Summary: If we are going to see the church multiply we must never be lacking in zeal, we must be joyful in hope, and we must not be overcome by evil. The church in America has gotten complacent and lazy, so have we! We must be diligent if we are to improve.
If We Are Going To See The Church Multiply
Read Rom. 12:1-21
INTRO: Ever since the first of this month when Mike and I went to Dallas, TX for the Right Now Conference I have been convicted. I have been convicted in some ways that I have failed in ministry. But in other ways I have been convicted that some of my motives and methods have been lacking, that I’m not doing what God has really called me to do.
I don’t want you to hear that in my 12th year here as the preaching minister that I feel it time for me to move on to another ministry or that I feel nothing has been accomplished here. Many things have been accomplished and I feel the call of God more on my life now more than ever and that God has a lot of work for me to do here in Mt. Vernon and through this body of believers.
In my research this week for this message I went back and read a sermon I preached here 2 months into my ministry here. It was insightful. Here are some of the things I said in that message.
ILLUS: “I’ve been preaching here at this church for around 2 months now, and you know what? It feels like I have been here a lot longer. Why? I’m not sure, maybe because I have been so busy, maybe because what I’m doing here, in preaching at least, is just a continuation of what I was doing at my last church, I don’t know. It really hasn’t taken me long to get to where I feel comfortable. I think a lot of it has to do with the people. Your just my kind of people, you like to talk, you like to eat, you seem to enjoy life and the company of your other Christian brothers and sisters and I am enjoying my time here in just getting to know you and doing the work of this church.”
Then I talked about my last church and how I didn’t want to be there and didn’t want to be a maintaining minister, which that is all they wanted. Then I continued to talk about the youth ministry I had before my last church and the wonderful relationships I had with the youth there and the growth that the church had while I was the youth minister. Then I continued as follows.
ILLUS: “Now that is not what I expected in the last church I served in. Why? Because everyone said that, the church would not grow. Even the leaders of that church said the church would not grow. And you know something? They were right! No matter what I did, no matter what I tried the church wouldn’t grow. Why? You might ask. Well, I’m going to let you draw your own conclusion based on what I have said so far. Part of the problem was who I listened to.
When I first went to my last church I said ok all I have to do is maintain this church. All I have to do is preach on Sunday, teach Sunday school, call on those who are sick and in the hospitals, do funerals and just do all those things that a maintaining minister does. Why did I decide on doing ministry that way? Because I listened to the leadership of that church, because I listened to those in the congregation of that church, because I listened to those who lived in the community that church was in, and because I listened to the Bible College professors who told me the same thing.
Do you know what I’ve found out when I was serving there? I found out that I don’t want to be that maintaining minister. I’ve found that if I’m that maintaining minister, I’m not happy. I’ve found that I have to be more. I found God nudging me, kicking me, and sometimes slapping me. Do you know what He is saying and why He was saying it? Because He was saying, Mark, why have you listened to men? Why have given yourself to man’s limits?
The reason your not happy is because you have allowed yourself to live by and do ministry by mans standards and not Mine. Live and do ministry by My standards, do things according to My expectations and I will lead you and give you a vision for your ministry. He has done just that. He has given me a vision about how I need to go about doing ministry. And I believe with all my heart that God has led me to your minister here in Mt. Vernon.”
And 11 years later I still feel that God has led me here and that He has more than ever for me to do. And today the vision for this body of believers is to be stronger than every before.