Summary: A challenge to our church (a military church) to step up to the plate to serve God after a difficult "PCS move" (Permanent Change of Station). Can be adapted used as a challenge to any church to motivate people to serve.
What in the World Are We Going to Do?
August 30, 2015
TEXT: Please turn to Isaiah 26
A year ago we had just elected 5 deacons; volunteers were plentiful; and there was no shortage of people saying, “Here am I Lord, use me.” This year, in April and May we lost three of those deacon families to PCS moves; by January we will have lost our remaining two other deacon families. In all these families, both spouses were heavily involved in multiple ministries and various areas of service.
In addition, in recent weeks we’ve lost many key volunteers and helpers in various ministries, and soon will lose a whole bunch more. We go through the PCS season every year, but this year, we’re experiencing a larger loss of key workers, teachers, volunteers in general, ministry heads than ever before. When the dust finally settles, we will have lost a very large percentage of our Sunday School and K.I.D.S. teachers and nursery workers and even worship team members.
In conjunction with that, I’ve noticed two disconcerting trends.
• First, a lower percentage of our weekly Sunday morning attendance taking ownerwhip in Grace by joining the church, which limits our options for certain key leadership roles that require membership, such as deacons, trustees, and certain high visibility positions.
• Second, fewer people, percentage-wise, attend the Sunday night services, homegroups and men’s and women’s Bible studies or small groups than ever.
In other words, while our Sunday AM attendances increasingly grow in size, fewer people than ever are engaged in the church as active participants. That translates into fewer and fewer people serving a larger and larger congregation on Sundays.
I’ll be honest with you, it has been discouraging to me, at time alarming. My picture of a New Testament church is one where those within it become an organic part of the life of the church; where they receive the blessings of the church, but also contribute in return; where they support it with their time, treasure and talents.
That goes against the grain of religious culture of our day that caters to people’s felt needs; that’s okay with people sitting on the sidelines soaking up what the church has to offer, but doesn’t challenge them to COMMIT to a church and its program.
As I’ve been tracking these trends and our continuing personnel losses, I’ve asked myself repeatedly, “What in the world are we going to do? How are we going to make it?”
There’s no doubt about it: WE HAVE A GREAT CHALLENGE AHEAD OF US! But I have every confidence that God is in control and that He has already provided the people and resources to meet the challenge, whatever that may look like in the end.
To meet the challenge placed before us, I believe we will need three things:
I. FIRST, WE NEED CONFIDENCE
Someone has said that an OPTIMIST is one who finds an opportunity in every difficulty and a PESSIMIST is one who sees a difficulty in every opportunity.
Well, despite what I said before, I’m an optimist. I see the challenge, and I’m not whitewashing it, but for me, the glass is not half empty; it’s half full. I have GREAT CONFIDENCE that God is going to do GREAT things among us, even with the loss of so many good, salt-of-the-earth servants who have sacrificed so much and given so much of themselves in service to the Lord at GBC.
To meet the challenge at Grace Baptist Church, we need confidence in two entities:
• First, we need confidence in GOD – Look with me at Isaiah 26:4 – “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve faced this kind of challenge at GBC. To some degree, we face it every year in our mostly military church. Every time we’ve been here before, the challenge looked impossible to overcome and the obstacles insurmountable.
But every year, we went to God and prayed, “Lord, this is YOUR church; and you promised that YOU would build Your church. So we trust You to help us do our part, and we leave the rest to You.” And every year, lo and behold, God comes through and blesses! And He’ll do it again this year too!
May we trust in the Lord as we make the transition into the future. The work here will never be the same without each of those who have left or will leave us; who made an impact on the lives of our kids; and who earned eternal rewards in heaven for silent, behind-the-scenes service of cleaning toilets and changing dirty diapers.
No, we’ll never be the same without them, but God has a plan for this church, and in His plan He’ll grow a new crop of servers from within the church or He’ll bring more servers to us to get in on God’s plan here at Grace.