Summary: This message looks at the four pillars of a growing Church; evangelism, outreach, worship, and fellowship.
State of the Church
It has been one year since we gathered for worship in the Auditorium of the Warren local high school on a cool Sunday morning. That Sunday morning just a year ago, many in this community prophesied doom for the new church starting in the High School. I heard, as I am sure many on you did, there were too many churches in the community already. Experts told us a new church started in the small community like this one would fail.
But the experts and the community cynics did not know the power of our God, or the determination of the His people in this church.
Here we are, one year later, a fast growing new church. The experts and the cynics were wrong. Living Faith is here to stay.
I believe the reason this church is growing is because this church was built from a different blueprint.
Everything about this church is different right down to the foundation.
Our foundation is found in Matthew 16:18. Jesus said, “This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.”
These words are now posted over my desk. This way everyday I am reminded that my job here is not the build the church; that is the job of Jesus Christ. Our job is to help lead the church, and give direction to the church, but Christ Jesus is the one who builds the church. The Apostle Paul puts it this way, in the The Living Bible
1 Corinthians 3:6 (TLB)
6My work was to plant the seed in your hearts, and Apollos’ work was to water it, but it was God, not we, who made the garden grow in your hearts.
Jesus had promised to build the church. Our privilege, our joy, our greatest desire is to be a part of what God is doing.
Our foundation is Jesus Christ.
I recently read a building is only as strong as it’s foundation.
Rick Warren points out that some churches are built on the foundation of a pastor. The minister is the real foundation of the church, if he or she leaves the church falls apart. Some churches are built on the foundation of pride. The members wear their membership in a certain church as a badge of honor. You have seen them. They strut around with their nose in the air. Still others are built on the foundation of tradition. They only goal is to keep everything the way it has always been. New ideas are shot down with the words, we don’t do it that way here, or we have never done that before.
Living Faith is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. This means anything that Jesus would do, we should do. Everything in this church is based on the foundation of Jesus.
Not only is our foundation different, the pillars on which we build are different.
The first pillar here at Living Faith is Worship. For us worship is a celebration. When you visit Living Faith for the first time you receive a letter that explains our core values. One of the core values of our church is worship.
Read this with me.
We believe worship to be the expression of our love for God based on sound Biblical truth.
We also believe worship is Spirit-filled teaching of the Good news of Jesus Christ, His love for everyone and the love he has taught us.
The second pillar upon which this church is built is Evangelism. Read with me.
We are committed to being a light in our community by proclaiming the Good News of Christ at the same time showing respect to everyone.
You will not find us using guilt to motivate you. You will not find us trying to pressure you into anything, because using guilt and applying pressure in not showing respect to you. We have everyone wear and name tag, because we want to call you by name, which is a way of showing respect. We also ask everyone to wear a nametag, because if only visitors wore them, they would stand out, and that is not showing respect.
The third pillar on which Living Faith is built is Outreach. Please read along with me.
We are committed to being servants in meeting the needs of those around us in a humble, gentle spirit of love.
Living Faith is called to reach out to those in need.
The last pillar on which Living Faith is built is Fellowship. Please read this with me.
As Christians, we have agreed to partner together in fellowship to express our love for each other.
This is expressed in our monthly meals and our small groups. Many of you have benefited this last year from one of our small groups. If you have been in a small group at any time this last year for Bible Study please stand. Look around and see how many people this important pillar of Living Faith has touched.