Summary: The message encourages members to think about what is the purpose of the church.
THE STATE OF THE CHURCH --WHAT’S THE PURPOSE OF BETHANY CHURCH?
Acts 2:42-47 (TMNT)
They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
Everyone around was in awe¡Xall those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person¡¦s need was met.
They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.
BETHANY¡¦S VISION STATEMENT
We are dedicated to promoting Christ-like love, deepening the Christian faith, and developing harmony among all people through our presence, our programs, and our commitment. To accomplish this vision we will:
1) Provide a church home for all people,
2) Introduce the unsaved to Jesus Christ,
3) Nurture and support converts in their Christian growth,
4) Provide support and organization for our work for the Lord, and
5) Support a missionary effort into the broader world.
BETHANY¡¦S MISSION STATEMENT
To know, to live, and to share Jesus Christ.
This morning, all over America, more than 100 million Americans will go to church. But most of those people have never clarified, Why? They¡¦ve never figured out, Why do I do this? Some people go to church out of guilt. Some people go out of pressure. Some people go to church out of habit. Some people go because they think it¡¦s the thing to do.
If somebody asked you, ¡§Why are you a part of the church family? Why do you participate in church services?¡¨ what would you say? What would you tell them?
What would you tell somebody if they said I don¡¦t see the purpose of church? I can worship God in my own way, in my own time. So what is the purpose of Bethany church?
Once a year the United States¡¦ constitution requires the President of the United States deliver an annual State of the Union message to the joint houses of Congress. It¡¦s required by our constitution. I want to start a tradition here at Bethany where once a year, the pastor delivers a State of the Church message.
We go back and look at it again and say, ¡§Why do we do this? Why do we have services? Why do we a building, Why do we give money? Why do we plan ministries.¡¨ Never do anything in life without understanding the reason. Your life is too precious to waste on things that don¡¦t matter. Never get involved in anything, never waste any time on something that you haven¡¦t figured out what¡¦s the purpose of this.
This year I want to invite you to review¡Xto remember I want to reinforce why we do what we do. I am going to begin this process by having you read together Bethany¡¦s vision and mission statements and then asking you to evaluate how well we achieved this purpose that we have defined for ourselves:
BETHANY¡¦S VISION STATEMENT
We are dedicated to promoting Christ-like love, deepening the Christian faith, and developing harmony among all people through our presence, our programs, and our commitment.
1 Corinthians 1:10 (NLT)
10Now, dear brothers and sisters,„T I appeal to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there won¡¦t be divisions in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.
To what extent are we able to do what is urged here in this scripture, which I think our vision statement sums up well? (Rate 1 ¡V 10).
Look at the picture of the early church presented in our Bible reading from Acts. Now that is a church in harmony!
As I ask you to think about what is the purpose of Bethany church, I want to introduce to this book I have been reading and studying, The Purpose-Driven Church: Growth without Compromising Your Message and Mission. The author is Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Valley Community Church in Orange County, California. After reading this book last year, upon recommendation of the church growth institute, the book grabbed my attention. Because the author of the book expresses so many of the same thoughts that I have been having for the past few years about the mission and vision of our church. In other words, Warren clearly defines what I have been thinking about the life of Bethany church, but from the prospective of a church he helped start from scratch about 15 years ago.
This man had such a vision for how God could use him to build and grow a church¡Xand I would said God has blessed him. In 198__ he began a service with 15 people and now has over 15,000 in worship on Sunday.