Summary: A message on growing in the Christian life.
PLAN FOR ACTION
INTRO: “He who fails to plan plans to fail.” God has a plan for us. Once we know God’s plan for us, we are free to pursue His plan of action as we seek to accomplish His purpose.
God’s people ought to expect growth as a normal part of the Christian life. We see this in the book of Acts (see Acts 2:41; 2:47; 6:1; 11:21).
Because God wants His church to grow, we must do everything we can to make sure we are up to what God is about. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (NIV).
There are three cardinal principles we must remember in developing our plan for ministry and mission through our church.
I. DO IT RIGHT.
One thing you can say about the church after Pentecost—they did it right. People are attracted to organizations that demonstrate the highest levels of quality. Since the church has been called to represent God to the world, we ought to reflect His excellence in all we do.
The great and growing churches do not do unusual things. They do the usual things unusually well. They preach well, teach well, pray well, visit well. Quantity is the result of quality. As we seek to win our world, we need to do things right.
Setting Goals. — The early Christians followed a pattern. “We make it our goal to please Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9, NIV). Goals give specific direction to the church’s vision. We must set goals in order to do it right. Goals should be relevant (this accomplishment counts), reachable (they can be done), and measurable (time to accomplish it).
Adopting Strategies. — Paul used strategies in his mission to the Gentiles. He first went to towns and synagogues, then to homes. We must put strategies in place to do it right. These are specific means by which goals will be met.
Evaluating The Progress. — Much of 2 Corinthians is Paul’s evaluation of his ministry. “Plans fail for lack of counsel” (Proverbs 15:22, NIV). Evaluation is necessary to do it right. Growing churches have no sacred cows. Every program and ministry is open to evaluation.
II. TARGET THE INDIVIDUAL.
The business world today caters to individuals. If individuals are important to the Lord, why wouldn’t they be important to us?
Addressing The Guilt. — When Peter preached at Pentecost, he addressed the hearers’ guilt (Acts 2). We need to speak to people’s guilt and its resolution in Christ.
Meeting The Needs. — The early church met individual’s needs, and we must target people’s specific needs.
Nurturing Faith. — The early church nurtured believers’ faith, and we must develop mature Christians.
III. PAY THE PRICE.
Putting a growth plan into action will be costly. We must be willing to pay the price to see our plans through. Growth should not be growth at any cost. It should be growth that honors God and is consistent with His Word.
Submission. — The early church submitted to the Lord and to the apostles. We must pay the price of submission.
Service. — The early church members served the Lord and one another. We must do the same.