Summary: Annual message for New Year's vision casting
In with the New
January 6, 2013
24 Hour Time Period in North America
11,350 babies will be born and 6663 people will die
6,110 couples will get married and 3110 will get divorced
87 will die in suicides, 36 will die from AIDS, 49 will die in murders and 43 alcohol related deaths
3396 will declare bankruptcy
411 will convert to Islam
827 will become Mormons
10 churches will close permanently
Our mission field is ripe, ready and more receptive than we realize! People are waiting for us to come. Tim Roehl – Director of Church Multiplication, Wesleyan Church
Fast Facts about the North American Church – Game Plan
1. North America is the only continent where the church is not growing
2. There are now over 280 million unchurched people in the USA and Canada
3. In the past 15 years, USA churches have spent 500 billion dollars on buildings and programs with little or no growth
4. 80% of people do not attend church and 80% of churches are stagnant or in decline
5. Over half of all churches did not add one member through conversion last year
6. New churches are 11 times more likely to reach unchurched people. There needs to be 3000 new churches planted per year just to keep up with population growth
7. North America is the largest English speaking mission field in the world
8. Too many churched people believe and behave like unchurched people
9. 53,000 people will drop out of churches and never return
10. Lost people lose
16"No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse.17Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved." Matthew 9:16-17
Barriers to the mission
Many times our perspective keeps us from seeing God move in the church. We often like things the way they are because that is what makes us comfortable. There is a certain amount of uncertainty with attempting new things. There are many things that God does that were never done before.
* God had never revealed His name before Moses
* God had never chosen a people before Abraham
* God had never become human before He sent Jesus
Are we going to limit the work and will of God because of our lack of perspective?
* We never had enough Sunday School space until recently
* We never had a Fellowship Hall until recently
God is opening new doors of opportunity for us like never before. We must be willing to step through the door.
Many want to simply leave things the way they are in the church. We become satisfied living with a status quo and hate to think about something “rocking the boat.” I want to ask an important question: Did Jesus ever accept the status quo? Absolutely Not! The problem with status quo thinking is that it often misses the potential.
We often get caught in a mindset that doing the same thing we have always done will reap better results. This may or may not be true. If something is no longer working we need to scrap it and start doing something new. If we want to get different results, we may have to do some different things.
It is possible to experience change without growth but it is impossible to experience growth without change. When we experience growth, we cannot remain the same.
We cannot afford to miss the potential of getting better results. We cannot afford the status quo mindset. Sometimes we need to make changes to get better results.
Lessons from the Wineskins
1. Remember we are a people on a mission
Our first priority needs to be Christ’s mission
Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. The priority of the Kingdom is bringing lost people into the Kingdom. There is nothing more important than spreading the good news and seeing people changed by the transforming power of the resurrection. If this is the top priority of Jesus, shouldn’t it be the top priority of the church? What would happen if we started measuring the success of our ministries by the number of people who come to Christ?
Jesus came to serve a lost and dying world. Jesus came to reach out to those around Him. We should seek out new opportunities to reach the community around us.
Jesus was led by the power of the Holy Spirit. The church needs to be spirit led in its work. We need to seek more and more of the Spirit’s presence and guidance for the church and for ourselves personally.