Summary: A sermon examining 4 things that are necessary for a church to be effective.
4 Essentials Of An Effective Church
Effectiveness is "the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result".
You can have a business and not have an effective business... Just ask the owners of Radio Shack. You can have a sports team and not have an effective sports team... Just ask the Atlanta Braves. You can have a government and not have an effective government... Gridlock in congress and a 19 trillion dollar national debt prove that. And you can have a church without having an effective church.
A group of people can gather together 3 times a week, sing some songs, listen to a sermon and say some prayers and call it "church", but that does not constitute am effective church. An effective church is a church that worships and glorifies God, disciples and trains believers and seeks to point lost people to salvation in Jesus Christ. Before we go any further let me say that I believe that Stockdale is in fact an effective church. But it is my desire that we increase in our effectiveness. In order to do so, I think it would benefit us to examine some things that are necessary in a successful church.
These attributes are seen in Paul and his fellow laborers as they surrendered to the Macedonian call. Let's look at this passage of scripture and examine "4 Essentials Of An Effective Church"
At this point Paul's ministry has recently undergone some major changes. Paul had been traveling with Barnabas for some time. They had been very successful in the Lord's work. They set out to visit the churches that they had established. But there was a sharp disagreement between the two over whether or not to allow John Mark to go with them. As a result they split up and Paul chose Silas to go with him during the next phase of his journey. These two servants of God went through Syria and Cilicia encouraging the brethren. After this they traveled to Derbe and Lystra, there they met Timothy and Paul selected him to join them on this mission. They traveled through the region preaching the Word. As a result, churches were established and verse 5 says that the churches "increased in number daily".
At this point Paul had a plan for the future, but he quickly found out that God had other plans! Though his intentions were not what God had in mind, we can see Paul's heart's desire in this text.
- Having a "desire" to minister is essential for a church to be effective. Look with me to verse 6 as we see:
ESSENTIAL #1 OF AN EFFECTIVE CHURCH: DESIRE - v6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
Paul had a desire to share the gospel in certain parts of Asia. But the Holy Ghost would not allow this. Paul had the right intention just the wrong location. But his actions before, during and after this point in time show us the importance of having a God given desire to minister. Paul had been called and commissioned by none other than Jesus Christ. Jesus had a plan for Paul long before his conversion. Paul was chosen to bear the name of Jesus before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel (Acts 9:15)From the moment Jesus confronted Him on Damascus Road, Paul was obedient to his calling. He greatly desired to see people come to faith in Christ. Though he had faced many hardships and great persecution he was not deterred. Now he desires to continue the ministry that had been appointed unto him.
As a church, we have a calling... we have a specific purpose. This church was planted here 104 years ago in order to minister to this community and the surrounding areas. This church still exists because God still has a plan for us! We have recently outlined our vision for the future. And that vision is for us to be a church that serves our neighbors, encourages the brethren, invites others, disciples believers and points the lost to Jesus. In order for these things to take place...THERE MUST BE A DESIRE!
Paul's desire is illustrated in the words, 'I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.'
John Knox famously prayed “Lord give me Scotland, or I die.” This was a passionate plea from a man who had a desire to see the salvation of his countrymen. May we have such a burden to reach souls for Christ!
- I truly believe that the majority of our people desire for Stockdale to be an effective church. Desire is the first step, but we must make sure that our desire is within God's will. This leads us to: