I really enjoy my job!

I really enjoy my job! I get to visit different churches and talk with pastors and leaders. I admit it, every time I pull up in the parking lot of a church and prepare to get out of the Camry and walk through the doors to chat with the pastor my heart and respiratory rates increase. If you watch me in the parking lot you’ll see me bow my head and pray – mostly to ask God to control my breathing so I’m not out of breath when I walk in!

Why am I excited to visit churches? Because your local church is a source of hope for your whole community. Your church can impact the lives of people who have fallen through the cracks, lost direction and have no where else to turn. Your church has the potential of being “family” to individuals who have never experienced unconditional acceptance.

Being a Biblical Household of Faith is uncomplicated. It takes a few people who are fully committed to Christ, the Word of God, and prayer. Accomplishing this doesn’t take huge budgets or the latest technology. The Household of Faith flows naturally as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in developing and cultivating meaningful relationships – both with each other and with those who are far from God.

Here are some “talking points” for your consideration as you lead your church in being and becoming a Biblical Household of Faith:

– Jesus describes following Him as “taking up our cross” which obviously includes suffering and pain and hardship. Does our leadership model self-sacrifice, self-discipline and self-control with the same humility as Jesus? Are we even trying?

– We must recognize that we don’t have an exclusive on the Gospel. There are other solid, Biblical churches around with whom you should develop partnerships. These partnerships serve to encourage one another by multiplying outreach. For instance, in the school district where I am part of the ministerial association, the churches partner to help families in need. This past year they spent almost $20,000.00 helping needy families; something no one church could possibly accomplish.

– Look for ideas from multiple sources. It’s so easy to succumb to “tunnel vision” because we have a natural tendency to operate within our own comfort zone. If we expect God to speak to us from His Word we need to prepare our minds and hearts. Music and literature and art help us begin to understand the world in which God has placed us and that expands our understanding of how He is moving and working.

– Seek transformation but remember that God loves people just as they are! No where in the Gospels does Jesus require someone to “clean up their act” before accepting the message of salvation. Maybe we should all post a sign on the church front door: “No Perfect People Allowed.” But that should never become an excuse for failing to confront sin with dump truck loads of grace and love.

– Promote healthy small groups where individuals can find meaningful, deep, personal relationships. Most people come to Christ and make significant decisions about following Him because of the personal relationships they have with those who are living out the Gospel. We need groups where those relationships can grow and flourish.

I hope you recognize this isn’t a formula or a program. These are topics for you as leaders to discuss as you study the Word and pray. God will direct your path as you depend on Him. It is only through Christ that we can be and become healthy, Biblical Households of Faith. The potential of the local church makes my heart beat faster!

Jim

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