After spending six years working on a degree in Christian leadership and before that having already read a lot of books and heard lots of conference talks on vision and leadership, I’m still challenged by the process of trying to cleanly state the vision for our church. Since my time at Bethany Place, we elders have spent a lot of time on the subject, we’ve had some fascinating discussions, and I preached a series of sermons about it. But I believe it will always be a work in progress. Whatever we eventually wrestle through as a church on writing the statement, the following idea is always going to be a part of either a mission, vision or purpose statement. Here’s the statement, you've heard me use it before:
We are to make disciples that make disciples.
But I've got some questions to make this more personal. For instance:
Who is following you and where are you taking them?
And a related question, also very important:
Who are you following and where are they taking you?
With that in mind I’m returning to a practice this week I kept up for many years. I’m going to provide you with a printed outline for the message on Sunday morning containing the scripture as well as discussion questions. I’m doing this for two reasons. One is I hope to hold that sheet up in my hand each week and say, who do you need to share this with? It’s every believer’s job to make disciples that make disciples. It’s your job. If you just got saved yesterday, you can help someone who is coming to Christ today. Do you know everything there is to know. Absolutely not! But do you know people who can help you if you get stuck. Absolutely.
The other reason I’m putting these outlines out is that I want us to have multiple sermon based small groups. We've held one over the summer. We will continue that in the fall on Wednesday nights. We hope to start some Sunday morning groups and perhaps some that meet during the week in homes. But maybe our organizational efforts are getting in the way. Don’t wait on us! Start your own group. Discuss these questions with some folks over lunch after church or with your kids or your spouse, or with a coworker or with a group of coworkers, or with your neighbors. This is how the gospel is meant to expand. Don’t wait on us. Yes, we want to get formal groups started. Yes, we will have spiritually grounded leaders in the formal groups that we begin.
Will it be messy? I hope so. If you get stuck, you can ask for help from someone you know who is a little farther along than you are. Or you can contact one of our six elders.
Sunday I’m beginning a new series called The Danger of Fitting In. I’ll explain more about that Sunday and probably in my next post. For now, you can see the outline (with blanks now), and the scripture and the discussion questions by clicking here.