Summary: This message was given as an introduction to a major ministry review for our church.
I. This morning we are going to take a break from the series dealing with “God’s Amazing Grace.”
II. The reason we are taking a break is because it is only a matter of weeks before we have our first preview service of “The Connection.”
A. I want to present the purpose, core values as well as reminds us of the strategy; although strategy will be next Sunday.
B. We have been praying that 150 people will visit our church between October 21st and the official launch of The Connection on January 20.
III. As we look to that date, we must bear some important facts in mind, beginning with Acts 2, verse 47 - And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. (NASB)
A. We are doing a considerable amount of preparing for the coming months.
B. We are praying that a fairly large number of people come, and of that number, we are praying that a pretty good sized group remain and become a regular part of our church body..
C. But, I know this, ultimately it is God who decides to build His church, and where.
D. It is so imperative that we trust Him.
IV. Psalm 127, verse 1 says, “Unless the Lord build the house, it’s builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stand guard in vain.”
A. This verse seems to intimate a cooperative effort.
1. Yes, God is the ultimate builder,
2. God will choose who and when to bring folks to Christ and His church.
B. The verse also says, “...it’s builders...”
C. I take “it’s builders” to be people just like you and I.
1. People seeking to understand what steps God wants them to take,
2. And then taking those steps.
D. God’s purpose must be our purpose, and God’s method must be our method.
V. This morning we begin by looking at our purpose.
The Purpose Statement
That purpose statement is - “To Connect people in a measurable way to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.”
I. The first component of the purpose statement is “connect”
II. Everyone can be connected in a closer relationship with Christ.
A. The person that is unchurched needs to meet and accept Jesus Christ as their savior.
B. The person that is a new Christian needs to connect with Christ, and discover what it means to continue to learn and grow in Christ.
C. The person that has been a Christian for a number of years probably needs several things.
1. They may need to have their passion rekindled for Christ, even to the point of returning to their first love.
2. They may need to find a place to serve Christ with the gifts and abilities that He has given them.
3. They may need to learn how to be in relationships with others where they can teach what God has taught them over the years.
III. In order for this church to be about that business, more people must attend, but the reason for attending is to deepen their relationship with Christ, not simply fulfill a perceived requirement for attendance.
IV. If a relationship is moving, there should be a way of measuring that movement, therefore:
The second component of the purpose statement is “measurable.”
V. What do we mean by “Measurable”, well what are the two greatest commandments of God, according to Christ?
A. Christ answered that question in Matthew 22 when he said - “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
B. If we are moving into a deeper relationship with God, then what are some areas where we might see movement -
4. Time in reading the bible
5. Time in prayer
C. If we are moving into a deeper relationship with our neighbors, what are some areas where we might see movement,
4. Time spend being together,
VI. The key is this, if we want to see those things take place, then as a church, we must offer opportunities in which it can take place.
A. One of those opportunities will be the development of small groups.
B. What are small groups, well typically they are study groups which meet outside of the church facility, typically in a members home.
C. Does anyone have any idea what some of the benefits of small group study might be, let’s consider a few actually,