Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Casting Vision

For the past number of weeks we have taken a look at our church’s vision statement and “Key Characteristics” as they are outlined in our church constitution. This discussion has covered a wide range of topics, and I hope they have at least made you think a little about what we do well, what we need to improve, and where God is leading us as a church family.
In the first installment of this series, I wrote;
The prophet Zechariah had a vision of a man with a measuring line in his hand, who was going to measure Jerusalem. When Zechariah asked about this, God told another angel to give him the message, “Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,' declares the LORD, 'and I will be its glory within.” (Zechariah 2:4-5)… If we truly want Edgefield First Baptist to be all that God wants it to be, then it is time to stop playing church and going through the motions, and fix our eyes, ears, hearts and minds on Him and Him alone. Then, and only then, will we be a church “without walls” with God as our center and protector as Zechariah describes.
Are we ready to be a “church without walls?” Dr. Frank Page challenged us in our Sunday morning revival service, to be useful Christians and a useful church. He also said, “Sometimes, one of the greatest hindrances to a church’s future is a glorious past.” In order to be useful, we cannot rely on what we have done before, but what we are doing now and in the future to grow the Kingdom for Christ.

A member of our church sent an e-mail to me after the first installment of this series ran. In that column, I made the insinuation that interpreting God’s vision for our church is up to the church body. This person indicated that I should share what I perceive God’s vision for this church to be since I am the pastor. The church member writes, “I would like to know exactly what vision you have for us. Yes, we are a congregational church, but whatever God has laid on your heart is important to us all. Tell me/us what future you see for EFBC.”

In the coming weeks, I will outline for you what I believe some of the strengths, challenges and future Kingdom work this church can undertake. Not all of it can be done and implemented right away. Not all of it will appeal to everyone. Not all of it will be easy. However, I have spent much time in prayer, thought, and discussion on all of these topics for the past several years. Only now do I believe the time is right for us to look hard at what we do, what we need to do better, and where God is leading us.

I will cover different aspects of our church in the coming weeks: worship, Sunday School, missions groups, EFBC ministries, youth and children, and church membership, among others. These writings are not criticisms of how we do things now, but a glimpse into what we can be in the future.

Be in prayer about all the areas of our church. If you are involved in certain ministries here, devote more time in prayer for that area. Ask God for guidance and wisdom in whatever you do. If you are not involved in ministry areas of our church, pray about where God can use you and take the leap of faith needed to respond to God as He leads. Remember, there is no age limit and no retirement plan in God’s Kingdom. If you are able to read this or are able to hear it read to you, you are useful to Him!

My prayer is that as we move through this time of seeking God, your Christian walk will be strengthened and you will find God’s purpose in your life. However, also remember that God’s purpose for you is never “just for you.” God intends for you to use what He enables you to do, to influence others for Him.
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NJKV)

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