The following are some of the notes given for
the State of the Church message given on Dec. 30, 2012.
State of the Church: Vision
While I was in college, I joined a Christian organization where I was discipled in the Christian way of life. I had a discipleship group leader with whom I did Bible studies, learned how to give my testimony as went witnessing on campus. Then I led Discovery Bible studies on campus at Coffman Memorial Union. It was the first time I had ever led a group of people in a Bible study. I had prepared material and I merely facilitated the discussion. Later that year, I led my own discipleship group. I enjoyed the process, because it helped me get out of my comfort zones and helped me grow up.
After college and my military service, I went to seminary and planted a church in Minnesota. I thought my role as pastor was to study and teach. If people were hungry, they would come and listen. I was blessed to be called to serve at Grace Evangelical Church and God has challenged my thinking in many ways here. One of the challenges was how important reaching out to people in an outside the church, not just teaching God’s Word. A half dozen years ago, I knew something was missing from my ministry. In June, 2008, I realized what it was and it went back to my spiritual roots of discipleship. In July, 2008, I accepted, as pastor, I needed to set the model for discipling other men. I began the Hungry Hunters on Wednesday night and I also started discipling two groups of men. After launching one group of me, I’m still working with two groups of men.
Over time, God has continued to refine my thinking and to present that thinking by way of vision to the Elders and to you. It was back in the 90s that we established the Mission of Grace as “Love God, love others and make disciples of Jesus Christ.” That comes from Matthew 22 and 28, the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The Great Commandment is “Love God and love others” and the Great Commission is “Make disciples of all the nations.”
In May of 2012, the Elders approved the following Vision Statement.
Connecting together to worship God 1 Cor. 12:19-25
Equipping together in grace to be more like Christ Eph. 4:11-14
Multiplying together with the gospel to reach the world Matt 28:18-20
Let’s look at each of these three concepts:
The first concept is Connecting:
Connecting – 1 Cor. 12:19-25.We are addressing Connectingin our Outreach Team, Welcome Team and Connection Team. We’re improving our connecting so we can reach people in our community, reach those who visit and reach those who attend to identify with and belong to Grace as their church home. Our purpose is to worship the Lord in all that we do, even corporately. We studied John 17:20-26 as Jesus’ purpose for us to be one. That’s what parents do in a family, they help children understand: our family, you belong.
The second concept is Equipping:
Equipping – Eph. 4:11-14. We are Equipping, through church services, Fellowship Groups Sunday morning and Home Groups. We also have extra equipping ministries like Men’s and Women’s Ministries and special classes like the Belonging, Financial and In-depth Discipleship Classes. We will continue to refine equipping so we, in grace, can be more like Christ, equippedto do the work of ministry. Note how the body equips in the body in Eph. 4:14-16. Parents equip children to go to the bathroom, tie their shoes and pick up their room. In the same way, spiritual parents teach new believers how to confess sins, share the good news and organize their life.
The third concept is Multiplying:
Multiplying disciples – Matt. 28:18-20. This has been my challenge. I’ve been convicted that while I like the principle, I wasn’t sure this was being accomplished well. Who is called to be a disciple-maker?
Do I just want to increase numbers or get rid of the debt? No. It is obedience to the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”
The next segment has the second half of the message: