Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

U B U, Friend .

Nearly thirty years ago, I made an attempt to begin having two services on Sunday morning. All the “experts” on church growth were saying that if 80% of your seats were full, then people would be uncomfortable with the crowding and not want to come back to church. We were well past 80%. I studied the books and video classes on how to do it. We spent 6 months training personnel, hiring help, and organizing the parking lot. When we finally pulled the trigger, I was shocked to find that our total attendance began to decline sharply. After a few months, I was asking, “Lord, what are we doing wrong?” The answer He gave me was simple: People are no longer getting what they came for in the first place.” I was forced to say “OOOPS!” and go back to our original format. In following the contemporary wisdom of the experts, we had departed from being who God created us to be.

In the New Covenant, the gathering of the saints has four primary purposes:

1. To worship God. There is a corporate anointing, a tangible Presence, that can only be experienced when the temple of God is together. Matthew 18:20 / Ephesians 2:21-22

2. To hear from Heaven. Gifts and manifestations of the Spirit occur in the gathering of the saints. Some kinds of healing, correction, and impartation only take place in person. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 / Romans 1:11-12

3. To be equipped for service. The purpose of the 5-fold ministry and the teaching of the Word is ultimately the equipping of the saints for works of service. Individual destiny is dependent on corporate preparation. Ephesians 4:11-13 / 2 Timothy 3:16-17

4. To form and grow relationships. We need each other. The Church is a we, not a me, and I can only progress as far as the Body can supply me. Hebrews 10:24-25 / Eph3siands 4:16.

Our church had a particular way of doing these things which was a match for our area, our calling as a body, and the gifts we had to work with. When we tried to change to fit a “proven” method, the results were not good. Each church may arrive at different methods of doing the core functions. This will depend on their mandate from God, the gifting of the pastor and staff, and the community they are called to serve. We can learn from the methods of others, but it is dangerous to copy them.

Somebody Said: One of the core organizing principles of my life is that success comes through a delicate balance between making things happen and letting things happen. Robin Sharma

Scripture Reading: The one who plants and the one who waters really do not matter. It is God who matters, because he makes the plant grow. There is no difference between the one who plants and the one who waters; God will reward each one according to the work each has done. (1 Corinthians 3:7-8 GNB)

God wired me in a very special way. He sent me to a very specific place, He assigned me a very clear task. My challenge is to do what I am asked to do, with the gifts I have, in the place I am sent. My methods may vary over time, but they will always be buttressed and contained by those three parameters. It’s OK to be who God made you.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
Office: 520-792-3238

Visit us on YouTube to taste the goodness @FCFTucson.

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