Thoughts from Dr. Rich:
God has His hand on central Ohio. He has sent numerous God-honoring, kingdom-minded planters to join our association of kingdom-minded churches. Of our 119 churches, God has added 63 of them to our coalition since 2004. In addition, Stowe Mission of Central Ohio moved into a larger, 15,000 square foot home in 2010. Last year alone, over 167,000 meals were served to needy people through Stowe's Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. The president/CEO of Stowe, Rev. Michael Brooks, has been in the news (print, television, internet) some 15 times in the last two years or so. God is granting us favor. Many partners have come on board.
Our existing churches continue to support, plan and change the culture by infusing the gospel so many areas. How does all this happen? I tell whomever will listen what is happening here is attributed to two things: a great God and churches working together. In many ways, what has happened only serves as a platform for the greater things God wants to do.
For our association, I believe the Lord sees 200 churches in the not-too-distant future. I believe He sees 4 major locations for Stowe, along with 40 satellites throughout central Ohio. I believe He sees thousands upon thousands of people (out of the 1.8 million people in central Ohio) coming to Christ in the years to come. I believe He sees a dozen churches whose average Sunday/weekend attendance exceeds 2,000. I believe He desires our churches to impact our area, our state, our region and the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has gradually, consistently and deliberately continued to build the team of churches who can do it. He wants us, I believe, to build churches in each setting: urban, suburban, rural and ex-urban; with a plethora of ethnicities; involving every socio-economic stratum; and having representation in each identifiable area. He desires, I believe, for each of our existing churches to grow and flourish in her setting, while adding new ministries in under touched areas. Focused on God Almighty and His inerrant Word, we are to pursue an abandonment of convenience and comfort to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our lives are to be expended for the Lord Jesus Christ and the sake of the gospel. Other like-minded people are invited to join this push. Call me if you are so inclined.