Churches, like people, all have their differing personalities. Some don’t want to change anything, and others seem to want to change everything. I think most people would want a happy church family, where going is a joy and not a dread.
In my judgment, the thing that is most needed is the blessing of the Lord. No church has ever failed with God’s blessing on them. From the early pages of the Bible, we see the Lord putting leaders before His people, and He does that so that those leaders will lead, as they follow His leading. I’ve seen leaders who quickly become church bosses, and when they speak there is little room for question. On the other hand, I’ve seen those in positions of leadership, who really will not lead. They just wait and see which way things are going, then run and jump in front of it and call themselves leading. In either of those cases, I don’t believe the result is a happy church.
A happy church is one where people know they have a leader, but at the same time they know they have freedom to question, suggest, and exercise their own gifts and abilities within the parameters of their own personalities. I am presupposing that sound doctrine is taught in each situation, and in that case, I am suggesting that a happy church is much more likely to be holy church.
In an attempt to speak to person on the telephone, who was trying to help me with a technical problem on my computer, I realized pretty quickly that we had a language problem. I finally just told the person, “I’m sorry, but our way of speaking is so different, I can’t understand you.”
I recently heard a sermon from a preacher, who was about my age, and while the sermon was good, and I loved it, I couldn’t help noticing that he addressed the group to which he was speaking as if they were all in his age range. His illustrations were very agricultural, and those of us who grew up in the 1950s understood them perfectly, but to many of the people in that room, the 1990s were the “good old days.” In this new America, there is a group of people who know nothing of crossing the room to change television channels, much less of going outside and turning the antenna to be able to get reception from a certain TV station. I’m not implying that the preacher has to know all the modern lingo, because I surely don’t, but I am saying that we should always be concerned as to whether or not our listeners will know what we said, after they have heard us speak.
We are about to begin a new strategy in regard to outreach, in which our deacons will be extremely involved in its execution. It’s nothing new, but it will be a fresh approach for us. I have found that whatever approach you take, it will eventually lose its edge and have to be revitalized. We have been using a “grow” type program, and that has worked for a few years, but has now gotten down to the place to where it must be taken off the respirator. Each of our deacons will enlist another man, who is not a deacon, and maybe not all that involved in taking on church responsibilities to be a visitation partner. We believe this will be an excellent opportunity to light a fire under some men who are good men, but need motivation to become more involved in ministry activities. A deacon may enlist these visitation partners for a week, a month, or indefinitely. We will soon add a ladies’ outreach strategy, as well. This Spring, during the month of May, we plan to ask all of our people to involve themselves in a city wide door knocking campaign on Wednesday evenings, instead of regular church services. Pray for us, as we endeavor to be about the Father’s business.
What a culture! Things that we would have never dreamed would be accepted, now are not only accepted, but in many ways encouraged. In reality, Christianity has begun and grown in a hostile environment. We must speak the truth in love, but we must speak the truth. It is only through the power of God’s Spirit that we can make a significant impact on our culture. May we be found faithful.
Some days have special meaning to us. Our birthday is one of those days. We may think they come around too fast, but they are very meaningful to our lives. Other days, such as the day we met our mate, or the day we were married. There is the day our children and grandchildren were born.
Our spiritual birthday is at the top of the list of important days. That day changes everything for both time and eternity. Think about your spiritual birthday. You may not remember the calendar date, or a lot of other minor details, but if you’ve had a spiritual birthday, you will remember the event of being convicted of your sin, knowing you were lost, and knowing that you needed and wanted to be saved. You will remember when you got it settled with God.
There is one other day that is of the utmost importance, and that is this day. Today! The Bible warns us about making future plans without taking the will of God into consideration. Today is all that we really have, and we may not even have all of it. The Bible tells about a farmer, in Luke 12, whose crops produced a great yield, and who had been quite successful by the world’s standard of success. He told himself that he would tear down his old barns, build new and bigger barns to store his goods, and that he would just take it easy from then on, because he had well provided for himself. It was the equivalent of someone today telling himself to put all his money into annuities, ride off into the sunset in the motorhome, and just wait for the checks to hit the bank account by direct deposit. Really, the only thing wrong with the plan was that he didn’t bring God into it, and he didn’t give God credit for his well-being. Today is all we have, but it is really all we need. Today is sufficient to surrender to God and to have peace with Him. In the book of Ephesians, the Bible tells us to “redeem the time,” which means to take full advantage of it. This is a very important day.