Summary: A message from a pastor who has been hired to lead a church to a congregation, establishing the ground rules for their future relationship.
You had heard that due to my health, I had to temporarily retire from the ministry. You also heard that I was healed and contemplating planting our third church. That is when I received a phone call from the leaders of your church, asking me if I would consider being your new pastor.
You said your church needed someone with Godly vision who could lead it back into a growth mode; that you needed sound doctrine and teaching. I told you then and I will repeat it now: It will not be me who can grow your church. Only you can grow this church. It will not be me who grows your faith in Christ, it will be you. All I can do is give you the tools. It is up to you whether you decide to use them or not.
It will not be my abilities to reach out into the community to bring in new people to hear about Jesus; it will be your desire to reach out to them. I just wanted to lay this one very basic foundation as to how I manage a church before we proceed.
Too many churches are only willing to go to church on Sunday morning, and then go home and stay uninvolved the rest of the week. To many churches leave everything up to the pastor, and then if things don’t go like they think they should, they fire the pastor.
Don’t play that game with me. I am willing to give you my time, my talents, my desires, my faith, and my love. I require that you give me your desire to reach others for Jesus Christ. If we can accept that mandate on both sides, we shall be fine and we shall have a church that is very strong in the Lord. If we can’t, all we will have is a social club. I don’t like social clubs. I want to see each of you being everything you can be in the Lord, and doing everything you can do for Him.
Now, you will notice that I speak on many subjects as time goes by, but every now and then, as you know by now, I zero in on one subject and preach about it more during certain periods. One subject that will almost always be included in my sermons is reaching new people for Jesus Christ. I do that, because no matter what else we are doing, or whatever we might be called to do, reaching new people for Jesus is the top priority in every Christian’s life, and iit should be the top priority for every church.
This morning I want to talk to you about something that is happening more and more in Christian relationships with the Lord. What I see is that an individual will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, or a Christian will grow closer and stronger in their relationship with Jesus Christ. At first, they become very excited about what God is doing in their lives, but they soon become accustomed to having a life of routine and this leads to being confined to a cardboard box and the comfort found in NOT doing anything differently in their lives.
When this happens, they hinder the work of God, and, at best, they can only grow to a small level of faith in the Lord. They settle in their comfort zone, being happy that things don’t change - and then God will ask them to do something new, or in a way that they are not used to doing. He might ask them to take a step of faith and do something that just doesn’t make much sense, and out of fear of the unknown we will sometimes refuse to press onward. By being so inflexible, we actually render ourselves useless to God.