It is my privilege and joy to be a servant of Christ. I have found such great love and witnessed a great fortitude among many within the church that I pastor. Recently, I shared with them the three vital keys to our growth. When I arrived at the church, almost three years ago, there was approximately twenty five active members; today, we are in the midst of an authentic move of God; a true conversion growth, with new members coming forward continually and baptisms. So, one might think this makes me more of an expert—hardly! So, what’s the formula? What’s the new program? Honestly, you’ll never hear or read that from me—as I believe that God innovatively works within each body of Christ to reach each community. However, I will provide the three keys areas that we focused on and continue to focus on, for growth.
Before, I divulge those; let me say that the vision that God gave to me three years ago is terrifyingly precise. I say terrifyingly because there is a love that Christ has for His church—make no mistake that this it is His—in that, He is unyielding with fervor, passion, protection, and strength. As the pastor, I passionately pray for the church universal and the one I serve, especially, as we engage our faith on either the frontlines of casual Christianity or brutal martyrdom. I pray for wisdom repeatedly—to lead with integrity and resolve and to lead by example. Everything we do is methodically and prayerfully conceived, thought out, and done with the aspiration of serving our King—everything that we do has purpose—from the way we worship, the style of worship, to the way our service is conducted and scheduled—these are all sought to honor God, exalt Christ, in the power of the Spirit, to edify the body. There is a vision and there is a mission. With that all being said, I’ll now address the three things, which propel us to move forward.
1. The Gospel:
This is my first love. When I was baptized years ago, the verse which I declared was Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation.” As well, I relate to the Apostle Paul’s words, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel…” (1 Cor 9:16). As the pastor, I am fully dedicated to the gospel—I will not waiver, I will not compromise, I will not sell out to worldly goods, satanic attacks, fleshly pride, prosperity, or coercion. One of my favorite pastors is now the president of the International Mission Board, David Platt; when he gave his last message before the church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, he said, “We don’t have time to waste on games in the church… resist comfortable, casual, cultural Christianity, because that’s not Christianity.” If our focus is on anything more than the gospel transformation through Christ—we’ve missed God’s will for our lives & our mission. Every week, the one constant that comes from the pulpit and is taught is the gospel.
2. Unity in Love:
When I arrived at the church, God gave me a mandate—that mandate was to love a people, but not just any love, a missional and Christ-centered love—to reach the hearts of the congregation and the hearts of the community. And so, I stress, WE MUST BE OF ONE ACCORD (Phil. 2:2)—inseparable—the time has come for the church to engage the faith in trith—we are THAT generation. Our forefathers faced hard times, and our fathers faced difficult times—it is now our time to face up to the challenge and do it in unison. Yet, one thing I know and have experienced, you may agree, churches never grow when there is division more than unity, tradition more than innovation, complacency more than passion, and love of self more than others. And so again, I as the leader, I have promised to defend them unabashedly, for the unity of love in the church, and if I ever see someone being divisive or attempting to cause division, by the power of Christ and the authority of the church, which was given to me, they can rest assured that their under-shepherd will protect the flock. I love them each very deeply and uniquely.
3. Worship in Heart:
Worship is more than music; it is our walk, our talk…our thoughts. The word worship comes from worthiness or honor—God is rightfully due honor. But we also honor God with our music. One of the saddest things I have witnessed in churches and assuredly the Lord has seen, is discord within His church due to worship styles—to me, it is an aberration of godliness…it is unacceptable. We have more important issues at hand—namely, the gospel.
When I arrived at the church, three summers ago, the music director and I sought the best possible way to incorporate the old hymns and the new music, for the sole purpose of the gospel, reaching across cultural, generational, and age lines—it was/is not an easy task. The current vision of the church stresses that we humble our hearts and raise our hands to God—for He has put a new song in our heart. We put aside our “comfort zone” with the understanding that church is not about me—it’s about the gospel—it’s about seeing true conversion growth. Our worship must come from the heart—whether from a screen, a hymn book, or something else—if it is not from the heart then it is all lip service—God will not reward lip service. Worship from the heart.
And so, I encourage you now, to love one another, serve one another, reach out to others, and allow the gospel of Christ to transform you. Seek how your church can find the pulse of its community is service, fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt 28:19) and doing so with one accord. While these three things have proven results for the church I serve, it is not a cookie cutter blueprint. Unity and the gospel however, I would stress are non-negotiables, but they can be expressed in differing ways. Seek how with the wisdom of Christ. If you want to email me any responses or questions, feel free, firstname.lastname@example.org