Sunday, January 28, 2007

Launching A Vision

This morning during both services, I shared the vision for the future that the elders and I believe God desires for our church: To become actively involved in planting churches to reach the 100,000 people in Jackson County with no church family.

During that message, I shared five reasons why we believe this is God's leading for our church:

  • A Biblical Reason: The Bible assumes it.
  • A Pragmatic Reason: Experience proves it.
  • A Cultural Reason: America deserves it.
  • A Theological Reason: Faith demands it.
  • A Personal Reason: You and I need it.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be elaborating on each of these five reasons, fleshing them out in detail. I'll also be addressing questions of how, when, and where we might go about doing this.

You may feel that this is already a "done deal," and it's true that in the broad strokes, we are fully committed to this vision. However, it's also important to realize that this is very much a process; in many ways, we have no idea exactly where this is going to lead us. God has pointed us in a direction, but there are many steps we need to take in order to get from here to there. So the elders and I eager to hear your thoughts, ideas, comments, concerns, and feedback.

At this point in the process, there are two concepts that I think it's important for everyone to grasp:
  1. This is going to take all of us. There is nothing that destroys a church faster than disunity. Next week we're beginning a series on prayer called, and we'll be looking at the longest recorded prayer of Jesus in John 17. In that prayer, Jesus prayed that we (his followers) would be united in heart, mind, and purpose. When Jesus was getting ready to die on the cross, he was praying for you and me that we would be unified. We might have some different ideas about the best way to do things, and we might need to talk through critical decisions, but in the end, we all need to get behind this vision and fully invest ourselves in its success. It's going to take all of us.
  2. We need to pray. There are so many things to pray about:
  • Wisdom for the elders and Church Council as we continue to talk about who, when, where, and how;
  • Unity in our church;
  • Enthusiasm, excitement, determination, and conviction in our church about the vision;
  • Leadership multiplication, so that both churches will have enough leadership to carry out their ministries;
  • Numerical growth in our church, so that we can afford to invest people without crippling the mother church;
  • The people whose lives will be impacted by the establishment of a new church near them.

As we make decisions about strategy, these prayers will get more specific, and I'll be sharing those more specific requests with you as they become clear. Right now, I'm praying that God would raise up a prayer army from within our church that is actively praying for the progress of the vision. If you want to be part of that ministry or would like to know more about what is involved (you could be an answer to prayer!), click here. Prayer is going to be critical for everything we do from here on, just as it has been critical in bringing us to this point. We need to pray. Check out the prayer requests on the Pathway Forum.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Let's start a conversation here. What do you think? What excites you? What frightens you? What still remains unanswered in your mind? What are your reservations? What gives you confidence?

We're talking about igniting a movement around here. No one said it would be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.

No comments: