"I had come to pay my respects to my best friend. Seth was killed the previous fall in Afghanistan while I was deployed to Iraq. This was my time to say goodbye, to grieve. My family and I walked out of the lobby of the hotel to drive to his grave site in Arlington National Cemetery, our somber mood and sadness contrasting sharply with the smiling tourists shuffling by on their way to the museums and monuments of Washington D. C. My hurt and anger came out in judgment of others. I hated them and their happiness—the fact that they'd forgotten (or were ignoring) the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the deaths of many friends.
Only now, years later, am I realizing that I am just one more tourist, my judgment without merit because I am them—watching the world through lenses that block out the truth of a conflict much greater than any physical battle. How many times have I remained ignorant of the spiritual battle we are in the midst of, completely unaware that Satan is on the offense, and the cost is not physical lives but spiritual and eternal lives?" — John "Hee Haw" McConnell, USMC
The Apostle Peter reminds us, "Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil," — 1 Peter 3:13-17 (ESV).
Grow in knowledge of the word.
Live your life as an example.
Give reasons for your hope.
Every man (member in good standing with the church) participating in events
Personal and relational growth in Christ
Growth in the body of Christ (increase in attendance during worship services and church events)
Growth in the amount of workers and leaders — focus of effort should be on building the next generation of elders and deacons
Weekly Prayer Meeting
Wingmen huddle each week for study, prayer, and fellowship, following the example from the very earliest days of the church. Acts 2:42 notes four elements essential for community growth: teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. We're currently discussing a psalm each time we meet and learning to pray "conversationally," using this template: