Monday, April 25, 2011

GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS

I'm at one of those forks in the road or maybe a hill to climb.  I don't know.  I think I am in a learning mode.  Therefore, I am going to lay it out there hoping some of you will join in with your concepts, etc.

The question is, Where are we going?  Specifically, how are we to determine in the local work where we are going?  Another way of framing the question would be, What is our purpose?

To all of the above I can rattle off all sorts of main answers.  However, I am puzzled of late as to our historic answers.  So many of them seem to be based upon answers which satisfy the flesh.  If the flesh can measure and tabulate, then we must know where we are going.  Really?  I don't think that way anymore.

But I wonder what you may have learned over time that would help me.  I'm not interested in trite answers which please the flesh.  I want to know what the Spirit thinks; what the Spirit expects from us. 

Well...I've rambled enough to give you the picture I am searching for our direction.  I have thoughts.  I have strong ideas.  And...for your safety, I'm not waiting to see what you suggest and then give you the right answer in the next post.  I really want to know how you see the direction of the local church and what you believe would help us to get there.

For one, I could use your ideas regardless of how weak or powerful you deem them to be.

Thank you.

11 comments:

Erin E. McEndree said...

I almost want to wait and read some other answers before I respond...ha. Well, to be measurable... that would require a worldly instrument. I have become content to measure my purpose spiritually by my actions and let God measure. I will never see the results. A "God-bless-You" at a sneeze. A note to a stranger saying, "I'm praying for you" (she was talking very loud on a cell phone and she needed the lift). A conversation with a little old lady in the grocery store who was lonely. A smile. Paying for someones food in the fast-food line who is BEHIND me. All these little things I do have a purpose...to show them Christ. They are spiritual acts because I never know how God will use those little actions. I hope HE can tell me how they touched lives when I get to heaven. It is a bummer not knowing what someone things about your kindness, but I am content to know that...I don't have to know. Believe me, not knowing does not satisfy my flesh. But my purpose is to 'snatch those away from the fire' (Jude23). God uses my sacrifices (time, money, effort) for His glory. I hope you understand that a little.

Anonymous said...

Our church has found joy in following God in making disciples of Jesus. Had our largest crowd for Easter in the 28 years I've been here. Why? Our new minister and his wife are focused on loving people to Jesus. He works at preaching and working with 20's and 30's. She is a great wife and mom, but invests in our food bank ministry. She helped invite seventy of them to Easter Service and many came. The idea is to forget maintaing the church as an institution and get busy making disciples and serving people. He and I spend at least one hour per week with about twenty guys we are training together with.
Larry

Brian said...

Terry,

I believe our purpose is summed up by Jesus...The greatest command is love God with all of self and the second command is to love people like you love yourself.

Love is greater than faith and hope. The Spirit's first fruit in Galatians is Love.

Our purpose must be to love God totally and to love people for who they are and not for what they do.

Hebrews 10:24 says to spur one another on to love and good works.

Even the old law in Dt. 6 was about loving God with heart, soul, strength and mind.

There is nothing like a Spirit-filled group of loving people who love in spite of differences.

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Our church gatherings are not about having the latest gadgets, the coolest facilities, and the best praise teams, but rather about relationship building. As the Apostle Peter put it, love people deeply from the heart!

Just my 1/2 cent worth.

Brian

Mark said...

Church direction: Move closer to God. That direction can fit all times, all cultures, and even survive a business meeting or two.

jason reeves said...

I think a crucial question is: "Does the church exist as an institution, or, does the church exist as Christ in the world?" What is our focus? Where is our emphasis?

Anonymous said...

Keep recognizing the wells in your town where God provides divine appointments. My personal thot? I don't deny planning and assessment have a place--but I'm naive enuf to think God's plan for who I will have opportunity to bless today ought to be the plan I carry out--at least that's my assessment.

Ed said...

After asking similar questions about their ministry, Stanley & Hall wrote "The 7 Checkpoints". In my observation, their dilemma is one shared by many: Is it enough to continue in the capacity of "Activity Directors" on the Church Cruise Ship?

There is a difference between keeping passengers happy and developing faith that sustains. The new direction for their ministry established the following markers, or check-points...

1. Authentic Faith in God
2. Spiritual Disciplines
3. Moral Boundaries
4. Healthy Relationships
5. Wise Choices
6. Humble, Obedient Spirit
7. Others Oriented

Perhaps these focal points will provide some of the clarity you're looking for. -Ed

Ed said...

After asking similar questions about their ministry, Stanley & Hall wrote "The 7 Checkpoints". In my observation, their dilemma is one shared by many: Is it enough to continue in the capacity of "Activity Directors" on the Church Cruise Ship?

There is a difference between keeping passengers happy and developing faith that sustains. The new direction for their ministry established the following markers, or check-points...

1. Authentic Faith in God
2. Spiritual Disciplines
3. Moral Boundaries
4. Healthy Relationships
5. Wise Choices
6. Humble, Obedient Spirit
7. Others Oriented

Perhaps these focal points will provide some of the clarity you're looking for. -Ed

Greg said...

Whatever answer you get, it has little, if anything, to do with what we spend most of our time and energy fussing over!

Steven said...

Sometimes, it is our nature to question where we are going. The Israelites were uprooted from what they have known in Egypt and through walls of water, and into a land of giants, they were not ready to face the appetite of what God was providing with the fork in the road. They lacked the fortitude to eat the blessing and digest the rewards. This is the fork and the hill we face when it comes to the community. Today, the community is the giant to the church. The question not where are we going, but how are we going to face what is down the road or up to the hill.

The faith in Abraham, to up and leave his home and what he knew, establishes the foundation of a Christian. Our purpose is different to each of what we are called to do. The key to leaders is pulling the blinds off and allowing the church to view with faith of Abraham that God will provide the ultimate sacrifice, even when we sacrifice ourselves. Is it important to know where we are going or how we are getting there?
The community hurts emotionally. I feel it is the church’s purpose to provide a safe haven without judgment, trying to fix it, or without reservation of a question of how in the world did you get yourself into this predicament. Often times, I wonder with the food, clothes and money we provide into the community are we feeding a habit or are we feeding the soul with tools to learn in supporting themselves? Are we comparing a church to a church or a church to the Groom?

Anonymous said...

Terry
This post struck a nerve with me! I believe what many are looking for when they are seeking "direction" what many really are saying is "What will make me successful?" I am afraid we have become like a dog chasing our tail in that the church wants to be the biggest and best in any community. We want the biggest building so we can say see what we have done and we call it the "direction" of God. We then need to fill the building with people so we can pay for it. We then have to have every program under the sun so we can keep people coming and giving so we can keep paying for things.... all the while we tell people this is all under the direction of God. WE have found his direction. Yet much of what we do has nothing to do with God as much as it has to do with pride and ego.
Now before you get the idea that I am a hateful person that is just not true. I love people! I love christians. I have been a preacher for 26 years been with a wonderful group of believers for 16 years and counting.
I had something happen to me 18 years ago where I went through an extreme wilderness time. A time when I was not sure what I was supposed to be doing or where or even when. Then on a very hot day a day filled with cursing and anger it was if God spoke to me and told me to just be me. It was time to get real. I cleaned out the closet of all of the phoniness in my life and started getting my life on a track of being real. Real with God, Real with Jesus and real with the Spirit.
For the First part of my ministry all I wanted was to be known. I wanted to speak at all of the big events, I wanted to preach where I would be known as a big name and it never happened. I was disappointed and heart broken. Really it was just a time of God breaking me. I no longer attend workshops or the big events to watch the big time preachers strutting around. The big time preachers when you talk to them and say hey will you come and share that wonderful message tell you to contact their people and when you contact their people you find that they have speaking fees more than a monthly budget of your church! Yet they have the direction of God.
Now where am I going with all of this? It is time we get real and ask do we really want to go the Direction that God wants or do we want to go the direction we want and call it the direction of God so we can be successful.
I have learned to be real. What you see is what you get. I say we need to do some closet cleaning of our hearts and get real with God. We get real with God and it is so amazing how he shows us his direction and his direction always leads to touching a heart and changed lives.
Feel free to contact me as at redneckpreacherman@gmail.com