Spiritual Gifts and Designer Churches – By Mike Augsburger

In last week’s blog post, I stated the following: “Remember…not everyone has the same God-given passions. Don’t think that just because you are so passionate about ____________ (you fill in the blank), everyone else is going to be passionate about that too. We are all different. God made us different on purpose. Calling someone “unspiritual” or “immature” just because they don’t have the same God-given passions as you is wrong. That would be like me saying, ‘You must not be a patriot because you didn’t serve in the military like I did.’ That’s simply an unfair, inaccurate statement. When it comes to your God-given passion, use it in service to others, and allow God to bring others alongside of you. Realize that not everyone will come alongside of you…it doesn’t mean they’re wrong…it just means they have a different God-given passion than you.”

Well, in a recent blog post entitled, “Spiritual Gifts and Designer Churches”, Dr. Mike Augsburger (Lead Pastor at Willow Creek Baptist Church in West Des Moines, Iowa) summarizes this issue well by stating:

In I Corinthians 12:15-21 the apostle Paul compares using our spiritual gifts in the church body to the function of body parts in the human body. For a human body to function properly and optimally, all parts need to be present and healthy!

Similarly, God has so composed the church body with differing gifts, each contributing to the function and the health of the body. What happens when someone loses an eye, ear, hand, or leg? These injuries are not fatal, but they do impair a person to some degree.

Paul’s point in this text isn’t so much missing parts. Instead, he focuses on distortion. What happens if a body only has an ear or an eye? Obviously, he is being satirical because we all know there could never be such thing has a body composed of a giant ear or an eye! What is he trying to point out?

I think he’s pointing out an insidious attitude that often clothes itself in spiritual-sounding language.

Someone in a church might say, “We need to do more to care for the poor. We’re the only family from our church that spends time at the homeless shelter. Doesn’t anybody else care for the poor?” You’ve noticed a theme with this family. That’s ALL they ever talk about.

Another person says, “Why am I the only one who ever goes to the college campus to share the gospel? I think all of our deacons should be required to come with me. After all, shouldn’t the deacons care about unsaved people?”

I hope you’re seeing the danger in these statements. Essentially, these people are unwittingly the embodiment of Paul’s example in these verses.

The person interested in caring for the poor are the “hands” of the body. The person eager to share the gospel is the “mouth” of the body. The problem is that the hands want everybody to be hands, and the mouth wants everybody to be the mouth. However, if the whole body were hands or a mouth, where would the body be (1 Cor 12:17ff)?

Unfortunately, these attitudes have led to what I would call “designer churches.” These days, it’s not enough for a church to simply be committed to fulfilling the Great Commission.

Instead, it seems that if a church is going to be “successful” it needs to have some kind of niche or specialization. So, some churches advertise themselves as the church that cares for the poor. Another church touts their ministry of prayer. Another church brags about its teaching ministry. Other niches might be evangelism, miraculous gifts, music, battling human trafficking, world missions, etc, etc. By identifying as such, the obvious intent is to attract people who are also passionate about these ministries.

Are you seeing the danger in this? If a church becomes inordinately tipped in one of these directions, then that particular church becomes a giant basket full of the same body part! The church who cares for poor is one giant hand. The church focusing on evangelism is one giant mouth. You get the point.

What’s the solution? The solution is for a church to fulfill the Great Commission evenly and in balance. The solution is for body parts to realize that they have a unique gift and a needed contribution to the function of the body. The solution is for body parts to stop wishing that everybody else was just like them. Instead of churches being collections of the same body part, wouldn’t it make more sense to spread it out? A church full of noses desperately needs eyes, ears, and mouths. A church full of hands needs the brain of teaching and the mouth of evangelism.

What’s the problem in your local church? What do you wish your church would focus on? Most likely that is the area in which you are gifted.

You are the body part God designed to contribute that function of the body. Instead of wishing everybody had your function, and instead of trying to find a church full of your clones, get busy and serve the body by doing what only you are designed to do!

We don’t need designer churches, we need churches with all of their body parts working together in smooth efficiency!

Ramifications of Vision

In my recent Pastor’s Report, presented at the Annual Business on January 11, 2015, I wrote the following:

“I earnestly desire to see people saved, baptized, and added to this church on a regular basis. I dream of a day when this church becomes a safe-haven from the legalistic terrors of various religious denominations. I have a growing passion to see the men in our church stand up as leaders, our women to thrive in their relationships, and our children to grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I long for the day when Prairie Flower Baptist Church becomes the benchmark of what it means to be a growing, thriving community of Jesus followers.”

This is not just a vision statement. It’s my heart on display. This is what fuels my thinking…keeps me going…and motivates me to work harder, think faster, and run further! Again, I ask that you work, think, and run with me.

Such a vision requires many things, to include:

1) A Strong Commitment to Passionate, Expository Preaching – I am firmly convinced that this is God’s main method of growing local churches. In fact, point out to me a growing, thriving local church and I will point you to a man with a strong commitment to passionate, expository preaching. I don’t just say this because preaching is my God-given passion. I say this because it’s the truth. God’s Word declares in 1 Corinthians 1:21, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” Preaching is the God-ordained means of seeing people saved, baptized, and added to this church! Preaching, as one person declared, “…is theology coming through a man who is on fire.” Indeed, we need multiple men who are ablaze with passionate preaching if we want to see our church grow and thrive.

2) A Heart for the Lost and Unchurched – I grew up in very strong/legalistic type churches. I quickly became disillusioned with the dark side of Christianity. So much pettiness. So much strife. I’m done with all that! Life is too short to squabble over dress code, music styles, Bible translations, etc. If we want to reach the lost with the saving message of the cross, we must retain a heart for the lost. We must be willing to set aside our comforts, conveniences, and preferences to reach a new generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

3) An Intentional Discipleship Program – If we truly want our men to stand up as leaders, our women to thrive in their relationships, and our children to grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, then we will need to have discipleship programs geared specifically for families. This is one of the main reasons we are so passionate about the full-time launch of Growth Groups this fall. For the time being, Growth Groups just meets once a month, but after the summer, we will be launching full-time Growth Groups (weekly for 10 weeks) with a primary focus on discipling our families towards strength.

4) Big Picture Thinking – Such a vision will also require you (individually) and us (corporately) to focus on the big picture. In other words, we all have God-given passions and desires. Some of us have a heart for children…or youth…or those with special needs…or the music ministry…or teaching…or ___________ (you fill in the blank). God has given to us a unique body, with many different members, with many different skills, talents, and abilities. All of us should use our gifts for God’s glory and the good of others. But don’t forget your God-given passion is not the sum total of our vision…it’s merely a part of the vision…an important part, but a part nonetheless. In humility, you must submit your God-given passion to conform to the overall vision of the church.

Side Note Comment: Remember…not everyone has the same God-given passions. Don’t think that just because you are so passionate about ____________ (you fill in the blank), everyone else is going to be passionate about that too. We are all different. God made us different on purpose. Calling someone “unspiritual” or “immature” just because they don’t have the same God-given passions as you is wrong. That would be like me saying, “You must not be a patriot because you didn’t serve in the military like I did.” That’s simply an unfair, inaccurate statement. When it comes to your God-given passion, use it in service to others, and allow God to bring others alongside of you. Realize that not everyone will come alongside of you…it doesn’t mean they’re wrong…it just means they have a different God-given passion than you.

5) A Bigger/Better Building – This is something I mentioned in my Pastor’s Report…”There is no denying that our current building structure is getting extremely cramped. Every single room in our current facility is too small for our growing needs. We are experiencing massive growing pains and I thank God for that. So let me be clear…everything is moving towards a building program. I don’t have any more details than that, but just keep that in the back of your mind…everything is moving towards a building program.”

God is doing a great work here at PFBC. Please continue to pray for your church and your leadership team as we seek to follow God’s will for our lives in this brand new year of 2015!

Mission. Vision. Grace.

Annual Business Meeting Highlights

Below are some of the highlights from our Annual Business Meeting that was conducted on Sunday, January 11, 2015:

1) The membership roll was updated.

2) A special presentation on a proposed camp scholarship policy was presented. With 23 “yes” votes and 7 “no” votes, the following is our new camp scholarship policy:

Camp Scholarship Policy 2015
Fact Sheet

1. As a church, we have committed to paying 60% of each camper’s fee this year.

2. This payment will be applied to each camper who meets the May 15th pre-registration deadline.

3. Any camper who fails to meet this pre-registration deadline will NOT receive the 60% camp scholarship.

“This policy strikes the perfect balance between ‘send ‘em all to camp’ and ‘each must pay their entire way to camp’ viewpoints.”

Questions and Answers:

#1: How will these funds be raised?

• We will collect a special love offering, for camp purposes, in March 2015.

#2: What if there are more campers than funds available?

• We will simply dip into the Missions Escrow Account.

#3: What if an overwhelming amount is given during the love offering or an anonymous donor writes a massive check for the purposes of sending all campers to camp for free, what then?

• This policy remains in effect. We refuse to allow any individual to use their money in order to alter church policy. Any extra revenue collected will simply go into the youth programming budget to be used for other purposes.

#4: What about those campers who are totally unable to come up with the remaining funds themselves, what then?

• We have created an *IRBC Sponsorship Program! Young people, in need of assistance, will be paired with willing sponsors in order to attend camp. This program will be filtered and directed through Pastor Dave’s office.

* Please Note: This program was named the IRBC Work-Scholarship Program. We have renamed this program the IRBC Sponsorship Program in order to satisfy legal requirements, child labor laws, etc. Also, please note that each sponsor will be required to review our Child Protection Policy, agree to abide by the rules and regulations set forth in our Child Protection Policy, and comply to a background screening procedure.

Other highlights from the meeting included…

3) Acceptance of our Financial Report.

4) Approving the 2015 Missions Budget.

5) Approving the Pastor’s Salary/Associate Pastor’s Salary.

6) Communicating expectations concerning the 2016 Annual Business Meeting. That is to say, I will only require reports from the following people/committees: 1) All Church Officers, 2) Financial Secretary/Treasurer, 3) C.E. Committee, 4) Audit Committee, 5) Church Librarian, and 6) Friendship Bible Study.

7) The meeting started at 6:00 P.M. and adjournment took place at approximately 8:00 P.M.

A Quick Word on the Engine of Vision:

Take a good look at the above picture. This is your Leadership Team. This is your engine of vision. As your pastor, I am all about team ministry at PFBC. This is not a one man show. I work and function as part of a team. We work together…we plan together…and we engage in visioneering together. We’re your Leadership Team. That is to say, we serve you by means of leading you. This is what we call servant-leadership and all we ask of you is that you follow us as we follow Christ.

To the praise of His glorious grace,

Pastor Dave

 

2015 Timeline of Events

Sunday, January 11, 2015 – Annual Business Meeting (6 PM)

Sunday, January 18, 2015 – Launching “Our Vision” Sermon Series/Baby Dedication Service

Sunday, February 8, 2015 – Sweetheart’s Banquet

Sunday, March 1, 2015 – Relaunch of Friendship Bible Study

Sunday, March 15, 2015 – Baptism Sunday

Sunday, April 5, 2015 – Easter Breakfast (8 AM) and Easter Celebration Service/Communion (9 AM)

Sunday, April 12, 2015 – Quarterly Business Meeting

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 – AWANA Grand Finale

Sunday, May 3, 2015 – Special Business Meeting to vote upon Jon Rocha as the first full-time Associate Pastor of PFBC

Sunday, May 10, 2015 – Mother’s Day (Please Note: Pastor Dave will be on vacation from May 10th – May 23rd)

June 2015 – August 2015 – Launching “Doctrine: What Really Matters” Sermon Series…Break from Friendship Bible Study/Growth Groups…Break from Wednesday Nights…

Sunday, June 21, 2015 – Father’s Day

Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Strategic Planning Meeting/Vision Clarification/Relationship Bonding (Pastor and Deacons Only)

Sunday, June 28, 2015 – Family Gym Night

Sunday, July 5, 2015 – Communion Sunday/Quarterly Business Meeting

Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Friday, July 24, 2015 – Pastor Dave Speaking at IRBC Family Camp 3 (Jon Rocha will be preaching on Sunday, July 19)

Sunday, August 2, 2015 – Wednesday, August 5, 2015 – High Power Soccer (Program Director: Will Luers)

September 2015 – November 2015 – Fall Sermon Series Launch

Sunday, September 6, 2015 – Relaunch of Friendship Bible Study…Relaunch of Growth Groups (Weekly for a 10 Week Stretch) Labor Day Meal…

Sunday, October 4, 2015 – Communion Sunday/Quarterly Business Meeting

Sunday, October 25, 2015 – Nomination Process Begins for the Annual Election of Officers

Saturday, October 31, 2015 – Harvest Party at the Church

Sunday, November 15, 2015 – Sunday, December 27, 2015 – Break from Growth Groups…

Sunday, November 15, 2015 – Harvest Dinner/Harvest Offering

December 2015 – February 2016 – Break from Friendship Bible Study

Sunday, December 6, 2015 – Christmas Sermon Series Launch/Annual Election of Officers

Christmas Eve – Christmas Eve Service (7 PM)

New Year’s Eve – Silver Saints New Year’s Eve Luncheon and New Year’s Eve Soup Supper at Doug and Julie Tinnes’ house

Sunday, January 3, 2016 – New Sermon Series/Relaunch of Growth Groups (Weekly for a 10 Week Stretch)

Please Note:

1) For a complete Friendship Bible Study calendar, please see Duane and Susan Davis.

2) For a complete AWANA calendar, please consult the AWANA calendar on our website.

3) For a complete PFBC Youth Group schedule, please see Jon Rocha, and his blog posts related to youth programming, for this timeline.

4) For a complete IRBC schedule, please visit the camp’s website at http://www.irbc.org.

5) For a detailed preaching schedule, please reference my previous blog post entitled, “NEW Sermon Series Schedule” published on November 24, 2014.

6) FYI…you will notice that the monthly Deacon’s Meeting is not on the above timeline. However, rest assured that we will be meeting monthly during the 2015 calendar year. That I can promise you!

7) Above all, in regards to the above timeline, please keep in mind that we have truly “planned in pencil.” Thus, everything is subject to change (i.e. things could be added or deleted from this proposed timeline of events). We all should remain flexible, and be willing to make midcourse corrections, as reality has a funny way of rearranging our plans. However, we will be sure to keep the Prairie Flower church family updated on any changes that may or may not come about in regards to this schedule. Thank you!