Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Simpler Vision...

In my last post, I talked about the book Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger.  I mentioned that after reading that book, I had spent a lot of time in prayer seeking a new purpose for God's church in Almond.

I presented the new statement at the Annual Meeting last week, along with some reasons for it, and some core values that I feel are crucial for any vital church (which I'll be sharing with you in a few days).

Simple Church talked about the importance of a very simple statement that also serves as a progression for discipleship in the church.  I presented Live, Learn, Love, Lead.

We live in relationship with Christ, as part of the Body of Christ.  We come together each week in worship on Sundays as brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are truly a family. 

We learn together in groups.  We don't have small groups, per se, our small groups are our Sunday School groups and Bible Study groups.  We come together to learn because in groups we discuss what we are learning, we encourage each other, we pray for each other, and we are there for each other.  But we also have an opportunity to bounce ideas off each other.  Anyone can read and learn on their own, but it often becomes head knowledge, and no personal growth takes place.  But together, as we discuss what we learn, and how we might apply it, that learning can become heartfelt, and can bring about personal growth.  The point is, it takes small groups to really bring about deep spiritual growth.

We love each other, and show our love for God, in our service to others.  This can be in one of our local mission activities.  It could be a service project outside the church.  It could be volunteering at our Samaritan's Loft homeless shelter or at our food pantry.  Helping others shows our love for them, and showing our love for the needy around shows our love for God (Matthew 25:40).

Lastly, we lead.  We have two opportunities to lead.  First, we can lead others in a small group, a Sunday School class, or a Bible Study group.  In these opportunities to lead others, we can share our faith and the difference that our faith makes in our lives, so that we might encourage and strengthen their faith.  It's the 'iron sharpens iron" principle in action (Proverbs 27:17).

But there is another very important way we can lead, and that is in sharing our faith with those not yet in the church.  We can be witnesses, sharing what God has done in our lives, so they may know that the same God may work in their lives.  That they may come to love Him as we do.  (Acts 1:8)

Live, Learn, Love, Lead.  It's a progression in that as we spend time in worship, meeting together as the Body of Christ, we feel the strong desire to learn more about God, to spend time in His Word, to learn.  As we learn, we love Him more, and want to show that love by serving others, volunteering of our time to help those around us.  And as we show our love for others, we want to share our faith, the reason for the hope that's inside us, introducing others to the God we love so.

There you have it.  A new, simple statement that serves as a method of making disciples.  What do you think?  I would love to hear your comments...

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