Summary: People with one heart, one mind, one purpose, and two hands working together can accomplish the impossible.
Shortly after Herman Ostry bought a piece of land and a barn, the nearby creek rose, and the barn was under twenty nine inches of water. He half-jokingly said to his family, ‘I bet if we had enough people, we could pick that barn up and carry it to higher ground.’
To his surprise, one of his sons, Mike, started thinking about it, and after counting the number of boards, timbers, and nails, he estimated that the barn weighed about 19,000 pounds. Mike figured that 344 people would only have to lift about 55 pounds each to carry the barn to higher ground. But how do that many people get a grip on the barn in order to lift it? Mike ingeniously designed a grid of steel tubing and attached it to the inside and outside of the barn. This provided handles for the ‘barn raisers.’
As the town of Bruno was planning its centennial activities, Herman suggested a ‘barn raising’ as part of the celebration. As the centennial approached word of the ‘barn raising’ spread far beyond Bruno. On the morning of the lift, July 30, 1988, nearly four hundred thousand people from eleven states were there. When everything was ready, Herman counted, ‘one, two, three’ and 344 people lifted the barn. The crowd cheered and applauded as they carried that 9 ton barn fifty yards up a hill in just three minutes.
How did they do it?
It happened because those 344 people had a common goal and a plan was put into place. Because of Mike’s grid each person could do the impossible because now that barn weighed nothing at all.
People with one heart, one mind, one purpose, and two hands worked together to accomplish the impossible.
They got enough people to work towards a common goal, spreading the load evenly and equally, and at the same time, going the same direction. Those 344 people took ownership of the project and invested themselves in moving that barn.
The last half of Proverbs 29: 18 reveals what happens if we don't firmly grasp God's revelation to us and if there is no common goal, no ownership of the goal, no investment of the people.
The translation "the people perish" (KJV) does not refer to unsaved people dying in sin.
Para is the Hebrew verb translated "perish," in the KJV means to cast off restraint.
The word literally means "to become uncovered, to loosen, or to run wild."
So the verse is stating that without God's Word people abandon themselves to their own sinful ways [Walvoord, John & Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, S. 968].
People without vision, without revelation from the Word of God, are like passengers on a ship drifting on the ocean, without a star to point the way, a pilot to steer the ship, or compass to guide them. They have no clue where they need to go, no plan for how to get there. There is no hope if they have no Word from God. Mama used to say “They’ve got nowhere to go and all day to get there.”
Once we begin to respond to God's redemptive revelation, He will show us the vision He has for us as a body.
What has to happen in every church is for the leader, the leadership team, and the church (those sitting in the pews) to rally in support of the vision or revelation of God so that they do not return to the ways of the world.
This is not done by a simply taking a vote in a business meeting. It happens by each of us taking personal ownership and becoming personally committed to the vision. It means getting arm in arm with the leadership and committing ourselves to the strategy developed to accomplish it.
We need to ask God for His vision for EBC and then when He has given it to us follow those He makes responsible for its execution.
Each individual church needs a strategy developed that will be put into practice.
I want to give you a simple definition of the five functions of the church, which according to Acts 2:38-47 are:
Worship: To lift up in praise and thanksgiving the Lord Jesus and to draw near to Him so that we might be confronted, cleansed and comforted. Worship is not the simple act of showing up for the 11am to noon hour that we call “the worship service.”
Evangelism: To share the good news of Jesus Christ with as many people as God provides opportunity. To create an atmosphere in this place that encourages unsaved people to place their faith in Christ and encourages Christians to lead people to Christ.
It’s amazing how we can tell people were the best coffee or burger can be found but we can’t seem to find the time nor the nerve to tell them where Jesus is.