Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Spiritual State of Zion

In a couple weeks we’ll spend some time talking about how we’re doing as a church. Are we following Jesus together? Are there things we should be doing differently? It’s called “The Spiritual State of Zion” message and here is a preview:

There are four priorities which need to be addressed and addressing them will require some resources. They are: Scripture, Leadership Development, Communication, and Love.

Scripture: As a congregation, Zion is incredibly hungry for the Word of God. And we need more of it. We need our people to be immersed in it. Not just at church on Sunday or Wednesday, but every day in time spent in the Word. The most recent and comprehensive study of spiritual growth in churches indicates that at every stage of spiritual growth, Scripture is critical. We have done a good job of beginning, but we need to continue and build upon what we’ve done and move now from teaching and preaching into application. We also need others to help us teach and challenge others to get into the Word. Which is why leadership development in critical for us.

Leadership Development: To be a disciple of Jesus is to be a leader. All of us are called to follow him. And all of us are called to “make” disciples. That is a leadership role. We need leaders on every level: teachers of the Bible, small group leaders, Godly leaders of various ministries, leaders who are called by God to start new ministries and inspire others to follow them. We also need to be sure that Christian parents understand their leadership role in bringing their children to faith. We need new elders and board members. We need mentors and disciplers.

Communication: In order to share the vision we have across three services and to those who don’t attend every single week, we need to develop new and improve existing methods of communication. It is also necessary that we customize communication to fit specific groups within the church like visitors, youth and children. We have been given a developing vision of the church to communicate and we need to spend time and resources developing and improving our style and methods.

Love: Scripture tells us that God loved the world so much he gave us Jesus. We need to learn to love the world the way God does. Not the way the world wants to be loved (unqualified acceptance and license), but in a godly way. Our failure to be able to do a better job reaching out beyond our own walls is less about organization or structure or resources then it is about our hearts. Our hearts, as a congregation, aren’t soft enough yet. How do we get the very heart of God within us? Jesus tells us: Love one another. So I understand this to mean that love starts at home and moves outward. We love the ones right here first and somehow that begins a heart transformation process that leads us into the lives of our neighbors and to those we meet along the way. My analysis is that the staff has come a long way in truly loving each other. Now it’s time for the boards to love each other, and then the congregation as a whole. Then, I think, the Holy
Ghost will invite us to leave this place and go out into the world and share the love of Christ and it won’t be compelled or guilt ridden, it will be freeing and joyful and exuberant and we will surpass everything we can imagine as our hearts and lives are opened up to this kingdom work.

Thanks for reading. Come to Zion on May 17 for the rest of the story. God bless you.

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