This past Sunday I introduced a new sermon series called “ALL IN”. I made a statement that attenders at GREFC can have very different views of what it means to be a follower of Christ. That fits with the reality that people have different opinions as to what it means to be “all in” as a regular attender of a local church or even working for the kingdom of God.
Let me repeat a key issue from the sermon. We must allow the “Word of God” to define what “ALL IN” really means and looks like. So my question for all of us is what experiences and beliefs have shaped our understanding of following Christ, shaped our view of the church and even what it means to be working for the kingdom of God?
These experiences and beliefs are not simple nor are they always consistent. Having been working in ministry for many years, I have seen people say that they are “all in” in a particular way and just a few months later things have taken a radical turn. Their “all in” has wavered and in some cases the direction of their lives have take a 180 degree turn and are now “all in” on a path that is diametrically opposed to that previous destination.
While preparing for the sermon I also was considering some previous pondering as to what God might want us to consider as a church in 2019. It was another reminder that many of us can have a different vision as to what a local church should actually be doing.
Now realize that when I refer to vision, most people quickly go to the particular forms of how we do church. It includes things like this:
- what kind of preaching should Ken do
- what type of programs should we have for our students and children
- what kind of music should we be singing
- what specific things should each ministry be doing
Now realize these are all very important and intersect with our lives deeply. But here is the reality; those things aren’t the core of what the scriptures reveal when in comes to having a biblical vision for the church. The bible deals very little in the “how to’s”. The forms of how we do things must enhance and support the greater biblical vision for a local church.
Let me remind you of some biblical “rocks – values” that God has revealed through the scriptures that lead to core values that every church must consider as they look to the future.
- We are to build our church around the person of Jesus. When people either meet us or come into our building, will they be catching a glimpse of Jesus? Jesus must be our “rock”.
- We must turn outward to see and love the lost and the hurting people that have so little or no hope in this world. How can we deepen and grow our vision to serve hurting marginalized people in 2019?
- We need to grow in becoming a church where people see our love for each other and want that kind of relationship with a church. John 17 implies that we can have such a love for each other that the “world” looks at those relationships and sees that Jesus was sent by the father. Can we take steps to include more and more of our church family in relationships that transform hearts and then shine outward to the world?
- We need to become people who are changed by the Word of God. One will never really get to know Jesus and our heavenly Father if the scriptures aren’t a part of our lives and our children’s lives. Without scripture no lasting spiritual growth will happen.
For the sake of time, I will stop at those (there are many more!), but here is where I would throw you an invitation.
Would you be willing to take some Wednesday nights and pray for these biblical values for GREFC looking ahead to 2019?
Beginning January 9th at 6:00 PM we are going to have a season of prayer for our church and community on Wednesday nights. God is honored when we gather together to pray. Scripture tells us that His Spirit is in our midst when we pray together as a church.