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I have been very encouraged by the feedback I have heard after our recent World Outreach Celebration (WOC). Many have commented on the excellent preaching and the timeliness of the messages delivered by our faithful brother, Ken Mbugua. Most who attended the meetings would testify that our Lord met with us, spoke to us, and encouraged us in his mission. As I mentioned recently, I was encouraged by those who gathered each night. Some, despite recent surgery—even chemotherapy—chose to come to hear what the Lord is doing through the missions outreach of BBC and to sit under the teaching of God’s word. Those with young children, even newborns, did the hard thing of attending these special meetings. Though we did not seem to have as many visitors from other churches as in years past, and though some of our own members did not attend, nevertheless, the Lord blessed our gatherings. I am thankful for this.

I am also thankful that our Faith Promise commitment for this year indicates a serious commitment by the majority of BBC to spread the fame of God’s name among the nations. Though I realise your response was to God and not to me or the elders, nevertheless I want to thank you for encouraging us by your sacrificial faithfulness.

The Sunday evening before the conference I exhorted us from Hebrews 10:24–25 that our gathering together during WOC would be vital to encourage us to remain faithful to our God-given mission unalterable. Thank you for taking heed to these words. Of course, our ultimate thanksgiving goes to God who has done this in our lives, yet the Scriptures both allow and encourage us to commend each other when there is a demonstration of love, hope and faith. I am simply doing that here. BBC, you have been a blessing, and I want to say thank you for being so.

On behalf of the congregation I do not think I am being presumptuous when I say thank you to the musicians, and to many who participated in the choir. Several commented on what a blessing the music was. I realise that this did not just happen but rather it was the outcome of a lot of practice and hard work. Thank you!

But often, when considering the choir, we fail to recognise the largest choir—this congregation. Wow! Did you notice the voices joined together in praise and hopeful worship each night, and then Sunday morning? I sit near the front of the hall and so perhaps I hear the effects of congregational singing more than others. Suffice it to say that it was tremendous, and it ministered to my soul. Thank you!

Often, such a meeting as we just had is made possible by the unsung heroes, like those who work in the creche. Thank you to those who assisted in this needful and greatly-appreciated ministry, especially since the services were longer than usual. Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed.

Thank you also to those who organised the eats and coffee/tea, as well as those who served on security detail. Perhaps many of us do not give enough consideration to all that goes into a WOC. I hope these words will go a long way to remind each of us of such loving labour.

Of course, special mention needs to be made of the WOC committee. Under the leadership of Quintin Starkey, this team works throughout the year discussing, planning and implementing all that makes our WOC such a consistent blessing. “Thank you” seems so weak, but, thank you!

In addition to our gratitude for all of the above, I want to point us to someone who administratively puts so much of this together. Of course I am speaking of Stuart. I know the hours that he puts into assuring that things are organised with a view to excellence. Thank you, Stuart, for going well beyond the call of duty in making sure that things flow as smoothly as they do.

I am afraid that there are many that I have not mentioned. If so, please do not take offence. Just know that, if you had a part in last week’s Celebration, the Lord was pleased and we were blessed by your participation.

Finally, as a congregation we need to give thanks to the Lord for his inexpressible gift of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 9:15). It is because of God’s grace that our congregation responded with grace to the appeal to faithfully commit ourselves to contribute what will probably be well over R900,000 to the missions outreach of BBC for the coming year. This will enable us to support the twelve missionaries/ministries for the coming year as well as to add some others with whom we can partner in the spread of the gospel and the planting /strengthening of local churches.

BBC has been significantly blessed to do this for many decades, and what a joy this is for us as a local church! Join with me in giving thanksgiving to our God.

When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church and spoke of God’s “inexpressible gift,” he did so in the context of their promise to materially support other believers who were in need (see 2 Corinthians 8–9). In other words, God’s gift motivated them to give. Paul was merely reminding them in these chapters to “now perform the doing of it” (8:11) And that is my exhortation to our congregation. We have made a significant promise to provide for those who are faithfully ministering. In the coming year, let’s be faithful to fulfil what we have promised for the spread of the gospel, to the encouragement of those faithful with that gospel, to the glory of God. And in anticipation of that let me simply say, “Thank you!”