Because of expected ice storm on Sunday January 9, only 8:30 worship will take place onsite.

May 25, 2023

A Pastoral Word. . . End of an Era

Rev. Kevin Freeman

May 25, 2023
Maybe you heard the big news: Netflix has announced that in about six months it will discontinue its DVD mailing service. The idea to mail the DVDs started with a personal mailing in 1997 – right around the time Pastor Mark became our senior pastor. By 2002 Netflix had gone public, and its service grew significantly. Amid the success, Netflix disrupted the entire video rental industry, delivering a knockout blow to Blockbuster. Netflix’s DVD subscriber count peaked at about 20 million in 2010 before dwindling to about 2 million in 2020, the most recent year reported. Estimates put the current number of subscribers at about 1.3 million.

While the news of the discontinued DVD-by-mail service probably shocked no one – except for those who were surprised it still existed – the change nevertheless represents the end of an era. People often use changes like this to contemplate what cultural impact has occurred from an institution. I got to thinking that Redland has been doing something similar. Our now-retired Pastor Emeritus Mark Adams faithfully served as senior pastor for about as long as DVDs were mailed. Redland Baptist Church has had the opportunity to reflect and reminisce on the impact that Mark and Sue have had on our church and in our lives. This time of transition leaves us wondering, “What is next?”

Netflix does not have to wonder what is next. Its streaming service has rapidly climbed. 23.8 million subscribers in 2011 have grown to 203.7 million in 2020! Despite being a juggernaut in the industry, Netflix will not last forever. Something new will take its place. Something always does.

The Church is different.

Until Christ calls His people home, the Church will continue. That’s because the Church is not built on technology or dollars or innovation or websites. The Church is built on the blood of Jesus, who died to save us from our sins! When Jesus asked the disciples who they believed He was, Peter rightly answered that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus responded by speaking of Peter’s confession, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome It” (Matthew 16:18, NIV).

Redland Baptist Church had existed and flourished for 19 years by the time the first Blockbuster Video store opened in 1985. We were still thriving when Blockbuster declared bankruptcy in 2010. I daresay that we will still be humming along when a similar fate happens to Netflix. This is not because of anything special about us but rather about our faithful God who has led our church these past 57 years through the guidance of 4 different senior pastors. God will one day soon bring a new senior pastor to Redland. Let’s lift our Pastoral Search Committee members in prayer and prepare our own hearts until that time.

Paul reminds us, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV). God is at work here! He will continue to faithfully carry out the good work that He has begun in our church.

This is not the end of an era so much as the continuation of one – a new chapter in an amazing story of God’s faithfulness. Bill, Peggy, and I are thankful to be part of the great work that God is doing and will do among all of us here at Redland Baptist Church.

Your partner in ministry,
Kevin Freeman
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