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.