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Summary: How to have Success

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2 Samuel 23:5 (New Living Translation) says, “It is my family God has chosen! Yes, he has made an everlasting covenant with me. His agreement is eternal, final, sealed. He will constantly look after my safety and success.” What an amazing promise from God! There are over 7,000 promises contained in God’s Word. One of them promises me that God will CONSTANTLY look after my safety and success! I would like to focus on the word ‘success’ for a moment. ‘Success’ is defined by Webster as ‘accomplishing a purpose’.

This is the last Sunday before the new year. This is the time of year when people evaluate their lot in life. This is the time of year when multitudes of people make new years’ resolutions. Some common new years resolutions are: lose 10 pounds, take charge of my charge cards, eat less sweets, mend broken relationships, exercise more, watch less TV, make more time for family, quit smoking, etc. The first two weeks of January are usually the most crowded time of year for gyms. I say ‘first two weeks’ because that’s about how long it takes for the resolution to ‘get more fit’ wears off. It’s great to have a purpose to pursue, but it’s even greater to have SUCCESS in that endeavor. I would like to give you seven steps on how to have success. Before we look at the seven steps to SUCCESS, I would like to share what I consider to be the greatest purpose anyone, anywhere could ever pursue. Matthew 28:19,20 says, “go make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. What a noble purpose to pursue! I believe God would like to challenge us as members of the Middleburg First Church of God to take this plea from God seriously. God wants us to win in 2010! How do we succeed?

S = SET A GOAL. We need to know what our purpose we wish to pursue is. We need to set a goal. It needs to be specific and measureable. For example, saying “We (our church) want to set a goal of ‘winning the world to Jesus this year”’ is a very noble goal. But how do we measure how well we are doing? A better goal would be, “We resolve to work to double our average Sunday morning attendance by the end of the year”. That is specific! That is measureable! That is a great goal!

U = UNDERSTAND THE HINDRANCES. We need to understand why we are not already at our goal. If my goal is ‘getting into better shape’ I need to understand why I’m not already in the shape I desire. If we want to increase our church attendance, we need to understand why our attendance isn’t already where we want it to be. We can make rash assumptions like “we live in a gospel-hardened generation of time”. Well, if that were true church attendance would be down everywhere. While the majority of churches are in decline in America, a small percentage of churches are growing! Why? Because they understand what hinders church growth. The three most popular answers unchurched Americans gave to the question, “Why don’t you attend church”, are: 1) church services are boring because they are too ‘religious’ and not relevant enough, 2) church members are unfriendly, and clickish, 3) we worry about the quality of the churches childcare (can I trust my kids with strangers).

C = CHANGE THE HINDRANCES. Once you know what is hindering your goal from being achieved, do something about it! If ‘evening snacks’ is causing you to add unwanted pounds, change the hindrance! Cut back on evening snacks! Now that you know what hinders church growth, do something about it! Evaluate your church and change the hindrances! This is not easy. Rick Warren once said, “the only humans that like change are babies with wet diapers”. We don’t like change. We like routine. However, if we are serious about reaching a goal, we must be willing to change the hindrances. A recent church survey found that 83% of all churches don’t have any specific intentional plan on how to reach the lost. The survey also found that most effective churches do have intentional plans.

C = COMPROMISE PERSONAL PREFERENCES. Webster defines ‘compromise’ as ‘a settlement of differences by mutual concessions’. If you want to get in trouble with church folks, just mention the word ‘compromise’. I’m not talking about compromising God’s moral principles. We should never dilute godly principles to try to fit into a morally compromised society. I’m talking about compromising on non-essentials, personal preferences. In the eigth chapter of 1 Samuel, even God compromised! God never intended the Israelites to have a king, but the people wanted a king because everyone else had a king. God compromised, and let the people have what they wanted. Are we willing to compromise on music style or church structure if there is a more efficient approach to reaching the lost or doing church business?

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