Year-End Updates!

December 12, 2018

Dear Friends,

 

Thank you so much for your friendship and for your support of 343 Ministries. You have enabled us to follow God in this new venture and to take the time to truly listen to Him as He leads us ahead!  

 

We hope you enjoy the Christmas season, and as you look ahead to 2019, we hope you’ll join us in seeking God’s purpose. We don’t want to discover this only for ourselves, but want you to discover what God has created you to do! Todd has created "A Seven Day Journey Toward Purpose" devotional book, included here as a special thank you. Please read along with us!  

 

Now, an update:

 

Our vision for 343 has always been about community and spiritual growth in Christ beyond a Sunday service. This year we have had great opportunities to read and pray, as well as dialogue with people about their church experiences. Our culture has changed dramatically over the past 10-20 years. The church no longer holds the priority it once did in the lives of most people in our country and attendance is down nationwide. We now see clearly that an approach that starts where people live, work, and play is going to be most effective for us and in this particular time in our country. Instead of primarily asking people to come to a set building on one day of the week at a specific time for a set service, why not go to the people to be the church with them right where they are?

 

A few weeks ago, Todd had a chance to meet for breakfast with a dad and his daughter, who is 24.They both expressed interest not only in how we’re approaching spiritual concepts with people, but also in the idea of going beyond the “church as usual" mindset. They speculated that so often this mindset can lead to worship service attendance but not necessarily an increase in meaningful spiritual growth. Together we explored that shifting our concept of “church as usual” has great potential to help people grow to become more loving towards others in their lives.

 

In another conversation, Todd met with a friend who is 29 and grew up in Buckhead. He told Todd that for his generation, the desire for making a difference in life far outweighs the desire to simply show up for church on a Sunday morning. He expressed a need for ways to engage with like-minded people and with biblical concepts in order to be equipped to know how to love and help people as Jesus did. 

 

As we look ahead to 2019, we are hopeful for many things. In particular, we see potential to reach people where they live, work, and play with our upcoming Podcast. The 343 Podcast will focus on living an authentically, integrated life in our busy world while attempting to make a meaningful difference in our community. We will continue to engage with people through social media, focusing our efforts on Instagram. (You can find us @toddandmeredithbaker.) Our innovative Beers & Bible Study group has evolved into two groups, and a high school group is slowly taking shape.  Leaders are exploring how to bring God's love to people where they are in life, and because of this we anticipate 6-7 similar groups to be meeting in our local neighborhoods this coming year. We are excited to return to the Defoor Centre soon for special gatherings of the 343 family to celebrate what God is doing in our lives and in our city.

 

We are thankful you have decided to partner with us in this journey! We are excited to continue to create approachable communities and innovative ministry opportunities as we all seek to live joyful lives in following Christ in our world.Thank you for helping us to inspire people to love others the way Jesus did!

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Todd & Meredith

 

 

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