Summary: A message for the church to refocus on the most important things that we are to do and be as Christians.
First Things First!
August 1st, 1999
Do First Things First illustration (Priorities)
(a Big Jar, needs to be clear, need rocks, sand, water, ... Don’t let the people see what all
you have to put into the jar. First, put rocks into the jar and ask, “is it full?” They should
say yes. Then add sand, then ask same thing.... Then fill with water.... until full. The
point... If you don’t put the Big Rocks in first, they will never fit. The Big Rocks
represent the most important things in our lives.)
This illustration is a valid one for us in our personal lives, but it’s also important
for us as a church body to know what our priorities are, What are those big rocks that we
should be concerned about first and foremost in the church?
Turn in your Bibles with me to Mathew 28:18-20 Read.
How many would agree that this scripture is the Mission of the Church? The
mission of the church is the harvest of disciples. Winning the lost, and discipling them in
God’s Word and training them to share their faith with others. Jesus came to seek and
save the lost, and now he has passed his mission onto us.
If this is true, then how do we measure the effectiveness of the church? The
Biblical standard of measuring our effectiveness is the evidence of a harvest of disciples
for Jesus Christ.
Church, are we making disciples? Are we carrying out our main mission? I would
say Yes, but, not not nealy as well as we should be if this is really our Main Goal. We
have a lot of room for impovement, but this morning you probably already know that,
what I want to do this morning is challenge you, Challenge you in an area that I have
before, but I will say it a little different this morning.
This week, I’m not sure what brought it up, but Nola and I were talking about
how different things have different values to people. While I was in High School, I had
this T-shirt that I recieved in Olathe when our Football team won the conference
championship, it was just a normal t-shirt, but it had all the scores of that years games, it
reminded me of all that work that went into that season. Even after we moved to Baxter
Springs and a new High School, that was still my favorite shirt. During it’s last days, you
should have seen it. It was all stretched out, it was dark blue when I first got it, it was a
faded light blue, and it had some holes in it. My mom threw it away one day when I was
at school. What a terrible thing to do. I valued that t-shirt even though it was not worth
anything to anyone else.
We all have things that we value. In the church we have things that we value,
maybe a certain pew, maybe a certain song, or style of songs.
Listen this morning to this, What we value determines what we do. REPEAT.
Let me break the news to you, it might be hard for you to believe, but as we look
at the evidence, you won’t be able to deny it.
THE CHURCH IN AMERICA IS NOT A MISSION DRIVEN CHURCH.
A mission driven church carries out the Mission that Jesus gave us in Matt. 28, A Mission
driven church values more than anything else making disciples and winning the lost for
Let me share the evidence:
A. 98% of all American Church Growth is due to church transfer, not conversion growth.
B. The American Church produces only 2% conversion growth.
Do you realize that if any Corportion in America were fulfilling it’s Mission
Statement by only 2%, it would be bankrupt or out of business! If Sara Lee was operating
at 2% productivity level do you think you would keep your job very long? No way, they
would be out of business.
Hear this, the American Church is bankrupt, and will soon be out of business if we
do not focus on the mission of the church. We must put First things First, or we will
never get it right, and God won’t bless us.
C. 95% of all American Christians are Barren.
They are good Christians: they live good lives, go to church, and read their Bibles,
but they have personally not been involved in someones conversion in years, and
sometimes they themselves have never experienced the “joy of salvation”.
Let’s look at our church and see how we measure up.
1. About 50% of our growth has been from someone coming to us from another church,
not necessarily a Nazarene church.
2. The other 50% has been conversion growth. So we are reaching some, just not as