Summary: This sermon outlines the principles found in the Book of Nehmiah as presented by Dan Southerland in "Transitioning"
I. Introduction: Our community is changing. 20 years ago you couldn’t buy property around here. Today there are few large tracts of land left. Our community has grown to 15 times its size 20 years ago. Yet each of the four main churches have decreased to anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 of the size they were 30 years ago. Just 15 years ago this church was twice as large as it is now. It is past time to do something about it.
II. Textual Idea: Nehemiah recieved a vision from God to change the situation in Jerusalem. He took 8 steps in that process.
III. Sermon Idea: The first 4 steps in getting back on track.
(extracted from Transitioning, Southerland, Dan; Serendipity House, Littleton CO 1999)
1. Prepare to receive a vision:
A. Collect all the information you can. Neh 1:1-2
B. Experience holy discontent with the situation. Neh 1:4
C. Fast and Pray Neh 1:4 Jer 29:11
D. Wait for God to give you His vision. If you seek this together, you will receive it together. There will be unity among you when it comes.
2. Define the vision.
A. Discover your purpose. Formulate a single sentence statement that expresses your purpose. It should be Scriptural, Simple, Sharable and Short.
B. Define your target. Who is in our community? Who is our target? Who is in our community that we are best able to reach?
C. Decide your strategy. What process will accomplish our purpose and reach our target? How do we move from where we are to where we want to be. What must change? What must not change? What is the best order of change?
3. Plant the vision. “If vision is a seed, then the proper soil is the hearts and minds of the leaders of your church.” Southerland, Transitioning p.67
Plant the seed at the right time
Know enough details to sell the plan and communicate needed resources
4. Share the vision with the rest of the church. Neh 2:17
We are halfway through the process before it is time to make changes. I commend you for the effort you’ve made the past few years to turn things around. You have tried many things, all good ideas. But I must tell you, you have made changes without understanding why or the purpose. That is why you have experienced so much fragmentation and frustration.
It is clear you are discontent with the current situation. Is your discontent holy? Do you have a clear understanding of what God desires here? Before we do anything else I am calling on you to start this process that God gives us in Nehemiah.
Commit today to prepare yourself to receive God’s will for yourself and this church.
For your further study:
The rest of the model goes as follows:
Implement the vision - Neh 2:18
Deal with opposition - Neh 2, 4, 6
Adapt - Neh 5
Evaluate - Neh 6-13
Father, bless your servants as they study and seek Your purpose.
Give them unity and peace so they may receive Your purpose.