Summary: It is essential to have the right attitudes to build a dynamic church.
Three Keys to Success
A traveler was between flights in an airport and she was a little bit hungry, so she went tot the lounge and bought a small pack of cookies. She sat down to read her newspaper and to snack on her cookies. Gradually she became aware of a rustling sound beside her and she looked up from her newspaper and she was flabbergasted to see a well-dressed businessman beside her, eating from her package of cookies. She didn’t want to make a scene so she leaned over and took one of the cookies for herself. A minute or two passed and there was more rustling and he was helping himself to another cookie. By this time she was coming to the end of her wits and she was angry. But she just bit her lip and didn’t say anything. To add insult to injury, there was only one cookie left in the package and that stranger took it, broke it in half and shoved the other half over to her. Sometime later, still fuming, when the flight was announced, the woman opened her handbag to get her ticket and to her shock and embarrassment she found her unopened package of cookies.
Have you ever made the wrong assumption? That lady certainly did that day. Wrong assumptions can be dangerous. In studying through the book of 1 Corinthians, it is easy to make a few wrong assumptions about the Corinthian church. There are so many corrections that are directed toward the Corinthian church. So much so, that you might be tempted to assume that this church had so many problems that needed correcting that it was never a church that you wanted to imitate.
Certainly there are many areas where that’s true, but we would be wrong to assume that God didn’t love the Corinthians and we would be wrong to assume that there are things about them that are unworthy of imitation. In fact, when we come to chapter 16 of 1 Corinthians, Paul spells out some of the dynamic health that was a part of that body there, issues that are worthy of our imitation today.
What are the vital sings of a healthy body? For our human body it is pulse rate, blood pressure, and temperature. If my pulse rate is 60-70 beats/min.: not too bad. If blood pressure is 120/80, I’m in good shape. If my temperature is 98.6, I have no complaint. These are dynamic signs of good health.
Certainly there are similar signs in the health of the church body. Signals that indicate whether or not a body of Christ is enjoying the dynamic good health that God wants it to have. This 16th chapter, I think is filled with vital signs to help us check our pulse rate, determining if we are alive and well, or headed down a path to destruction. Today it is my goal that we discover together what it means to be a healthy church so we can evaluate our own congregation and so we can evaluate our own spiritual life. A healthy church is a natural byproduct of healthy people. A healthy church requires that each of us make our own unique contributions to the life and health of the body of Christ. Let us begin today discovering that each of us holds within our grasp 3 Keys to a healthy, successful, dynamic church. Now you have the keys, every one of you, the question is – Are you willing to use the keys? Well here they are: Healthy, dynamic churches…
1. Develop a Specific Mission
[READ TEXT] Paul points out some principles of success, of health for a congregation. Look at v. 5 again because it is easy to overlook some important words in this verse (v.5) Look at the word “go” and “going”. These words have a larger impact than we can realize in the English language. In fact these words are used to describe following a systematic plan. Paul says that after I go in a step by step systematic way through Macedonia, it’s my plan then to come to you in a step by step systematic way. Paul says here that he has a predetermined plan, I have a goal in mind, I have a very specific mission that I want to accomplish. His trip through Macedonia was a part of that systematic plan. In fact, as you read this letter, then as you read in Acts and as you read in 2 Corinthians, you will see that Paul had to change his plan 3 times before he was able to carry it out. But in the end Paul achieved exactly what he had hoped to achieve.
What I would like you to see today is that healthy churches are willing to make plans, they have a specific mission, a specific purpose, they are goal-oriented. They have a specific job they want to get done for Jesus Christ. A church without a mission, a church without a purpose, a church without a goal with which it is aiming is not a healthy, dynamic church. We need to have a purpose. Healthy congregations recognize that they have a job to do and are willing to state some specific, intentional ways of accomplishing that job.