Pastor’s Heart – March 2018
In Proverbs 28:19 we read in the King James Bible, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” A more modern translation of this verse by Southern Baptists called the Christian Standard Bible reads, “Without revelation people run wild.” The English Standard Version translates the first part of Proverbs 28:19 this way: “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint.” These three translations highlight the danger of not having vision. Vision is vital for our lives as followers of Jesus. Just as our eyesight allows us to see what is ahead, a clear vision for our lives and church helps all of us to see where the Lord is leading us.
In January of 2016, after weeks of discussion among the ministerial staff, we came up with a mission statement for our church—We exist to glorify God by loving ALL people and making disciples of ALL nations. This mission statement explains for us the “why” behind what we do as a church. In May of 2017, I preached a sermon series called “Blueprint” where I shared with you our ministry process. This is the “what” or “how” we are to function as a church to fulfill our mission (glorify God by loving all people and making disciples of all nations).
Connect – We are to connect people in fellowship and connect people to God in relationship.
Connection also implies partnership. We are better together than by ourselves. We want to partner with one another and with other churches to build God’s kingdom.
Grow – The goal is that our church be as healthy as possible. Our church needs to grow numerically and spiritually—wide and deep. We are to be growing deep as disciples but also growing numerically as we reach new people.
Go – We are to live our lives on mission, making disciples and planting churches. As we deny self, take up our cross, and follow Jesus, we will live our life on mission, making disciples of others by sharing Jesus with those who do not know Him. Once people come to know Jesus, then we disciple them so that they then replicate the same process. The fastest way to reach the most people with the gospel is to be a church that plants other churches.
This threefold ministry process can be put into a sentence like this: We want to be a healthy church (grow) that partners with one another (connect) and other churches (connect) to change the world by making disciples (go) and planting churches that multiply (go).
In the summer of 2017, the Lord revealed that unity is the overarching theme that is needed in our church to bring everything that we are doing and plan to do into alignment with God’s vision. In March of this year Cody Turner, Tracey Deavers, Tom Farr, and I will communicate in our Sunday morning worship gatherings a 20/20 vision for our church. These sermons will cast the vision for where we want to be as a church over the next three years. Each Sunday will have a different emphasis, but the four parts of the 20/20 vision will share things in common.
On Sunday, March 4, we will have two worship services: one at 8:45 and one at 11:00. Both will be in the sanctuary, and I will preach about unity in congregational worship and with other churches. On Sunday, March 11, we will share breakfast together at 8:30, have Sunday school at 9:30, a group picture at 10:30 in preparation for our 190th year as a church, and one worship service at 11:00 in the sanctuary. Cody Turner will bring the message that Sunday about next generation ministry. On March 18, Tracey Deavers and I will share the 20/20 vision for missions and on March 25, Tom Farr and I will share the 20/20 vision for discipleship. Please make every effort to be there on Sunday mornings this month to hear these critical messages explaining our 20/20 vision.
On Sunday morning, February 18, at 11:00am we had a student-led Disciple Now worship service in our New Life Building. We were at capacity with tremendous attendance. Drew Arrington, a member of our church, youth ministry, and senior at LaGrange High School preached a dynamic and prophetic message. He used multiple Scriptures, one of them being Acts 2:42-47 which speaks of how the early church was devoted to the apostles teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. He also spoke about the importance of unity in the body of Christ and our desperate need for the power of the Holy Spirit. I spoke with him afterwards and told him that the three things he emphasized are the three things the Lord is leading our church to be all about. How exciting that a young man followed the Lord’s leading and shared a message from God’s Word in unity with the very things that we as a church need!
When there are so many dire statistics out there about the next generation, how encouraging it is that over the Disciple Now weekend 39 students prayed to receive Jesus, 85 students committed themselves to more time in God’s Word, 25 expressed a desire to be discipled, and 5 students sensed God leading them into full-time Christian ministry. We partnered with six churches and 315 students participated (with around 200 of those being students who signed up from our student ministry). Thank you to Cody Turner, Amy Peek, and everyone who prayed, served in any capacity, transported students, opened up your home, and celebrated with us at the 11:00 worship service. Let us praise God and give Him the glory for the great things He has done, is doing, and is going to do in and through us as we surrender ourselves to God’s vision for our church!