[vision for Church growth – by Josh Allen]

[vision for Church growth – by Josh Allen]

i am really glad i decided to stay for the youth group today for it was a true blessing. even though i ended up translating the sermon, i still felt like i am not automatically translating it, but listening to what Josh was saying.

he started the message with a question: Whose job it is to make the Church grow?

some answered “the pastor,” some said “leaders,” some said “people in Church.” Josh pointed out that the last answer is the correct one (since technically the pastor and the leaders are also people in Church). then he proceeded with another question: is the vision of “Have 200 people in Church” a good one? (number isn’t really important… 1,000 or 200 or 50, whatever)…

there again were different answers – “yes,” “no,” and “in a way”… my opinion was the last one and i said that the idea isn’t bad in itself, but we have to concentrate on quality, not quantity (a trap all of us fall once in a while).

Josh said that yes, indeed, the goal should not be to have 200 people in the Church building. the vision for the Church should be to have 200 followers of Christ. there is a major difference between those two visions. we can attract people easily, just to get the numbers, yet there would be no depth in their beliefs.

continuing the idea, he named 5 steps in how we should “attract” people.

WORSHIP

They worshiped the age-after-age Living One. They threw their crowns at the foot of the Throne, chanting, “Worthy, O Master! Yes, our God! Take the glory! the honor! the power!
You created it all; It was created because you wanted it.”

(Revelation 4:11, the Message)

worship consists of two parts:

  • public worship (in Church and wherever the believers get together)
  • private worship (when we spend time building our own relationship with God)

we were created for the glory of God in the first place. the initial relationship that God had with Adam and Eve was that of worship, with no hidden agenda… no hidden anything, really, considering that the first people were naked and did not even suspect a thing like shame existed until later. and while worshiping God together with other believers as well as on our own, we come closer to the way we were designed to be.

SERVING IN THE AREA OF YOUR GIFTS

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other… It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

(1 Corinthians 12:7, 11, NLT)

Josh used an example of a bad cook here who cannot cook absolutely nothing edible – the eggs are boiled too long, the meat is burned, the salad has way too much mayo… this cook should NOT be serving in the Church kitchen cooking the food if he / she knows that he / she has no talent for that.

BUT it does not mean that they can relax and enjoy life procrastinating. everyone has a gift – some are great teachers, some have strong faith, some like to help, some do amazing sandwiches (maybe it seems simple, yet someone has to do it).

DISCIPLESHIP

He took Peter, James, and John with him. He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony.

(Mark 14:33, the Message)

have to be honest… when i opened the Bible and looked at the passage that Josh asked us to read, i was confused. “what?” i looked at him, looking like an O_o smiley. “are you sure you got the right Scripture passage?”

he grinned “yes.” i resigned to translate without trying to guess what he had coming.

“what does this verse talk about?”

everyone was silent, most also looking O_o. finally someone broke the silence, “well, Jesus took his three closest disciples with Him to pray.”

“okay. good. why did He do it?”

“‘cuz He did not want to be alone.”

“whom did He take?”

“Peter, James, and John. his closest disciples.”

“why those three?”

“because he wanted to invest in them.”

Every person needs:

  • to be discipled by someone. no one ever reaches the perfection in knowledge and everyone needs someone who would teach them, even if the person is viewed as a holy person by others.
  • to disciple someone else. even “young” Christians can disciple others – in fact, younger Christians can teach / remind the “older” Christians some things about theology and in preparation for discipling someone else, you are discipled yourself because you learn as well.

INTENTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH NONBELIEVERS

A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?”

(Mark 4:7, the Message)

could Jesus just follow the tradition and walk around Samaria instead of right through it? yes.

couldn’t Jesus get water for himself? yes, he could.

why did he ask a Samaritan woman for a drink? (breaking the tradition into shards – she was a Samaritan, a woman, and yet he talked to her)

because Jesus intentionally wanted to reach out to this lady.

we all go to school / universities / work and we all have families where there might be people who do not know God yet. when we just become Christians, we have a lot of unbelieving friends. as we spend more time with people from Church we often shut ourselves out. the worst thing that Christians can do is spend all their time only with other Christians.

after all, how did the Church in Ukraine start? missionaries, Jim and Donna Welchly, came to Kyiv and met people. established relationships. started a small Bible study in their apartment. they made a conscious decision to meet people, even though it meant learning their language, learning their traditions and culture…

MISSIONMINDEDNESS

Jesus went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

(Matthew 28:18-20, the Message)

Go and make disciples.

that commandment ties with the previous two points – discipleship and intentional relationships with unbelievers. two things are accomplished here – we bring people in as new Christians as well as send people out as missionaries.

all this helps the ultimate Church of Christ (all believers in Christ Jesus) to grow and expand.

Credits: Joshua Allen (click here for his and Robyn’s blog)

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