Rss

  • twitter

5 Questions Every Church Needs to Ask

image

Recently, Daniel Im, Director of Church Multiplication for @newchurches with Lifeway, shared five questions on Twitter that every church planter needs to answer. I agree that they do need to be asked by church planters, but they also need to be asked by every ministry and every church.

Bill Hybels has said, “The local church is the hope of the world and its future rests primarily in the hands of its leaders.” I agree with this but also think it should include “members” because we are in this together. There is a great need to remember what Jim Collins has said, “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”

The old addage says it well, “Don’t forget that many hands make light work!” We must be on the same page and the only way to do that is to lay a biblical foundation that defines who we are and why we do what we do. We are in this together and if we want our team to function properly then we need to provide the training and tools to accomplish the task to which God has called us!

  1. What is the Church? A New Testament church is a local congregation of baptized believers in Jesus Christ who are united by covenant in belief of what God has revealed and in obedience to what He has commanded. The church is not an organization but a living and breathing organism. We are the body of Christ and an extension of heaven on earth. The local church is to be the best expression of God’s kingdom in the here and now. We must not forget that we are a “who” not a “what.”
  2. Why does the Church Exist? The church’s mission is evangelizing sinners by preaching the gospel, baptizing those who believe, and maturing them by instruction and discipline. We should not be afraid of the term “sinners” because “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and “there are none righteous, no not one.” Member or not, we are all sinners and we are not sinners because we have sinned but we sin because we are sinners. The church exists to be a place of refuge and safety for sinners to hear the gospel.
  3. What Should Your Church be Known For? Hopefully, every church will be known for the mighty God we serve. We should be known as a place of worship where we stay centered on God. We need to always desire to love God more. We should also be known as a family where we stay connected to one another and learn to love one another more. Then we should be a place that is concerned about our communities. We want to love God more, love people more, and then love more people. The early church engaged unbelievers rather than avoiding them. Luke 14:12-14 says it very clearly, “He also said to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers, your relatives, or your rich neighbors, because they might invite you back, and you would be repaid. On the contrary, when you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.'”
  4. How do you Protect Your Church’s Identity? God calls us to an altar before He ever calls us to a position, a platform, or a program. The pastor’s ultimate calling is not first and foremost to pastor the church but rather to walk with Jesus everyday. That is every members’ first priority, not attending every service, not serving a particular ministry, and not even particpating in corporate worship. Our first responsibility is to love the Lord with all of our heart and then reflect the heart of God to people around us!
  5. How do you put your church’s identity on display? The reality is that when people think of your church they first think of the members they know. Right or wrong, they determine what kind of church you are by how members they know live their lives and display the love of Christ. Matt. 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Even more more important than representing our church we are called to be ambassadors for Christ. II Cor. 5:20 says, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God.”

It has been said many times before but remember that your life is the only Bible some people will ever read. Do they see Christ in you? Have you been the feet and hands of Christ to the lost, the last, and the least?  Make sure you know the answers to these 5 important calrifying questions!

 

Do You Know How to Juggle?

Jam 3:15-18

 

     I don’t!  Juggling fascinates me but I have never been able to master it.  Maybe I don’t have the ability or maybe I never took the time to dedicate myself to learning how.  While juggling objects has never been one of my skills I have learned over the years a few things about the difficulties of juggling life.  In our Dynamic Church Planting International (DCPI) training we teach twelve biblical principles that are the foundation for every lesson. Principle #10 is: “The church planter’s walk with God, family life, and ministry must be in biblical balance.”  Now that can be quite a juggling act at times.

 

     Juggling the priority of your family and your ministry can prove to be quite difficult.  When the choice is not easy or you know that whatever decision you make is a “no win situation” it can make you feel like you are juggling 20 balls and they are all about to come crashing down hard to the ground.  Is there anything we can do that would help us juggle difficult situations, difficult people, and difficult decisions?  Yes there is!  Decide what you believe should be the top five priorities of your life.  Here is a suggested list:

  • ·         Your relationship with the Lord!
  • ·         Your relationship with your wife.
  • ·         Your relationship with your family.
  • ·         Your ministry.
  • ·         Your health.

 

     If you value these priorities then you must invest in them daily.  If they are not in the right order or if they are not taken care of properly your life could become a juggling act gone bad.  What we choose to value the most is what shapes us into who we are.  Remember, values are confirmed by actions, not by words.  They enable us to determine what to do and what not to do.  When you value your relationship with the Lord more than anything else in your life then many choices become easier.  When you value your wife and family over high maintenance members then you are not trying to juggle but rather you are choosing Godly priorities.

 

     What you value the most must tower over other decisions and then you are not juggling but you are making choices determined by the Lord, His word, and the Holy Spirit.  They are not just preferred values “saying” what is important to you but they are practiced values that are obvious patterns of behavior in your life.  Values are not preferences, they must be our convictions. Values have these characteristics:

 

  • ·         Consistent – they rarely change. 
  • ·         Passionate – they generate emotion and energy. 
  • ·         Biblical – they are rooted in scripture. 
  • ·         Distinctive – they reflect God’s unique assignment for your life.
  • ·         Convictions – they influence what you do! (not what you say)

 

     When a decision of equal value has to be made (what to wear, where to eat, etc) it can actually be a more difficult decision.  Raising the value of one option over the other is the key.  When one option has a much greater value than the other choice, it is much easier to decide.  For example, when you value your family it is clear that your first responsibility is to lead them before leading anyone else.  With Jesus as Lord of our lives a lot of decisions have already been made for us.  Establishing Godly values through conviction before you are faced with a difficult decision is invaluable. It makes decisions much easier because you have already decided you will make your choices based on Godly values.

 

     I recently read Kingdom Matrix, a must read, by Jeff Christopherson.  It has really challenged me in many areas.  Allow me to quote one of the things that really caught my eye and my heart.  “Positionally, I may have been transported from darkness into the Kingdom of Light, but functionally as a Little Christ, I must relentlessly choose to make Light-like decisions moment by moment.”  Don’t juggle!!!  The ministry tends to intensify the stress and strain of family life just like a magnifying glass intensifies the heat of sunlight.  Prioritize your values and make your choices based on those values as you are led by the Holy Spirit.