Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Great Commission’

7 Items You Need to Change the World

In Gospel Living on October 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

together-we-can-change-the-world

The first time I traveled overseas was an interesting journey.  I had been appointed by the Tennessee Baptist Convention to be a Summer missionary to the Philippines.  There were several things I needed in order to go and I couldn’t wait until the last minute.  Between school and work schedules I carved out time to go to Memphis (90 miles).  I had to get shots, papers, a passport, and other travel necessities.  Of course, it wasn’t just one trip.  After several shots and a hand cramp from filling out papers, I returned to school.  I had 2 sore arms and leg the next day.  The TBC arranged all my travel plans. I was ready to go!

A few years later, I was organizing an overseas trip and became aware of all the fine details of travel.  Of course, 9/11 had happened, which changed a lot.  Yet, there were many things I was thankful to have handled on earlier trips that we now had to do.  We had a list of shots.  We all had passports.  We decided on the travel itinerary.  We applied for visas.  We registered with the IMB and State Department.  All of this was necessary for safety and proof of identity.

Nehemiah was going through the same ordeal as he prepared to travel out of country to go to Jerusalem.

The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?” With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.” The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request. I also said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah.  And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me. When I came to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, I delivered the king’s letters to them. The king, I should add, had sent along army officers and horsemen to protect me.

As we boarded each flight we produced the necessary documents.  As we arrived in Niger, we had several documents to produce in order to go through customs and be allowed entrance to the country.  Without the proper documentation, we would have been stuck and likely been sent away or detained!

If we, as followers of Christ are going to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission we are going to travel internationally.  Over 6,000 people groups have yet to adequately hear the Gospel.  If we don’t go, then who will?  We must take up the mantle and go to the ends of the earth until the whole world hears!

What do you need?

  1. Passport
  2. Money
  3. Sending Church or Church Group Going
  4. Flight
  5. Visas and Travel Insurance
  6. Shots
  7. Register with State Department (depending on country)

Many other items are just comfort things.  If you want to seriously be part of changing the world, pray up and get your passport!

Driving School Steps 6-10

In Chrisian Life on November 8, 2013 at 7:00 am

Clipart-PinewoodDerbyCar

Here are the rest of the steps to Driving School for the Royal Ambassadors (Boys 1st-6th Grade) pinewood derby.  The ability to draw out the vision, sanding, and painting are good and useful things to know.  The following is something I have developed to give as  devotions to the boys after each part of the process.

6.  Paint and Stripe (1 Corinthians 12) – At this point all the cars look very similar since the primer we used was the same for all the cars.  The fun begins here because the boys choose the color and definition for their car.  By the time we get done, no two cars look-alike but they are all in the same group.  Your life and the church is just like that car.  You have unique talents and abilities given to you by God.  These are used in and through the local church.  Every person in the body of Christ is different but in the same group.  Paul addresses this idea in the chapter referenced.  There are many members but one body.  Be proud of your paint and stripes, but remember, you are still part of a group!

7.  Clear Coat (1 Thessalonians 5:11) – The cars have been cut, sanded, primed, and painted.  At this point we introduce the clear coat to the boys.  This is a final touch before the wheels go on.  The clear coat provides an extra layer of protection and a glossy finish.  When the light hits these cars they shine like crazy.  Adding the clear coat is not required but highly encouraged.  Putting ourselves in a position to encourage and be encouraged to make right decisions at the right times and for the right reasons is a sign of maturity.  As we encourage one another and build each other up we help one another shine in the light of Jesus for all the World to see.

8.  Wheels (Matthew 28:18-20) – The boys can hardly contain themselves at this point.  Putting on the wheels is the final step in building a car.  With the wheels we are able to put the cars into motion.  The boys need to handle the car carefully because of alignment issues that can cause the car to wreck, or jump into another lane harming another car.  We are charged to make disciples of the nations.  We are put into motion by the wheels of the Great Commission.  Let us go, handling the Gospel carefully in order to keep moving at a rapid pace!

9.  Race (Hebrews 12:1-2) – Race day is a fun and exciting time for all involved.  Before each race we make sure the wheels have enough graphite to keep the friction to a minimum and increase speed.  Our lives need to maintained before each day so that we can run the race set out for us by God.  Putting on graphite is spending time in prayer, confession, and Bible reading to aid in laying aside the sin in our lives.

10.  Win (Acts 8:26-40) – Wins come at different stages depending on the boy.  Some boys win because they completed their car.  Some boys win because they competed in a race.  Some boys win because the timer said they did.  All the boys win because of the joy and value of fellowship, friendship, and fun being joined into the process.  Our win as Christians is helping someone else place their faith and trust into Jesus as their solution to sin and eternity.

 

It’s Elementary My Dear Witness

In Evangelism on October 30, 2013 at 8:43 am

Sherlock Holmes

God wanted to make known among the Gentiles
the glorious wealth of this mystery,
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:27

I love a good mystery and is why I enjoy several shows on TV these days.  The show Elementary takes on the Sherlock Holmes / Dr. Watson characters in a new way while still holding to many traditional concepts.  Each week a new mystery unfolds and the duo set out to uncover the truth using science and observation.  While the show does not use the famous line “It’s elementary my dear Watson”, the show has an atmosphere that unveils the same attitude.  What I enjoy about Holmes is that once he reveals his process it does seem quite simple, if one would just observe.

The same is true about the “mystery” of evangelism.

We have heard countless speakers and sermons on the Great Commission.  We get it.  I think.  We know we are supposed to win the world to Christ, but so often we do not.  Where is the hiccup?  Like so many who stand around Holmes, we aren’t really getting it.  Not that we couldn’t start.  We are paralyzed at the starting line.  The gun went off long ago, but we are still frozen.  What is the cause?

1.  Focus.  We become so energized about winning the world with the Gospel we forget about those closest to us.  While we are out raising money and traversing the world, our neighbors are without hope.  It is hard to believe that people in our own communities might not truly know the Gospel, but many do not.  People have an acquaintance with the story but not an association with the Savior.  We are to win the world.  We are to win our homes too.

2.  Observe.  I have sat through many seminars on sharing the Gospel.  We are information heavy today but inspiration light.  Sharing the Gospel is less about a script and more about your story and how it relates to the person standing in front of you.  Because we are hyped up on the latest script, we fail to observe.  Have you seen your neighbors lately?  Have you noticed your classmates?  Have you recognized their pain, sorrow, and hopelessness?  The struggles of life afford you the chance to love them in Christ.  Give them love.  Give them Jesus.

3.  Solve.  Sherlock solves the case.  He focused and made observations.  These observations brought about conclusions to the mystery afoot.  Sherlock, like Jane on the Mentalist, will bring everyone involved into the room and begin to share observations and deductions.  The solution is given.  The perpetrator is revealed, or surrenders, and the mystery solved.  The mystery the unbeliever has not solved is their need for God.  Many do not see their need.  Most do not see their sin as that egregious.  We, through focus and observation help them to see the solution is Jesus.

While we do not need to be as condescending and Holmes can be, we are to help people understanding their position.  Begin with a renewed focus on your family, neighbors, classmates, and co-workers.  If, through observation, you discover those who have already solved the  mystery then join with them in fellowship.  If, however, you find some still searching use daily and life events as a way for them to see God’s love and provision.

It’s elementary my dear witness!

7 Reasons The 7 Dwarfs Would Make Good Church Planters

In Evangelism, Faith, Missions on September 2, 2013 at 7:29 am

dwarfs1

Church planting is sexy these days! The missions agency of my denomination is heavily promoting this process of making disciples.  No matter who you are it seems that everyone wants to plant a new church.  Some will make it a full-time vocation.  Others, like myself, try to encourage their church to be involved in such grand endeavors.  Having a 9-year-old daughter, I have watched, and read, Snow White many times.  I wonder what happened to the guys.  What if the dwarfs became church planters? Here are 7 reasons why I think they would do a good job:

1. Work Ethic – these men worked hard in the mine everyday with joy. They felt it only proper to work hard. Church planting takes an effort. Going into a place where there are high numbers of unchurched takes an effort to build trust and relationships. It doesn’t just happen and certainly not overnight.  Planters spend countless hours (See #7) starting, building, and keeping friendships.  The friends soon meet our Eternal Friend in Jesus Christ.

2. Singular Focus – they were miners and did not try to do multiple things.  While many church planters must have a supportive job, it is best when they realize that those jobs only serve to provide for the ministry. One way to provide for singular focus is to gather a few larger churches to pitch in together to provide for monetary needs while the start-up happens.  Pastors in established congregations seek to help others in fulfillment of the Great Commission.  One strong way is to help provide the monthly budget needs of a church planter and family.

3. Integrity – they were true to who they were. The names spell out their very personality: Dopey, Doc, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, Grumpy. Happy was never Grumpy. Sleepy was never Dopey. Doc was never Bashful. Each one was just who they were supposed to be. Church planters that succeed are authentic people of Christ. They do not try to be who they are not even if the neighborhood to which God calls is different from themselves.  Integrity makes a larger impact than imitation.

4. Unity Driven – they were a tight group who not only worked hard but worked together. These guys worked together and hung-out too. They shared meals and did everything together. They kept one another in line and on task. Church planters are efficient because they have limited resources and a massive task. They are masters at getting the best out of everyone by utilizing everyone’s strengths and compensating for weaknesses.  They will hang out, recreate, eat, laugh, and do life together with the people God bring them.  They will be unified through Jesus.

5. Protective – they would do anything to protect one of their own and Snow White. These miners were tough guys until she came along! They would give their own lives for her. This protective nature was seen in their reaction to her demise and their response of eternal vigil until the prince came along. Church planters love the people to whom God calls them. Building relationships and sharing Christ are just the beginning. Church planters hearts break for the lostness in their towns and cities. They weep for the people and wish to see them filled with the joy of Christ. Once they have won a brother or sister in Christ they are family.  When Satan comes to take them back, church planters are fiercely protective of their new family members.

6. Musically Inclined – Church planters often have a variety of gifts. They know their trade and do everything with a song in their heart. Whether they have a guitar strapped to their back or not, these men and women sing to and for God everyday. Some double dip in the beginning and lead worship and then provide teaching. Church planters are usually multifaceted by God and use it wonderfully for His glory!

7. Eat Well – The miners acted like they had not eaten until Snow came along. But once she started feeding them they could not get enough of her cooking. They even learned a few things along the way. Every conference I attend I make sure I eat with the church planters! They know the best places to eat! Healthy appetites and well-defined palettes make for good lunch choices. While this point may seem lighthearted, planters understand that relationships cannot be built-in offices but out in the towns. Thus, church planters know where the best coffee is served because they have had many morning meet-and-greets with people. They know the best lunch and dinner spots because most of us talk better around a table of food than in a conference room.

I suppose these guys went back to their mines.  If the seven dwarfs would have become church planters I believe they would have succeeded. These 7 characteristics describe the best planters I know. How about you?

 

 

The Day The Music Died

In Church, Evangelism, SBC on October 25, 2012 at 7:21 am

In 6th grade band I was trying out for 1st chair.  For the non-bandy types this means the number 1 position in the instrument area.  The music was provided in time for a week of practice.  I practiced it until I had it cold.  I was new in this school and had much to prove both for myself and my social position.  If I could win 1st chair from the one who had it I would score major points in many areas important to a 6th grade boy!  The day finally came for tryouts. In the middle of band, while everyone was present, we had to play the piece for the teacher.  As each took a turn, I couldn’t help but notice that theirs sounded strange.  About that time, it was my turn.  I straightened up in the chair and played it just the way I had practiced.

I got last chair.

You see, the picture at the top represents what is called the key signature.  It tells a player how to  play certain notes.  In this picture you see that there are 3 sharps (#).  I played the music as if it had 2 sharps.  There is no real reason for this other than God knew I needed humility at this point in my life!

If we use the wrong standard of measurement, or the wrong key signature, you will not win what you desire.  I believe that our denomination, state conventions, and churches are using the wrong standard of measurement when it comes to gauging success.  Every year we pass out awards for those who have baptized the most overall and per capita.  I believe we have been negligent when it comes the commands of Christ in this regard. Let’s look at 2 verses.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.”

I was taught and have preached this verse of Jesus with passion for evangelism.  However, I think we fell short.  When you harvest, the reproduction(evangelism and conversion) has already taken place.  The harvest is of the fruit which contains seeds for more reproduction.  In other words, the harvest is of disciples.  This fruit is what every farmer is after.  Disciples are what Jesus wanted.  However, we have grown happy just to have leaves push through the soil and reveal a field of green.  This is at the heart of awarding for baptisms and not disciples.  We award churches for cultivating the soil, planting seeds, and seeing green leaves.  No farmer in their right mind thinks that is the harvest.  The harvest is later.  The goal of Jesus is not converts but disciples.

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.

If we continue to play in the wrong key like I did on that day, then we will never sit 1st chair.  Baptism numbers are not as telling as evangelism ratios.  How many people does it take in your church to win someone to Jesus?  The current SBC statistic is here.  What is it in your church?  You see the harvest is the fruit of the growth and ability to reproduce.  The harvest is the a field of stubby green.  The farmer does not get a check(award) because of sprouts(converts).  The farmer gets a check(award) with the harvest(disciples).  Evangelism ratios are not the only way to measure discipleship.  However, it is better than what we are doing.

What other standards could we use to measure discipleship?

If NBC wrote mottos for the Church…

In Church on October 22, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I admit I like this show.  I liked season one better than the others because it had more football and less angst and drama.  Yet, my wife and I watched it all the way to its inglorious end!  I especially like the motto that Coach Taylor used throughout the series: Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose!

Taking from that strain of thought, I wondered what would a motto for church would sound like.  I have been reading through Acts lately and something in chapter 2 really hit me.  The disciples had been told to wait for the Holy Spirit who would bring power into their lives.  Jesus had returned to the Father. He had promised a replacement; a comforter.  This would be the Holy Spirit as He called Him.  He promised them power, ability, and courage if they would be patient and wait.  Huddled in a room they prayed for days.  On the day of Pentecost, which is a big deal in Jewish life, they were all gathered together in one place.  That first verse in chapter 2 can be overlooked because we want to get to the big stuff, but they were all together in one place when God made the big move.

Coach Taylor brought up the motto all the time.  He wanted them to realize that if they were going to win then they needed clear eyes and full hearts.  If you have watched the show, you know the alcohol involved. the indulgence of kids brought several difficulties in their lives.  I think clear eyes have to do with focus also.  The team as a whole needed to be focused on the job at hand and not wandering around with other agendas.  The players also needed full hearts which is a reference, I believe, to relationships.  The players that were emotionally healthy were positive, productive, people.

Is there a chant for the church today?  Is there some great motivating concept? If we want to experience a mighty move of God we have to be in position for it.  We must make ourselves available for it to happen in our lives and churches.  What is this concept?

I know it’s longer and maybe not as catchy but this is important for us.  I may not have NBC backing this motto and plastering it everywhere, but we must consider it.

One Heart speaks to our emotions.  Do I love the people in my church?  Do I know them?  Do I know their names, families, or birthday?  Do I know their pains and joys?  Churches with one heart do.  Those churches are places people want to be.  Don’t believe the hype that everyone wants to be anonymous.  People are grasping for relationships any way they can acquire.  The church is to be that place of safe, stable, supportive relationships.

One Mind speaks to our vision and focus.  What does your church believe?  Does everyone believe the same doctrines?  Do they agree on the primary items of theology?  How is your church attempting to achieve the Great Commission? Do you have a purpose or vision that resonates with the church and impacts the culture?  Church is not a building.  Church is people bonded together by the blood of Jesus to affect a better future for those around them.

One Place speaks to position.  Do the majority of your congregation attend every week?  Or is it, like many, every other week that is the same group?  If they all showed up at the same time it is both amazing and exciting rolled together!  We live such busy lives that we relegate church to an equal position with everything else.  In fact, if the church could acquire good family guilt our attendance might increase!  The point is that if the church ever wants to see God move people need to be present together.

Full Power refers to what happened next.  The disciples were all together in one place making themselves available to God for whatever purpose He chose.  In this position of availability He poured out the Holy Spirit.  If the church today wants to receive the full power of God we must make ourselves available.

One Heart. One Mind. One Place. Full Power.

The EPIC Plan

In Direction, Evangelism, Jesus, Leadership, Missional, Missions on October 15, 2012 at 11:10 am

We all want days like this, right?  How do we achieve them?  As a follower of Jesus Christ, you have been given an EPIC plan from the King!  Let me briefly share it with you.

Let’s begin with 2 words of encouragement because I know what you’re saying.  It is the same thing I used to say.  You don’t believe you can.  You don’t think you’re qualified.  Some of you believe success is for someone else.  I disagree.  I believe that God desires to so much more in you, to you, and through you then you could ever think or imagine.  I believe God has your best interest in mind, all the time.

Encouragement #1 – Power
Jesus said that all power in Heaven and Earth had been given to Him.  All of the resources of God are at His disposal.  Jesus is telling you that these resources are available to you to carry out the plan.

Encouragement #2 – Presence
Jesus says that He will be with you always.  He will walk you through the process.  He will hold your hand.  He will cheer and cry with you.  He will, forever, be with you.

When you look at these verses  in Matthew 28 you see how He has created bookends around the plan of power and presence.

18Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  19Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

What is this plan?  It is EPIC!!

Engage the world around you.  When Jesus said “Go”, He meant what He said.  We are to go into the world.  Our world today is not as receptive to the street corner screamers and Bible bashing believers of days gone by.  Actually, I am not sure how productive they ever were but they were popular at one time.  Today’s culture is spiritually savvy.  They have been inoculated with just enough Jesus to be dangerous.  Through evangelism efforts, VBS, event ministries, and more people have become aware of the Gospel.  We must engage them in a relationship.  Striking a balance between the time needed to develop this relationship and the urgency of knowing Jesus could return at any time is a difficult one to accomplish.  However we must attempt to speak into the lives of people through a relationship.

Proclaim the message of Christ.  A relationship is the beginning of an opportunity to share the gospel with them.  Over time, there will be a certain amount of trust that will allow you to turn a conversation in the necessary direction.  We are to go into the world.  Some critics would have you believe that we are only responsible for those in our immediate areas.  According to the earlier verse and this one we are to go everywhere!

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

We are to engage and proclaim locally, nationally, and internationally as God allows and provides.

Instruct the commands.  The third part of this plan is to teach new believers the ways of Jesus.  Conversion is not the endgame.  Making disciples is the endgame.  David Platt and Francis Chan have pulled together a great resource for accomplishing this task at Multiply Movement.  Making converts is exhausting because you never get any help!  If you make disciples then you are building in a growing number of people exponentially.

Continue until completion.  Until Jesus returns or every human being as accepted the call of discipleship, there is no stopping point.  We continue to engage, proclaim, and instruct.

Be EPIC!  You know you want to!!

 

Expect the Unexpected

In Church, Evangelism, Leadership, Missional, Missions on October 8, 2012 at 10:25 am

The region had not received rain in a long time.  The ponds had dried up.  The wells had dried up.  The ground had cracks deeper than you could see.  The preacher stood up every Sunday and preached the Word with boldness and conviction.  This particular Sunday he closed the service reminding everyone that the evening service would be dedicated to praying for rain.  They grabbed hands and closed with prayer.  As the church doors were opened and the old building was ready for the evening service, people began to file in.  Soon the normal crowd had arrived and the preacher began the service.  He rose and approached the pulpit with a curious look.  His gaze was fixed on the people.

“Did y’all come to pray for rain?”, he questioned.

Everyone replied, “AMEN!!”

“Do you believe in a rain giving God?”, he asked.

Everyone replied, “AMEN!!”

He paused and grabbed hold of the pulpit.  “Where are your umbrellas?”, he thundered.

The people had come to pray for rain without bringing their umbrellas.  They did not expect rain because the weatherman said there would not be rain.  The farmer’s almanac said there would not be rain.  There were no clouds on the horizon.  The umbrellas stayed at home, but they were going to pray for rain to come….someday.  They did not expect the unexpected.

I live close to a city that blew up a few years ago with growth.  They were a sleepy suburb and enjoyed the distance from the city.  However, all that changed. Because they had not expected this kind of growth, the infrastructure was not ready.  Even years later, the road systems are not yet prepared to handle the onslaught of traffic every day.  The city continues to scramble to keep up

We, in our churches,  are often like these groups.  We have experienced decline in attendance, baptism, and finances.  The slide has been going on for a while now and is reaching epic proportions.  The cracks are deeper than we can see.  Because of the continual turning away of our culture from God we have come to believe that church growth is always for someone else.

What of God dropped a 50% increase of people on your church right now?  What if He doubled your attendance over the next quarter?  Would you be ready?  Could you handle it?  Would it be so unexpected that the sheer traffic would cause problems in the parking lot or hallways?

How can we be ready?  Just like soil, there must be preparation and cultivation before the seed is planted.  Once that is done nurturing takes place and then the harvest.  In church circles we often refer to the harvest as the conversion of people from lostness to salvation.  But having new, unexpected, growth is an exciting time much like harvest is each year in rural America.  When are we ready to plant?  You are ready to SEED the ground when the following are accomplished:

Spiritual development of those already in your church.  Often, the greatest hindrance to growth are those already in the church.  Growth means change.  Growth can mean adjustment of the power base.  Growth can be painful because classes and groups get moved to rooms and spaces best sited for their size.  A group of 4 doesn’t need a space that accommodates 30, if such a group is in a space that really only houses 20.  Development of the people to see the biblical perspective of missions, personal evangelism, and growth are necessary to increase the spiritual infrastructure of your church.  The “roads” and “utilities” must be ready to handle the growth are everything falls apart.  Prayer and study along these specific lines are important.

Education space must be evaluated.  Every state has consultants that can help you analyze your current situation and help you see where adjustments can be made.  There are certain standard criteria for space needs:

25 sq ft / preschool child
25 sq ft/ grade school child
15 sq ft / youth
8 sq ft / adult

An easy way to check this is to count the number of dropped ceiling tiles in the room.  If the standard 2′ x 4′ tile is used then it takes 3 tiles per child, 2 tiles per youth, and 1 tile (without tables) or 2 tiles (with tables) per adult.

Environment is critical to people these days.  Walk through your facility as if you were a first-time guest with a very critical eye.  Here are a few thoughts:

Is it clean or dirty?
Are the floors clean or dirty? Old or new?
Are the walls up-to-date with paint or needed a fresh coat last century?
Is it well-lit?
Is it too hot or cold?
What does it smell like?
Are there signs to point me in the right direction outside and inside?
Are there people greeting me and helping me find my way?
Is there coffee? (personal preference here)
Is there laughter?  Do people smile?  Do people whisper in the halls?
Does the handout or bulletin clearly mark what my next step would be?

These are just a few things to consider about the environment.  As you can see it is more than aesthetics, it is also attitude.  Before God will give you more you have to show responsibility with what you have.  Refer to the Parable of the Talents.

Develop a plan to reach those God has chosen for you to reach with the Gospel.  Every church in your town has the same Great Commission if they are a Bible-believing church.  Evaluate the facilities God has already given you as a church.  For example, if you are land-locked church with no green space or gym then it might be difficult for you start a sports ministry such as Upward-anything.  However, if through prayer and research you realize that God has given you connections to the school and their gym then it might be different.  This leads us to next area of the plan.  We have reviewed what God has given.  Now you must investigate who God has given you.  What skills and spiritual gifts are in your congregation?  The what and who give you in-depth understanding of potential starting points to reach the group God wants you to reach.  Demographics play a part in this research.  However, they are not the final say on what is done.  Put all the pieces together.  What facilities and strengths do you have?  What skill-sets and spiritual gifts do you have?  What group is not being reached by your community?  Find a common denominator and begin ministry.

Once the SEED has been planted and with a little water and nurturing, your church could see a harvest before long.  Pull out the rain slicker and get ready for God to do something unexpected!

Musketeer Ministry

In Church, Evangelism, Leadership, Missional on September 27, 2012 at 10:25 am

“All for one and one for all!”  This was the cry of the Three Musketeers.  They would rally together and then usually defeat whatever size attack would come their way.  The swashbuckling tales of these men were engaging and exciting!  I believe our ministry should be engaging and exciting.  While making disciples that make a difference is not for the weak, it does not have to be overly complicated either.  Over the years, I have developed and implemented this concept in every church.  However, it has never looked the same twice.  Every church has her own needs and purpose.  I believe that every church has a calling from God to accomplish.  While we all have the Great Commission and Great Commandment, every church looks different.  We have too great a need just to copy or repeat someone else’s work and ministry.  We can learn from others, but we must do what God wants for each local church.  I would like to share with you a few key points.

I believe a person must come to faith in Jesus Christ.
We live in a world that is confused.  So many people want to believe that they must have more right than wrong to go to Heaven.  People want to believe they are not dead in their sin.  People want to believe that attendance and baptism are the requirements.  The truth is that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ.  We cannot be a disciple or make a lasting difference until faith is placed in Jesus Christ.

I believe that a convert is to become a disciple.
Jesus discipled His followers.  We call them disciples, but they were becoming disciples as they walked with Him.  Jesus did not have a program.  He had a process.  He spent time developing their thinking about everyday life.  He sent them to try-out ministry.  He taught them and He loved them.  Though one betrayed Him, 11 changed the world!  I believe that being a convert is not the end.  Jesus commanded us to make disciples.  This job is messy.  We have to engage in people’s lives.  We help them through difficulties and we clean up messes.  Yet, we change the world with this process.

I believe that a church is to nurture one another to make disciples that make a difference.
The local church is the point of reference for the follower of Jesus.  Corporate worship is a time for the believer to gather with others and celebrate God’s goodness and Jesus’ resurrection.  The programs and ministries of the local church serve to make disciples that are making a difference locally, nationally, and globally.  We cannot continue to isolate ourselves in holy huddles.  We must spring forth from worship to connect our faith to our lives.

I believe no two churches will look exactly alike because God has specific purposes for each and populated those churches with the right people to carry out the task.
I have seen this dynamic far too often. Pastors preach like the popular speakers.  Churches model themselves after the latest trends and books.  We cannot be someone else.  God has planted every church for a specific purpose in His overall redemption plan.  For this reason, every church will look and feel a little different.  It is the responsibility of the leadership to help develop the esteem and identity of the congregation so that the church can flourish as God intended.  It then becomes the responsibility of the church to follow the leadership God provides.

I believe a pastor of a church should strive to equip, encourage, and engage the people to fulfill the call of the Kingdom in their lives both individually and corporately.
The role of a pastor has been hotly debated over the years.  It has also changed over the years.  I do not think there is any one perfect pastor type.  God puts pastors and churches together in a symbiotic relationship; each needs the other.  Whenever either one misunderstands this point there will be obstacles to overcome and barriers to growth.  However, when both understand the benefit of the other God receives glory and He blesses His church. Some pastors will be highly evangelistic and have great numbers in salvation and baptisms.  In a few years, everyone wonders where those people are.  Some pastors, want to gravitate toward social ministry without a proper balance of evangelism or development.  Still others will want to take a few and drive them deep into the Word, but are missing the larger picture.  I believe in balance.  We must be sharing the gospel locally, nationally, and globally.  We must be developing those who have turned their lives over to God.  Equipping mentors and leaders serves both the leader and the learner in developing a stronger faith.  We have heard it said that each person is saved to serve.  We should be inviting as many as are interested to take part in the process of leadership and ministry.  A local church should be people-driven and professionally led.  Too often, I have encountered churches that have become professionally driven.  The hired guns do all the work.  I believe that God has provided ministers to lead, guide, and direct.  Pastors are not to do all the work but should seek out those who can do the work for their own benefit and for the overall encouragement it brings to others.
The musketeers were victorious because they worked together toward a common goal.  They  might not always agree with each other, but they wold always work together.  Our churches, to be successful in this century must learn to set aside differences and come together for a common goal.  Evangelism and discipleship are worthy goals.

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