 
God’s love for the World, for the lost and broken people in it, is precisely what the Church is called to reflect in its mission and ministry.  Moreover, Jesus Christ gave His disciples a command and commission to go into THE WORLD and preach the Gospel (Mark 14:15-16) and to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).  Sadly, the Church in the modern era has often found itself measuring success by the number of people coming into a Sunday service rather than the number of people going out to preach the Good News.
 
As the Vision Team of Hopkins Community Church worked through the process of discerning, one thing that became very clear to the group was the absolute need for a more intentional outward focus in our ministries.  This is why Community Engagement has become a major focal point in our Foreground (90-day) and Background (3-year) Vision Elements.  Every 90 days we look at Community Engagement opportunities with the goal, by the end of year three, of having 6 regular community engagement events that are aimed are serving or blessing the community.  Ideally, most of these would also be outside the four walls of the church building as well.

 Ministry Programs vs. Community Engagement

There has been some conversation about the interplay between the discipleship ministries that we regularly do at HCC and the community engagement that we are talking about as a part of the Mission and Vision of HCC.  Many of the ministries at HCC do have an element of “outreach” already in them as we welcome in people, particularly students, that either does not call HCC home or have no church home at all.  In a lot of cases, these ministries are already fulfilling the Great Commission by discipling people who do not know Jesus (and those that do as well).
 
One thing that sets these ministries apart from the community engagement idea, though, is the movement outward.  The invitational approach to outreach is good.  It should, however, always pair well with an intentional effort to meet people where they are.  Jesus models this well in His ministry.  We don’t see him only teaching in the synagogue or at the Temple, though He does spend time there.  Actually, the majority of His ministry is spent out and about.  Sometimes Jesus is going from town to town, others He is teaching in a house or having dinner with someone.  Always, though, we see Him using these opportunities to have Kingdom conversations. 
 
Scripture teaches that Christ is our model for ministry, therefore we must learn from His leading.  With that in mind, some of the events we are projecting will be ones where we invite others onto the grounds of Hopkins Community Church.  Others, however, will be opportunities to serve and/or bless the community of Hopkins out in the community.  In all of these, though, we must always be on the lookout for opportunities to have conversations that direct people toward the Good News of Jesus Christ.
 
Thinking about events in 2022 is important, but also tentative. We always hold that tension of planning and flexibility.

 Breaking Down the “Foreground” Vision for 2022 Community Engagement

One of the invitational ways that we will be doing community engagement is through the hosting of blood drives.  Though I don’t count this as one of the six events, it is an opportunity for us to use our facility for something that blesses the community and gives everyone an opportunity to bless others.  The dates for these are January 11, March 8, May 10, July 5, September 6, and November 8.
 
In the first quarter of 2022, we are plan to bring back our Annual Indoor Mini-golf event.  This will be held on January 29 in the afternoon at HCC.  Another idea presented was a community euchre tournament.  An event like this would work well in the winter months for sure!
 
As we move into April and the second quarter of 2022, we are planning on partnering with the Hopkins Village Council for the annual Hopkins Spring Cleanup again.  The Clean-up is always held on the Saturday after Mother’s Day which falls on the 14th of May.  Prior to this, we are considering a massive “garage sale” that coincides with the Hopkins Garage Sale day on May 7th.  This feeds both a community engagement opportunity and presents an opportunity for further debt elimination as well.
 
The summer months always provide unique opportunities for community engagement.  HCC was heavily involved in the local 4th of July festivities in 2021.  We will be a part of this again, hopefully to a greater degree than even this past year.  There have also been talks about a possible return of the Car Show at HCC.  Outdoor worship is also a possibility for the third quarter of 2022.
 
Rounding out 2022, HCC is looking at several possibilities.  An organized leaf cleanup assistance for the Village of Hopkins could be a great service project for HCC in November.  There has also been a large number of requests for a “tree lighting” event in the Village; perhaps HCC could bring this event back as well.


HCC 2022 Mission and Vision Goals Part 4: Discipleship

Parts 2 through 6 of the HCC 2022 Mission and Vision Goals series on the HCC blog are going to be about unpacking the “foreground” of the HCC’s 7-year Vision.  Remember that we are looking at the whole Vision like a picture in a frame.  The frame represents the Mission of HCC with its mission statement, values, metrics for success, etc.  In the center of the frame is a picture that represents the Vision proper.
 
Every good picture has a series of focus points.  There is the foreground, the midground, the background, and the horizon (and beyond).  As we think about Vision, we are thinking about it in these same terms, and also adding a timeline to it which is as follows:
  • Beyond the Horizon – 7 Years
  • Back Ground – 3 Years
  • Mid-Ground – 1 Year
  • Foreground – 90 Days
The closer we get to the front of the picture, the more dynamic and detailed the Vision becomes.  For more on this, check out the first post in this series:

 2022 Goals

Hopkins Community Church has main goals (mid-ground Vision) for 2022:
Remember, the Foreground (90-day) Vision elements are not necessarily directly correlated to the Mid-ground (1-year) goals.  Rather, these 90-day goals will help drive us toward achieving the 1-year goals.

 DISCIPLESHIP

Discipleship is the cornerstone of all that we are called to by Christ in the Great Commission.  This “churchy” word gets thrown around a lot in church circles, including here at HCC, with the assumption that everyone knows what it means.  So before we dive in to what we are doing, let’s take a moment to properly define the word discipleship.
 
In the ancient world, the context from which we draw the word disciple, we see it as a reference to a follower or an adherent to a specific teacher.  Being a disciple meant that you followed this teacher wherever he went, very different from the modern day student.  Christianity’s reference to a disciple is specific: “a dedicated follower of Jesus.”  It is a term that is drawn from both the Gospels and from the book of Acts.
 
Many different organizations define discipleship more directly.
Discipleship is intentionally equipping believers with the Word of God through accountable relationships, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in order to replicate faithful followers of Christ.  Discipleship is a lifestyle, not something we turn on and off one time a week… – Lifeway Women Website

A Christian disciple follows Jesus, becoming more and more like Him through a life of faith and obedience.  Grow as a disciple who makes other disciples to make Jesus known everywhere… Discipleship is mentoring someone in their faith. If you are a follower of Jesus, He has commanded you… to go and make disciples right where you are. The Holy Spirit lives within you, and the Bible, as well as other Christians, can help guide you. That is what you need for discipleship.  Simply put, disciple-making is about following Jesus and taking others with you. – Cru Website

Discipleship at HCC

One of the Values that drives our Mission and Vision is “Lifelong Growth.”  We are committed to cherishing and enfolding children and youth, and to disciple people of all ages so that all might experience an increasingly full life in Christ.  Living out our value of Lifelong Growth is demonstrated by:
  • Making sure that every young person feels welcomed, valued, and able to connect with others;
  • Teaching and modeling for children and youth what a vibrant, healthy life in Christ entails;
  • Equipping, encouraging, and praying for all who connect with Hopkins Community Church.
This is HCC’s way of describing what Discipleship looks like at Hopkins Community Church.  We think of it as a journey, one where we are always moving forward.  Whether you’ve been following Jesus for 8 days or 80 years, there is always more growth to be had.  There is no point in our earthly lives where we will have “arrived.”  Scripture says in Philippians 1:6, “He who began a good work in you will see it through to completion on the Day of Christ.”  God is never finished with us this side of heaven.
 
HCC has engaged in a number of ongoing ministries that are designed as discipleship opportunities:
  • Sunday School
  • GEMS
  • Cadets
  • Rubies
  • Middle School Youth Group
  • High School Youth Group
  • Small Groups
This year we are also going to be engaging in some new, specific discipleship oppportunties as well:
  • Evangelism Training
  • Profession of Faith Process
  • Mama Bear Apologetics Book Study

 Breaking Down the “Foreground” Vision for 2022 Discipleship

In the first quarter of 2022, our normal discipleship pattern will resume.  Sunday School starts up on January 2.  The Preaching and Sunday School material are drawn from the Answers Bible Curriculum.  We will continue through the book of Genesis with an eye to Apologetics.  All of our ministry groups will resume meeting after the holidays too.  Additionally, several Small Groups will be finishing up from the fall launch while a couple will begin meeting.  Some women from HCC have also volunteered to host a study on the Mama Bear Apologetics book on Human Sexuality.
 
Finally, we are excited to start a new process for students who are desiring to make a Public Profession of their Faith in February.  Pastor Caleb put together a process of learning and mentoring.  Coming out of this, students will have developed a new relationship with their mentor and will have written their own statement of faith!  You can see an outline of the process here: Profession of Faith Process pdf.
 
The second quarter of 2022 will bring more of the same as we continue ministry through may.  Sunday School will be continuing into the summer months as we continue through the Answers Bible Curriculum.  HCC is trialing this new “year-round” approach.  More information about what this looks like as it approaches.  Also New this spring, we will be engaging in coordinated Evangelism Training for HCC.  This will comprise a combination of small group material and a large group event.  We will also have the opportunity to see the fruit of the Profession of Faith process!
 
The third quarter of this year will see continued work in Sunday School, even during the summer months, and preparing for a launch of new Small Groups early in September.  Many of our regular ministry groups will launch again in September as well.
 
Finally, as we close out the fourth we will see our “regular” ministry rhythm return once again as we live into our Mission Value of Lifelong Growth for people of all ages.


HCC 2022 Mission and Vision Goals Part 3: Communication

Parts 2 through 6 of the HCC 2022 Mission and Vision Goals series on the HCC blog are going to be about unpacking the “foreground” of the HCC’s 7-year Vision.  Remember that we are looking at the whole Vision like a picture in a frame.  The frame represents the Mission of HCC with its mission statement, values, metrics for success, etc.  In the center of the frame is a picture that represents the Vision proper.
 
Every good picture has a series of focus points.  There is the foreground, the midground, the background, and the horizon (and beyond).  As we think about Vision, we are thinking about it in these same terms, and also adding a timeline to it which is as follows:
  • Beyond the Horizon – 7 Years
  • Back Ground – 3 Years
  • Mid-Ground – 1 Year
  • Foreground – 90 Days
The closer we get to the front of the picture, the more dynamic and detailed the Vision becomes.  For more on this, check out the first post in this series:

 2022 Goals

Hopkins Community Church has main goals (mid-ground Vision) for 2022:
Remember, the Foreground (90-day) Vision elements are not necessarily directly correlated to the Mid-ground (1-year) goals.  Rather, these 90-day goals will help drive us toward achieving the 1-year goals.

 COMMUNICATION

Good communication is key for just about everything.  In my pre-marital counseling sessions, we always start by talking about healthy communication patterns.  These ideas repeatedly come up as we work through a myriad of other subjects.  It is one of the things that are most important and most necessary for organizations to function well.  I’m sure it is not surprising when I also say that it is the thing that organizations struggle with most.
 
Hopkins Community Church has had varied experiences with communication.  We have swung on the pendulum between extremes.  Sometimes it feels like we aren’t communicating anything.  This leads to rumors and wondering what is actually going on.  At other times we have over-communicated to an almost annoying degree.  This leads to burnout and a lack of engagement on the part of the congregation.
 
Currently, I think we are somewhere toward the over-communication side.  A major part of this has to do with the way that we communicate.  Facebook Page, Facebook Group, Informer Email, Website, REMIND text, Bulletin, Mailbox, and APP.  Even this blog will be posted in a minimum of four different places.  Add to this all of the various groups on Facebook for each ministry team too.  We find ourselves almost over-stimulated with the barrage of things coming at us from HCC.
 
Our goal in 2022 is to streamline this.  We aim to work toward funneling everything into the APP (and written form).  It is our hope that the APP will become a one-stop shop for all things HCC.  This would also eliminate a great deal of extra work internally.  By the end of 2022, our aim is to have a clear, concise and established process for communication.  Instead of painfully long emails, information will come in short, quick messages.

 HOW CAN YOU BE INVOLVED?

Making this transition will heavily involve you.  First, we need people to download the APP if you haven’t already.  You can do this by searching “Church Center” on your phone’s app platform.  Once you download it, log in.  It is relatively easy; most of your information is already there.
 
 
Once you have the APP, get out the “groups” section.  You will find a number of groups there you might be interested in.  We have created a group called “HCC Communications” that we are asking everyone to join.  Please add yourself to this group.  There is also a link to this on the home page of the APP.  
 
 
Eventually, we will do the work of adding everyone.  It is easier, though, for you to add yourself.

 THE “Foreground” Vision Breakdown

In the first quarter of 2022, we will focus on getting everyone that calls HCC home on this APP and into this group.  We want to make this and other things here as easily accessible as possible.
 
Starting in April of 2022, we will begin phasing out the REMIND texting alerts and the HCC Informer emails.  Both will be replaced by regular communication through the APP.  While we work through this, we will also be actively connecting ministry teams and leaders that aren’t already using the APP to it.
 
As we move into the third quarter, we are going to begin phasing out social media as a regular internal communication platform.  While the HCC Facebook page will still exist, as will our website, it will be an external face for Hopkins Community Church only.  Again, internal communications will happen through the APP.  We will also be encouraging our ministry teams to make this transition.
 
By the beginning of October, our goal is that we are living into a new pattern of communication that is healthier and more engaging for the HCC congregation.
 
We invite you into this time of transition.  The leadership and staff of HCC recognize that not everyone is on the same level with technology.  Please use us as a resource if you have any questions; WE WANT TO HELP!!  With that in mind, we will also be working hard to keep printed material available to anyone who needs it so that everyone can be connected to Christ and Community!


HCC 2022 Mission and Vision Goals Part 2: Debt Elimination

The next several posts on the HCC blog are going to be about unpacking the “foreground” of the HCC’s 7-year Vision.  Remember that we are looking at the whole Vision like a picture in a frame.  The frame represents the Mission of HCC with its mission statement, values, metrics for success, etc.  In the center of the frame is a picture that represents the Vision proper.
 
Every good picture has a series of focus points.  There is the foreground, the midground, the background, and the horizon (and beyond).  As we think about Vision, we are thinking about it in these same terms, and also adding a timeline to it which is as follows:
  • Beyond the Horizon – 7 Years
  • Back Ground – 3 Years
  • Mid-Ground – 1 Year
  • Foreground – 90 Days
The closer we get to the front of the picture, the more dynamic and detailed the Vision becomes.  For more on this, check out the first post in this series:

 2022 Goals

Hopkins Community Church has main goals (mid-ground Vision) for 2022:
  • Reconnect with every Household in the Village
      • Bring a Gift
      • Ask how we can serve them
      • Ask how we can pray for them
      • Invite them to an event or worship service
      • Have a Gospel-centered conversation with them
  • Debt Elimination
For the purposes of this blog series, we are going to talk about the second goal first as it is somewhat easier to directly unpack.  As we talk about it, remember that we are moving from the “midground” to the “foreground”.  Our approach to tackling this one-year goal gets broken down further into 90-day increments.  It is also important to remember that, while we set this up with all the best of intentions, this area of planning is the most dynamic, detailed, and also responsive to the needs of any of the elements in the Vision planning process.  Like all things, these are tools, not chains, and they are meant to serve us, not enslave us.  All of it is subject to change as we evaluate where we are at.

DEBT ELIMINATION

Hopkins Community Church is embarking on a journey to finally pay off the building debt that we have.  It has been 16 years since our building was built and it is time for us to be free of the bondage that this debt has been.  The consistory does not want to have any more conversations about whether we can do ministry or pay on the loan; we want freedom, not enslavement.
 
Therefore, we are beginning a capital campaign on January 1, 2022, to pay off $330,000 of building debt.  We are also targeting several areas of need that we could raise additional funds for to further amplify our ministry opportunities and reach.
 
Starting in January, we will be kicking off this campaign with a pledge drive from HCC members.  We would also encourage, if you feel so led, to seek support from outside sources like businesses that you have a relationship with that do charitable giving.  During the first quarter, we will also be working with Ministry team leaders to talk about ways that the various ministries could help HCC in this campaign.  Finally, by the end of January, we hope to have key people in place for a couple of larger events that we will target to raise funds for this campaign.
 
In the second quarter, we are targeting one major event: a churchwide “Garage sale”.  This sale will happen on the Saturday of the Hopkins Village garage sales and possibly one other weekend date.  We will be asking the congregation for donations of things to sell, be it clothing, furniture, or anything else that you can put in a garage sale (So Start Saving that Stuff!!).  All proceeds will go directly to the Debt Elimination campaign.
 
In the third quarter of this year, we are looking at the 4th of July community event as a possible opportunity for fundraising.  With so many people in town for the 4th of July, there is ample opportunity for events, a food booth, and/or activities that could help us raise funds for this campaign.
 
Finally, in the fourth quarter of this year, we are looking at a massive church-wide Auction!  We will pool our resources and work within our circles of influence as individuals and as a church to put on a gigantic auction that we will advertise for throughout West Michigan!

 How Can You Be Involved?

One this we are praying into as leaders, and we ask that you pray into as well is how you can be involved in all of this.  The first, and most obvious thing that you can do is pray about your giving.  Could you commit to extra giving each month?  Are you in a place where you could give a larger one-time gift?  Do you have contacts with people or businesses who would be interested in helping HCC be debt-free?  We will have pledge sheets available at church and on the APP starting in January.
 
The second thing that you can do to help is to think about and pray into these events.  Could God be calling you to lead or help organize one of these events?  Are you a part of a ministry team and could help HCC by raising funds (or saving funds) in the place that you are already serving?  We need KEY PEOPLE to step into their gifting and use their abilities to further this Vision!
 
Finally, one thing that we will be needing is donations.  Do you have extra clothes, furniture, tools, or even bigger items you could donate to the “Garage Sale?”  Do you have connections with people or businesses who would be willing to donate to an auction?  Do you have connections with people that do advertising for events like this?
 
If any of these things interest you, please talk to Pastor Jon!
 
We serve the GOD who owns literally everything.  Nothing is too big for Him to accomplish.  He can do immeasurably more than anything we could ask or imagine.  To God be the Glory in all things and at all times!


HCC 2022 Mission and Vision Goals Part 1: Explanation

Welcome to the first of several posts about the Vision goals of Hopkins Community Church for 2022.

Vision Explanation

At the beginning of 2021, the leadership of Hopkins Community Church worked to discern God’s Vision for HCC over the next 7 years of ministry.  This Vision is broken down into several elements that we think of much like a picture.  The picture frame is what comprises the elements of a church’s Mission.  These things (Mission Statement, Values, Metrics, etc.) for the frame which contains the Vision, which is viewed as a picture.  There are things in the foreground, the midground, the background, and then there are things beyond the horizon.
 
When work is done to discern God’s Vision for a church, we start beyond the horizon and work our way forward to the foreground, the closest and most imminent things that we are doing to move us closer to the larger goals.  These different elements are broken down into timeframes to help keep an organization moving forward towards bigger and bigger goals.
 

Hopkins Community Church Vision Picture

Hopkins Community Church’s Seven year Vision is to reach every household in the Greater Hopkins Community with the good news of the Gospel.  This is our “Beyond-The-Horizon” Vision.
 
The Background Vision is a set of Goals we aim to achieve at the end of three years (December 2023).  As you can see in the picture above, this is divided into 4 big picture goals that are intended to feed the main 7-year Vision goal.  Our three-year goals are:
  • 3 Generations of Rooted Groups involving <50% of the congregation
  • 6 Regular community events to serve/bless the community
  • 50% of the congregation is equipped and willing to have Gospel conversations with anyone at the prompting of the Holy Spirit
  • Mobilization of 12 Kingdom Prayer Teams (24 people) ready to be in the community for prayer needs
Our “Midground” vision is a single 1-year goal.  As we get closer to the foreground, things become more dynamic.  This one-year goal changes each year and is defined and redefined as the picture takes shape over the development of the Vision.  HCC’s year 1 goal for 2021 was to “Visit every household in the Village of Hopkins and make a connection, asking two questions about how we can serve them and how we can pray for them.”  Through the work of the Vision Implementation team and many of you from the Congregation, we managed to make a connection with 87% of the houses in the Village of Hopkins.  Those that we didn’t make a connection with were attempted at least three times.

HCC Vision Goals for 2022

As we move into 2022, our Midground Vision is becoming clearer as we identify a Vision goal for 2022.  In fact, we have identified TWO major goals for 2022.
  • We will revisit every household in the Village of Hopkins, offering them a gift, asking our two questions, inviting them to an event or worship service, and having a Gospel-Centered (evangelistic) conversation.
  • We will work as a congregation to ELIMINATE our existing DEBT.
These are two major goals that we feel God is calling us two in 2022 that also push us forward to the greater 3-year and ultimately 7-year Vision goals of reaching every household in the greater Hopkins community with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
 
Over the next couple of days, we will unpack the “Midground” Vision goals for 2022 by laying out the foreground (90-day) vision goals and how we will work to achieve them.  We will target 5 areas of emphasis in 90-day increments as we move into and through 2022 (in no particular order):
  • Debt Elimination
  • Discipleship
  • Vision Action
  • Communication
  • Community Engagement

 Ministry Mission Metrics

One question that we always seek to answer through this is “how do we know we are achieving our mission”?  This is a very important question.  To answer it, we worked to develop an assessment that will help us look closely at the “Vision Frame” and the Values that drive our Mission and Vision.  The questions we ask relate very closely to our Values and help us understand where our strengths are and where we have areas that are ripe for growth.
 
The Hopkins Community Church leadership invites you to take a moment to take this assessment.  You can find it on our APP or by going to https://hopkinscommunity.churchcenter.com/people/forms/328387
 


HCC Informational Meetings: Supplemental Material

The congregation of Hopkins Community Church will be hosting three informational meetings for all who call HCC ‘home’ regarding the current conflict within the Reformed Church in America and the outcomes of its 2021 General Synod meeting.  This will be a time of Information giving as well as offering feedback and asking questions regarding the current situation that we face as a church.
 
The following information will be covered:
  • Review of the History of this Conflict in the RCA
  • Information Regarding Current Status of the RCA
  • Information Regarding Options for HCC
  • Information Regarding Other Denominational Options
  • HCC’s Timeline of Events
 
Given all of the information that is available to be presented at this meeting, we are offering supplemental informational material for those that are interested.  This informational material will be available in limited quantities at the two in-person informational meetings.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Sunday Ministry Update for 11/7/2021

Hello HCC,

 
As many of you know, Hopkins Community Church (and the greater Hopkins Community and Allegan County in General) is experiencing a wave of COVID-19 positive cases.  As of today, nearly 20% of our congregation has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
 
As such, we are feeling that it is wise to both inform you of the current reality and make a few temporary adjustments to ministry at church tomorrow.
 
SUNDAY WORSHIP
Sunday’s worship will be Live and In-Person at 9:30 AM as normal.  Hopkids will be leading us in worship!  We will continue to follow the Apologetics Curriculum, opening God’s Word to Hebrews 1:1-5 in a message entitled “God’s Word is Complete”.
The dynamics for seating and venues for in-person and online participation will remain unchanged.
We are asking that, if you are dealing with any symptoms of COVID, have been exposed or tested positive for COVID-19, that you follow the CDC guidelines for appropriate action as it pertains to your worship participation.  
As always, we trust you to be the best determiner for yourself in this!
 
DISCIPLESHIP HOUR
There will be no discipleship hour tomorrow.
Curriculum material for this lesson will be available online on the website:
https://www.hopkinscommunitychurch.net/discipleship-hour/
Links will also be provided in the livestream content tomorrow morning.
 
YOUTH GROUPS
Both Middle School and High School Youth Group are canceled for tomorrow.
 
All of these adjustments are temporary measures for this week only.  We will continue to evaluate the situation and conditions and make decisions on a week-by-week basis as far as ministries, meetings, etc. moving forward.
 
The Leadership covets your prayers as we walk through this current COVID-19 wave and we also implore you to pray for those who are sick, that God would lay his healing hand on everyone!
 
Looking forward to worshipping with you all tomorrow!
 
Blessings!


Isaiah 55:6-11 “The Four Characteristics of Scripture”

 

Sunday, October 31, 2021
Virtual Worship Service
Pastor Jon VanderWall Preaching

Worship Songs:
• Ancient Words – https://youtu.be/3vmTkXNpwzs
• Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me) – https://youtu.be/VXp6xcY5IqU
• How Firm A Foundation – https://youtu.be/cY6k2QhdCn0
• King of Kings – https://youtu.be/Of5IcFWiEpg
• Word of God Speak – https://youtu.be/4JK_6osCH74
• Thy Word – https://youtu.be/a6LC8cu03Ig

Scripture Passages:
Isaiah 55:6-11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Message Title:
The Four Characteristics of Scripture

Thoughts for Reflection:
We’ve been talking through the first Unit of our Apologetics curriculum over the past several weeks. It is appropriately titled “God’s Word is our Foundation” and we’ve been looking very closely at the nature of God’s Word and what it reveals about who God is as well as what it says about itself. These first 10 weeks set the stage for our journey through Scripture which will begin in a few weeks.
Though many only think of today as Halloween, it is also Reformation Day! One of the key elements of the reformation had to do with the emphasis on Scripture over and above the traditions and teachings of the Roman Catholic church. “Sola Scriptura” means Scripture Alone, and is a reference to the primacy of God’s Word, yet it leads to a natural question: how can we know God’s Word can be trusted? Several weeks ago, we Pastor Jim led us through a study of the attributes of God. Today we are pausing from our curriculum to look at some of the attributes of Scripture and why IT ALONE is our sole source of Absolute Truth.
Questions to take home:
1. Have you ever had doubts or questions about any parts of the Bible? What caused those questions? What have you or should you do to resolve them?
2. If the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture is true, why does there seem to be so much disagreement among Christians about the teaching of the Bible? How do you think Jesus would respond to these differing interpretations?
3. Do you nourish your soul on the spiritual food of the Word as carefully and diligently as you nourish your body on physical food?

All songs used with permission: License #2279699
All songs streamed with permission: License #20466216

Give and Support Hopkins Community Church:

GIVING

Announcements:
The Leadership of HCC has decided that tomorrow’s worship service, October 31, will be adjusted to ONLINE WORSHIP only. Due to an abnormally large number of individuals from the church testing positive for COVID-19 in the last week, and the fact that our whole pastoral staff is under quarantine right now, we will not be holding in-person church.

Pastor Jon will be putting a sermon online tomorrow morning in the same manner that we have done in the past with suggested worship songs to engage on your own.

There are a number of additional scheduling changes for church as well:
• Sunday School: Unit 1 Lesson 7 will now be next week. An updated schedule will be sent
• Hopkids will be leading worship next Sunday instead of tomorrow.
• HCC Annual Congregational Meeting will now be held on Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 11 AM, following the worship service.
• Informational meetings for Denominational Updates will be rescheduled as follows:
o Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 4 PM
o Monday, November 22, 2021 at 7 PM
o A virtual meeting (ZOOM) will be held on Thursday, November 18 at 8 PM
• The consistory Meeting for November will be rescheduled (it was on Opening Day anyway).
Thank you for your flexibility. Sorry for the last-minute changes. Please keep in prayer those people that have COVID right now!

An email, text, and Facebook post will follow later tonight or in the morning with information on how to access this week’s sermon.

Have a blessed weekend.



Worship Service Online Only – October 31

Good Morning Hopkins Community Church,

 
The Leadership of HCC has decided that tomorrow’s worship service, October 31, will be adjusted to ONLINE WORSHIP only.  Due to an abnormally large number of individuals from the church testing positive for COVID-19 in the last week, and the fact that our whole pastoral staff is under quarantine right now, we will not be holding in-person church.
 
Pastor Jon will be putting a sermon online tomorrow morning in the same manner that we have done in the past with suggested worship songs to engage on your own.
 
There are a number of additional scheduling changes for church as well:
  • Sunday School: Unit 1 Lesson 7 will now be next week.  An updated schedule will be sent
  • Hopkids will be leading worship next Sunday instead of tomorrow.
  • HCC Annual Congregational Meeting will now be held on Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 11 AM, following the worship service.
  • Informational meetings for Denominational Updates will be rescheduled as follows:  
    • Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 4 PM
    • Monday, November 22, 2021 at 7 PM
    • A virtual meeting (ZOOM) will be held on Thursday, November 18 at 8 PM
  • The consistory Meeting for November will be rescheduled (it was on Opening Day anyway).
Thank you for your flexibility.  Sorry for the last-minute changes.  Please keep in prayer those people that have COVID right now!
 
An email, text, and Facebook post will follow later tonight or in the morning with information on how to access this week’s sermon.
 
Have a blessed weekend.


Enter Through the Narrow Gate: Emerging Opportunities

Last week, in one of our updates, I mentioned that we would be taking some time over the course of the next week to look at the conflict that has come to a head within the denomination that Hopkins Community Church is affiliated with, the Reformed Church in America.  This is not a new discussion by any stretch of the imagination.  However, for many, this may be the first time that you are hearing about this. 
 
While some churches have put this in the forefront of things to talk about, HCC has chosen to keep it on the periphery as our affiliation with a denomination is ultimately subservient to our loyalty to Christ.  So, as things have continued to transpire, the leadership has been watching and waiting for the right time to have this conversation as a congregation.  We feel that the right time is now.
 
Two days ago, I released a short video laying out the history of our current struggles and how we got here.  Yesterday was information on our current reality and the immediate decisions in front of the General Synod (our national gathering as a denomination) in October.  The final video, today, will then involve some information on what we have done, can do, and some potential opportunities that may be in our future as a church.
 
Before you watch each of these videos, though, I want to ask you to take some time to read the following Scripture passage and prayerfully reflect on it in light of the current events of our day and the current cultural context that we are faced with.  Below that you will find a link to the video as well as some additional resources that I reference in them.
 
On Sunday, we are going to hear from this passage and others in a message about Biblical authority and our foundation in Scripture.  After the worship service, there will be some informal time for questions and answers regarding these videos and the denominational issues that we face.  We will likely be having some district meetings following this as well with dates to be determined.

Matthew 7:13-20

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

True and False Prophets

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
 
———-

———-


The Wide Gate: The RCA’s Current Situation

Last week, in one of our updates, I mentioned that we would be taking some time over the course of the next week to look at the conflict that has come to a head within the denomination that Hopkins Community Church is affiliated with, the Reformed Church in America.  This is not a new discussion by any stretch of the imagination.  However, for many, this may be the first time that you are hearing about this. 
 
While some churches have put this in the forefront of things to talk about, HCC has chosen to keep it on the periphery as our affiliation with a denomination is ultimately subservient to our loyalty to Christ.  So, as things have continued to transpire, the leadership has been watching and waiting for the right time to have this conversation as a congregation.  We feel that the right time is now.
 
Yesterday I released a short video laying out the history of our current struggles and how we got here.  Today will be information on our current reality and the immediate decisions in front of the General Synod (our national gathering as a denomination) in October.  The final video, tomorrow, will then involve some information on what we have done, can do, and some potential opportunities that may be in our future as a church.
 
Before you watch each of these videos, though, I want to ask you to take some time to read the following Scripture passage and prayerfully reflect on it in light of the current events of our day and the current cultural context that we are faced with.  Below that you will find a link to the video as well as some additional resources that I reference in them.
 
On Sunday, we are going to hear from this passage and others in a message about Biblical authority and our foundation in Scripture.  After the worship service, there will be some informal time for questions and answers regarding these videos and the denominational issues that we face.  We will likely be having some district meetings following this as well with dates to be determined.

Matthew 7:13-20

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

True and False Prophets

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
 
———–

———–


The Long, Broad Road: A Brief History of the RCA’s Current Situation

Last week, in one of our updates, I mentioned that we would be taking some time over the course of the next week to look at the conflict that has come to a head within the denomination that Hopkins Community Church is affiliated with, the Reformed Church in America.  This is not a new discussion by any stretch of the imagination.  However, for many, this may be the first time that you are hearing about this. 
 
While some churches have put this in the forefront of things to talk about, HCC has chosen to keep it on the periphery as our affiliation with a denomination is ultimately subservient to our loyalty to Christ.  So, as things have continued to transpire, the leadership has been watching and waiting for the right time to have this conversation as a congregation.  We feel that the right time is now.
 
So, for the next three days, I will be releasing a short video laying out various aspects of the current denominational strife.  We will start by talking about the history of our current struggles and how we got here.  Following that will be information on our current reality and the immediate decisions in front of the General Synod (our national gathering as a denomination) in October.  The final video will then involve some information on what we have done, can do, and some potential opportunities that may be in our future as a church.
 
Before you watch each of these videos, though, I want to ask you to take some time to read the following Scripture passage and prayerfully reflect on it in light of the current events of our day and the current cultural context that we are faced with.  Below that you will find a link to the video as well as some additional resources that I reference in them.
 
On Sunday, we are going to hear from this passage and others in a message about Biblical authority and our foundation in Scripture.  After the worship service, there will be some informal time for questions and answers regarding these videos and the denominational issues that we face.  We will likely be having some district meetings following this as well with dates to be determined.
 
————-

Matthew 7:13-20

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

True and False Prophets

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
 
————-

————-
 


Celebrations & Information: 7/8/2021

Good Morning HCC!

 
Coming to you with information regarding the ministry life of Hopkins Community Church including Sunday Church Information, Discipleship opportunities, community engagement opportunities, Church App Information, and prayer updates!
 
BUT FIRST A COUPLE OF OPPORTUNITIES TO CELEBRATE GOD’S WORK HERE AT HCC!
 
The High School Youth Group has returned safely from a great mission trip in Alaska!  We look forward to hearing more from them on Sunday, July 25!
 
The 4th of July was a great success for HCC’s community engagement push!  Thank you to everyone who helped with set up, tear down, donations, and participation!  We were able to share the Gospel message with nearly 400 people in the morning and celebrate with the community during the parade in the afternoon!
 
HCC’s first VISION CONNECTION EVENT was a great success!  Our GOAL is to make contact with every household in the Village of Hopkins (approx: 250) and get to know them, asking two specific questions:
  • How can we serve you?
  • How can we pray for you?
As of July 1, we have made 141 attempts and made contact with 78 households!  We have surpassed our JUNE GOAL of 25% completion!  Thanks to all of those who came out!  Another event will be scheduled for later in July!
 
Finally, a message from Caleb Nykamp and his family regarding our call to him to join us as our Youth and Families Pastor:
Dear Brothers & Sisters of Hopkins Community Church,
 
We are so excited as a family to join your congregation as Caleb accepts the call to be the Youth and Family Pastor at HCC! We both loved meeting many of you through the Sunday morning meet and greet as well as the picnic with consistory members, and we can’t wait to meet you all and get to know you on a deeper level in the coming weeks and months. This whole process has been such an answer to our prayers as a family, and we ask for your continued prayers for not only our family – but for HCC too as we all journey through this time of transition together. We look forward to seeing you all soon! 
 
Caleb, Rita, and Renee Nykamp
 
—————-
 
SUNDAY CHURCH INFORMATION:
 
Sunday Morning Worship (9:30 AM):
It is going to be a beautiful morning to worship outside!  We will be opening God’s Word to 1 Thessalonians 1:4-8 as we continue in our sermon series on Effective Evangelism in a message titled: “The ART of Serving Together”. Pastor Jon will be preaching.
 
We have 3 LIVESTREAM options for those unable to attend in person:
On the CHURCH CENTER APP
 
AFTER CHURCH we will be having a COOKOUT!  The Menu will be Pulled Pork, Coleslaw, and Potato Chips.  Water and Lemonade will also be available.  Hang around and enjoy some great food!  Bring your favorite yard games to set up and play too!
 
For those remaining in their vehicles, we welcome you to tune your radio to 97.3 FM.
—————-
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Download the “Church Center” app and get connected to HCC!  You can check out the updated information regarding this here:
 
Download it on Google Play or in the App Store

Please remember that we have a number of different giving options for you whether in person, via mail, ACH, and also online through the Church Center App.  You can check them out at: https://www.hopkinscommunitychurch.net/giving/

We are continually grateful for your ongoing generosity and support and encourage your continued commitment to God through faithful tithing and giving.  Your giving furthers the mission of God and His Vision for HCC!

—————-

Discipleship Opportunities:
There is No Expectancy Tonight as Pastor Jim is on Vacation.
 
People of the Book will be taking a break this week Sunday for both the cookout and due to Pastor Jim’s vacation. 
 
ROOTED small groups will be launching and re-launching in the fall.  There will be options for both the first series and the follow-up second series of ROOTED.  More information will be forthcoming.
 
—————-
 
Community Engagement:
HCC is hosting an AED/CPR Refresher course on July 14 at 6:00 PM.
 
Our next Blood Drive will be on September 7, 2021.  More information will be posted when it is available.  We will be hosting a blood drive at church every 8 weeks during 2021!  
Please sign up at www.redcrossblood.org.  Sign-ups for this are important as walk-ins are never guaranteed a spot.
 
—————-
 
Prayer Updates:
We offer our deepest sympathy to the Lodenstein family following the passing of Howard.
 
Sandy Morris is recovering from Gall Bladder surgery.  Pray for her full recovery.
 
Mike Stearns continues to heal after his eye surgery.
 
We extend our sympathies to the Grant and Antvelink families in the passing of Margaret
 
Tom and Nancy Scobey has asked for prayers for their brother-in-law, Al Kornoelje, and his wife, Karen.
 
Hollie Roblyer’s father, Leon Huff, continues to recover from a series of heart attacks and surgery.  The doctors found a mass in his abdomen and are running tests to figure out what it is and how to treat it. 
 
Cindy Kukor’s niece, Ashley Momber, has gone through the IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) process. Please pray for this couple, Curtis and Ashley, as they continue on this journey to become parents. 
 
Amanda Weber’s uncle, John, continues his radiation treatments for cancer but has received a great report that all but one tiny spot has disappeared!  We praise God for the healing work He has done in John!
 
Pastor Arlan Tenclay continues to battle cancer.
 
Eric Porter’s Aunt, Sherry Zandstra continues to recover.
 
Lauren Wolffis, a friend of Kristin VanderSyde, continues to battle stage 4 breast cancer.
 
Dale Talsma, Grandfather of Allison Halstead, is fighting bladder cancer & has dementia.  Please pray for healing for him and for wisdom for the family as they walk with him through this difficult time.
 
Ginger Talsma, Aunt of Allison Halstead, is struggling with Addison’s disease.
 
Mitch Punches continues to recover from his car accident..
 
Louise Allen, sister of Carol Boverhof, continues to battle cancer.
 
—————-
 
Have a blessed weekend  

PASTORS

Jonathon VanderWall (Lead Pastor)

Jim Harrison (Prayer, Discipleship, Leadership Development)

ELDERS

Dick Boverhof (District 4: M-R) – Vice President

 Sally Burgess (District 3: I-L)

 Curt Leep (District 2: F-H)

 Dan Kisner (District 1: A-E) – Clerk

 Kyle Hoffmaster (District 5: S-Z)

DEACONS

Troy Clement (District 2: F-H) – Head of Deacons

Joel Eding (District 3: I-L)

Rich Huizinga (District 4: M-R) – Executive Team

Mike Maule (District 5: S-Z)

Tyler VanderSyde (District 1: A-E)

Eric Porter (District 3: I-L)

ADMINISTRATIVE & SUPPORT STAFF

Kathy Westendorp (Office Administrator)

Lisa Harms (Cleaning & Custodial)

Kevin Dewey (Facilities Management)

Faith Reurink (Worship Intern)

VOLUNTEER LEADERS

Alicia Kent (Nursery, 0 – 2 yrs)

Cindy Lowman (Walk-out Worship, 3 yrs – Kindergarten)

Carrie Mulder (Children’s Discipleship, 3 yrs – 5th Grade)

Rachael Dewey (GEMS)

Bill Hennip (Cadets)

Cindy Kukor (Youth Discipleship, 6th – 12 Grade)

Carol Boverhof (Hospitality)

Dan Kisner (Security)



Lent Day 46: Matthew 27:11-66

Read: Matthew 27:11-66

Jesus Before Pilate

11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.

15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.

19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered.

22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.

38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

The Burial of Jesus

57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

The Guard at the Tomb

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Listen:

What stands out to you in this chapter?
Is there anything you are hearing in a new way?
Matthew records the events of Jesus’ death as well.  How does this record differ from what you have read throughout the week?  What might those differences be emphasizing and/or teaching us?

Pray:

That the Holy Spirit would move and that lives would be changed during our Easter worship service!
For the person/family you’re inviting to join you for worship on Easter Sunday.
Don’t forget to spend time listening as well!