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Summary: You can eliminate strife by focusing on HOW TO… I. PROGRESS the Gospel II. PROTECT the Gospel III. PLAN the Gospel IV. PROCLAIM the Gospel

The Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management has uncovered 5 common success factors IN BUILDING Community. In analyzing 68 Non Profit Organizations,

(1) The ones who have results aim at results. They have a very clear definition of and concentration on what they are trying to accomplish.

(2) They also abandon. They periodically look at what they’re doing, see what works and concentrate on that.

(3) The successful ones know how to collaborate. They know how to mobilize community resources and work with others.

(4) They do not look upon the beneficiaries as recipients. That creates dependence. Recipients are partners to success. The real beneficiaries are the volunteers.

(5) You do not really achieve results by taking care of social ills. You achieve results by building a healthy body, a healthy community. And you do that by creating community citizenship through your volunteers. This is, by the way, why faith-based institutions are more effective than any others.

The year was 1630. The place was the Massachusetts Bay along the Atlantic coast near the place known as Plymouth Rock. On board the ship the Arabella John Winthrop, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company challenged the Puritan settlers to establish a new kind of Christian community.

Winthrop said: We must be knit together in this work as one man, we must entertain each other in brotherly affection. . ., we must delight in each other, make others’ condition our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together. . ., our community as members of the same body, so shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, the Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us.

Winthrop knew that they were in this thing together; no one could go it alone.

Ministry & Discipleship occurs only in community.

Very few people are expert in anything all by themselves. They need a supporting community. Do you know a good musician who was not trained, nurtured and sustained by the music community? Show me an athlete who achieves excellence all alone, apart from the athletic community. Very few wise men become so without the accumulated wisdom of the centuries as expressed in colleges and universities and libraries. Medical people are more like ensembles and symphonies than soloists. What business tycoon does it all on his own without dedicated experts in finance, engineering, personnel, and marketing? Excellence requires participation in, and support of, a community of like-minded people.

Likewise in the church -- a forerunner of the new kingdom. Very few achieve Christian maturity all by themselves. Seldom is the Bible studied diligently without the aid of scholars and teachers. Rarely are people led to generosity by their own impulses.

Creating COMMUNITY in the CHURCH REQUIRES >>> …

I. PROGRESS the Gospel --advancement, furtherance, profit. the furtherance of the gospel;

Php 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

Php 1:13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;

Php 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

You can eliminate strife by focusing on HOW TO…

II. PROTECT the Gospel --ἀπολογία apologia – ANSWER defense of the gospel NOT YOURSELF!

(1 Pet 3:15 KJV) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Php 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:

Php 1:16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:

ILL>>> "The reality in the first century was that the most intense persecution of the Christian church came, not from the Romans, but from the Jewish community. The Romans and the outside world viewed the Christian Community as merely a small sect of Judaism. Christianity did not spread globally and become a world religious force until after Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jewish people were scattered among the nations."

Conflict inCommunity

“The difference between spiritual and unspiritual community is not whether conflict exists, but is rather in our attitude toward it and our approach to handling it. When conflict is seen as an opportunity to draw more fully on spiritual resources, we have the makings of spiritual community.”: Larry Crabb in "The Safest Place on Earth,"

Php 1:17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.

Php 1:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

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