Summary: This is an abbreviated sermon used after my annual pastor's report to the congregation explaining why we do not have a written "business plan" for church growth. Instead it lays out the 3 foundational steps the Lord has put in my heart as I serve here.
If you would, please stand as we say together our memory Scripture for this quarter:
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
And our memory refresher Scripture is …
“May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.”
Today we will not be having the usual sermon but a pastoral report that was due a couple of months ago and then a few words from the Scripture as to what the Lord has placed on my heart for Crossroads.
(In this section I take time to explain to the congregation what it is that I do throughout the week. Much of my work is out of sight of the congregation and so the concept of “you only work one day a week” has the potential to take on a life of its own. Because of this I keep a log of what I do each day and summarize that for the report; the number of meals with different members/families of the congregation, number of counseling sessions and phone counseling sessions, hospital/nursing home visits, any administrative activities I take care of, any buildings and properties repairs/improvements I have made, etc.
This is NOT to brag about what I have accomplished but to inform and to give thanks for the blessing of serving this church in this way. After that I continue with what the Lord would have me say about the future of the church.)
With that in mind let’s see what the Word of God has in store for us today.
Often at the time of the annual pastor’s report the pastor will give their “vision” for the church in the coming year or years.
I do not have such a vision. To tell you the truth I am just walking a path, one step at a time, one day at a time.
I believe that setting a two or three or five year goal is trying to force a business model into the Kingdom of God and that the two are incompatible.
For instance, setting a numerical goal can cause disappointment if it is not reached and exceeding a numerical goal can cause pride.
To use a quote from Davie Platt:
“The number of people who sit in church is not the measure of our success. The measure of our success is whether the people in the seats look more and more like Jesus!”
So, these are the steps which the Lord has impressed on my heart to pursue for His kingdom in this church as I serve you and Him here …
Step 1 on the path: Trust and obey the Lord
Proverbs 3:5-8 (from memory)
On this path I must:
- Trust in the Lord even if it does not make sense to me!
- Ask the Lord to lead me
- Obediently do what He leads me to do
- Don’t try to be wise in my own eyes but fear the Lord
As we look to step two please open your Bibles to Jude 1:1-4 which we will read in a few minutes.
Step 2 is an overarching duty not just for pastors but for all followers of Jesus Christ
With that in mind let’s go ahead and read Jude 1:1-4
Here is step 2 - “Contend for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints …”
Where do we find this “faith once for all entrusted to the saints”?
In God’s Holy Word, the Bible, that’s where!
God’s Holy Word, adding nothing, subtracting nothing! (repeat)
There is CRAZY stuff going on in our society today!
Now you may think that is CRAZY what is going on inside our churches that is even more frightening!
One “preacher” tells us that if we get his “Miracle Spring Water” and follow directions you will get a, “miracle release; miracle money, miracle healing, and miracle deliverance in your life” and “God can release every negative verdict in your life.”
Another “preacher” needs $54 million for a private jet. As Kenneth Copeland explains it, if you ride on a commercial airliner, “you get in a long tube with a bunch of demons” which is not so good for Duplantis but apparently it’s OK for the rest of us.
Copeland goes on to say that with today’s airline situation you can’t get there from here with a commercial airline. He says that you can’t pray on a commercial airliner because someone sitting next to you might say, “What the hell does he think he’s doing?”