Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Bulletproof Church Growth Strategy - Purpose Statement

According to church growth gurus, the first thing you have to do if you are going to grow  a church is formulate a purpose statement. The people in your church need to know why the church exists. While attempting to answer the question, "Why does this church exist?" I decided to search the Scriptures to see what God has to say about why the Church exists. Nestled in the midst of Paul's explanation of his call to disclose the mystery of God also saving Gentiles, he states, " that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places."

So there it is. The reason the Church exists is to put God's manifold wisdom on display so that even the rulers and authorities in the spiritual realm, unseen to us, will know that He is an awesome, wise, majestic and gracious God. By putting God's manifold wisdom on display we are also putting His glory on display, which is not only the reason the Church exists, but also the reason humans exists. As the Westminster Confession proclaims, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."

One thing I tell the people in our church is that the church is not man setting out to do God's work, but God working through man (His people) to put His glory on display. Sometimes we think that God needs us. It's like He has all this work to get done and cannot get it all done, so He saves us so that we can pitch in and help Him get it accomplished. The truth is, God does not need me or you, but He wants us. And He wants us, not because we are so awesome and useful to Him, but simply because He has chosen to love us and He wants to put His glory on display in and through us. This is amazing because in our natural sinful self, we are unlovable. We are God's enemies because we have sought to rob Him of His glory for the sake of our own glory. In spite of this, God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us, taking the punishment we deserve for our sins, and then raised from the dead so that we can be reconciled to God. In His marvelous work of redemption, God puts His glory on display.

So in a nutshell, you and I exist as individuals for the glory of God. And Christians, gathered together corporately as a local church body, exist for the glory of God. That is our purpose and should guide and motivate everything we set out to do in God's Name. And because there is much to do, next week I will post about the mission statement of our church. 

Perhaps you are reading this and you are not a Christian or you are but your understanding of being a Christian is "do this" or "don't do that." Maybe you don't know your purpose for existing in this world and your life feels like a waste of time and energy. I want you to know that you were created for a purpose and that purpose can only be known and fully realized in a true relationship with Jesus Christ. If you don't know Him, I encourage you to talk with a mature Christian you trust or you are welcome to contact me through the comments section of this blog. Or you could visit Two Ways to Live, for a helpful presentation of the purpose of this life. I will be praying for you. Soli Deo Gloria!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bulletproof Church Growth Strategy - Introduction

Church-growth is all the rage these days in American Christianity. It seems that the number one question every pastor has to answer is, “How are you going to grow this church?” There are a multitude of books, audio CDs, DVDs, and conference teachings that church leaders spend millions on each year trying to find the magic formula that will grow their church. Mega-church pastors are touring the nation, teaching the principles and strategies they used to grow their church from a two-family Bible study in their living room to a several thousand member congregation meeting on a multi-million dollar campus.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Beginning Again

I love Spring. I love seeing the vibrant greens overtake the somber browns and grays of Winter. I love to hear the sounds of life breaking the silence of cold. The weather is not too harsh in either direction and each new day sounds forth the exuberant feeling of opportunity.

Nature is not the only realm that is beaming with activity. My life has been a whirlwind of motion in 2013. We welcomed the birth of our twins, M&M, and all the struggles and joys that come along with having six children. God has been so gracious to us, strengthening us when we have been weak (which has been often), supplying every need (which have been many) and allowing us to see His goodness in the gifts He has given us (which have been overwhelming). I am eager to see what He will do in us and through us this year, praying and knowing that whatever it may be, it will be to the glory of His marvelous grace.

In addition to the expanding of my familial boundaries, God, in His good pleasure, has seen fit to honor my desire to be used for His glory through the preaching and teaching of His Word, and has moved on a wonderful congregation of believers to call me as their pastor. This past Sunday, I was honored to preach my first sermon as the pastor of SweetWater Baptist Church, in Waycross, Georgia. Amidst the pressures, questions and uncertainty of taking on the tremendous responsibility of shepherding people's souls, there has been an exceeding peace that this is one of the things I was created to do. I am not speaking of an abundance of ability on my part, but an assurance that God has gifted me and that He is with me so long as I remain in Him. I lean wholly on His grace and power and look forward expectantly at what I believe He will do in a people who have given themselves over to His headship.

So it is a new beginning with this blog as well. I've set out to regularly blog a few, or maybe several, times before, but each time found myself giving up because the effort greatly exceeded the response. God has recently shown me that my motives are way off course if I measure my success in writing by how many pageviews or comments I receive. So I'm beginning again with a renewed purpose and focus: to please and be pleased in my audience of One. Soli Deo Gloria!