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Helping make ready the bride of Christ (Rev.19:7-8)

Archive for the month “March, 2013”

Make The Most Of A New Day….by Robert Beike

“After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3…HCSB).

My father-in-law often remarks that some people “wake up in a new world everyday.” He doesn’t mean it as a compliment. Yet, at a certain, significant level that description is true for all of us. The resurrection of Jesus changes everything. It has ushered in a new day; an age of grace, Christianity, and the church. It began a revolution. Because Jesus lives, we wake up in a new world everyday; a world that offers life in the kingdom of God and potential power over sin and death.

The resurrection of Jesus certainly changed the disciples. They had witnessed Jesus die on a cross and be buried in a tomb. They were convinced of His death. But, now after Jesus appeared to them on numerous occasions over a period of 40 days, demonstrating unmistakably that He was alive, they were convinced of His resurrection. It was a new day freighted with promise and hope, and Jesus was about to provide them with the means to make the most of it. In Jesus they had a savior to believe in. They were certain that Jesus was not only alive, but that He was almighty, and all He taught them was true. In advancing the kingdom of God they also had a cause to invest in. They would spend the rest of their lives laboring in faith to bring about the reign of God in the hearts of men. They would strive to see the kingdom manifested in the world, anticipating its ultimate culmination at the end of the age that was inaugerated by the resurrection of Jesus.

Today, its critical that we wake up and make the most of this new day. Paul admonished the Ephesians to, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk–not as unwise people but as wise–making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the will of God is” (Ephesians 5:15-17..HCSB). Each day God graciously deposits in our life account 86,400 ticks of the clock that must be spent before tomorrow. Let’s make the most of it.

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LET MY PEOPLE GO!….by Robert Beike

You have probably experienced riding along in your automobile, making good time, visions of your destination dancing in your head, when you begin to see the ominous red glare of tail lights, and traffic soon rolls to a stop. You inch forward, hoping for a breakout, but none comes. So, you sit, and steam, and grow frustrated, until in desperation, you begin to look for an available exit. This is not what you anticipated. It’s not what you planned for when you turned those ignition keys and began your journey.

Such experiences on our highways might be a necessary nuisance, but similar scenarios in our churches can become unnecessary tragedies. Sadly, many churches suffer from people gridlock. God is calling people to a high-octane adventure, a journey of spiritual growth, service, and mission. Yet, far too many are stymied by ecclesiastical bottlenecks leading to spiritual stagnation. Believers find themselves sitting, steaming, and frustrated. Consequently, they are taking exit ramps in alarming numbers, traveling alternate routes that lead into spiritual cul de sacs.

Most churches, unwittingly, are structured to hinder, rather than harness the power of God’s people. Instead of systems and strategies to help people discover and deploy their God-giftedness and purpose, church structures have become strictures that tether people to the church building, and Sunday/Wednesday activities. Their “mission” is to serve as vendors for the consumers who show up to partake of the programs offered. Worse, they may be relegated to the role of consumer themselves, tuned in to that popular station w.i.i.f.m. (what’s in it for me).

God may be saying to His church, as he did to Pharoah, “Let My People Go!” Pastors chronically lament a worker shortage, and that 20% of the membership does 80% of the work. But, that could be good news. Maybe doing “church” as is only requires 20% of  the workforce. That leaves 80% to be released into God’s harvest field to be the church.

What process does your church have to transform its membership into missionaries? Is there an intentional equipping of people to study the word for themselves, pray effectively, share their faith, and utilize their giftedness and skill sets? Let God’s people go to where they live, work, play, and go to schoo,l to demonstrate the love of God. Encourage them to be the church wherever they go, to be good news to whoever they meet, and to engage their world in ways that makes God smile, and makes a world of difference.

Obedience to Christ mandates every believer fleshing out the great commission with their God-given gifts and resources. Reaching our neighborhoods and the next towns will remain forever elusive unless the church releases the ordinary Christians God is calling to do the extraordinary task of loving their neighbors to Christ.

The 10 Most Important People in Your Church on Sunday…by Robert Beike

1. Guests — Are newcomers treated as visitors who may come and go, or as guests who are expected, planned for, and made to feel welcome?

2. Greeters and Ushers — Smiles are the most cost effective outreach tools a church can employ. The first 4 minutes a guest is on your property are the most critical. What kind of impression are you making? Is your attitude saying, “stay away,” or “come and stay?”

3. Custodial Workers — Is your facility clean and uncluttered, especially in the ladies restroom and nursery?

4. Nursery and Children’s Workers — Are parents confident their children are well cared for and safe?

5. Sunday School/Small Group Workers — Are all attendees valued and made to feel welcome? Is God’s word being taught for transformation and not just information?

6. People who sit next to new people — Are new people ignored or included? Are they introduced to others and their comfort considered?

7. Worship Leader(s) — Is there warmth and enthusiasm? Are the people engaged in authentic worship, escorted into the presence of God?

8. People who sing — This includes the congregation as well as singers of special music. Are they smiling? is there joy? Genuineness?

9. Pastor — It’s no mistake that the pastor is so far down on the list. Unless the first eight are positive influences the pastor’s role is extremely difficult. Still, the pastor can make a huge difference. Is he engaging and people friendly? Does he handle God’s word with integrity? Does he communicate God’s truth clearly?

10. Follow-up Person(s) — Is appreciation for guests’ attendance expressed? Is an invitation for further involvement extended? Are questions adequately answered? The first 48 hours following the service is critical in securing their further participation.

 

20 Ways Your Church Can Be a Church Planting Personnel Partner….by Robert Beike

Church planting is hard work. There are a myriad of things that need to be done and, in most cases, few people to do them. In addition to spiritual energy, know-how, and money, human energy is a necessary ingredient for starting churches. Church planters need other “missionaries” to come alongside, roll up their sleeves, and help shoulder the load. Here are 20 ways your church can be a church planting personnel partner.

 

1. Provide short-term “missionaries” to help with music, child care, greeters, etc.

2. Help the planter in the relocation process (locating property, moving furniture, etc)

3. Provide a list of community entities, activities, and contacts.

4. Provide help with website development.

5. Provide opportunities for planter to preach & share at your church.

6. Provide office space and amenities, secretarial and/or administration help.

7. Attend appropriate functions of new congregation.

8. Provide a social and spiritual support system.

9. Pray.

10. Send mission teams for outreach projects, Vacation Bible School, etc.

11. Help with identifying & locating people groups, population segments, etc.

12. Enlist participants in $46 mission trips. Each person takes 100 names from the phone book, directory, or focus group list, 100 envelopes, and 100 prewritten letters. Purchase 100 stamps, address, stuff, stamp, and mail the envelopes. The pray for those 100 names for 100 days.

13. Enlist a team of “telemissionaries” who phone individuals/households from the focus group/area, inviting them to a specific function of the new church.

14. Send prayer walking teams.

15. Conduct a block party, assist in food drives and other “point-of-need” events with the new congregation.

16. Guidance with local school system(s).

17. Help with or provide locations for fellowships, gathering events, retreats, etc.

18. Provide opportunities and appropriate chaperones for children or youth functions.

19. Sunday School classes could adopt the new work and participate in projects on its behalf.

20. Assist the Church Planter/new church in advancing its strategy.

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