Seven Miracles in 2009
If we are going to truly believe that there is nothing too hard for God than we need to start praying that way. Too often our we end up praying simple prayers or comfort prayers … God bless this day … God help my family … God bless this food. When we should be challenged to pray missional prayers.
In his excellent book, Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions, John Piper begins his chapter on prayer saying: “Life is war. That’s not all it is. But it is always that. Our weakness in prayer is owing largely to our neglect of this truth. Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief. It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den. God has given us prayer as a wartime walkie-talkie so that we can call headquarters for everything we need as the kingdom of Christ advances in the world. Prayer thus gives us the significance of frontline forces and gives God the glory of a limitless Provider.”
Paul and the early church prayed in accordance with the Father’s will, for the glory of Jesus, and because, as Piper explained, prayer was “primarily a walkie-talkie for the mission of the church.” A church with a domesticated prayer life will inevitably be a church in maintenance mode rather than in missional mode. Simply put, if you want to know if a church is on mission, listen to their prayers and feel their hearts.
I don’t know about you, but I want to have a good handle on this walkie-talkie in the life-long war of proclaiming Christ, rescuing sinners, and building His church! So here is my list of what I’m asking God to accomplish in and through Life Church in this coming year:
- PASSIONATE WORSHIP [LOVE] One of the reasons why God desired to create mankind was to worship Him. We are wired to worship God. Far to often we get the wiring all wrong and we worship other things and give God our leftovers. My prayer is that the church will awaken to awesome privilege of worship … the way Jesus described it, “true worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth.“
- OPEN DOORS IN OUR COMMUNITY [LIVE] I am passionate about living my life for other people. Whether it is staying out late at a community function, going to chamber meetings, coaching on a soccer field, picking up trash or even helping a new neighbor move in … my life is about other people. If we can get that into the fabric of our DNA than there is nothing that can stop us. I’m praying that together Life Church will learn that God has given each of us a platform, it may be our colleges at work, it may be our community friends, it may be others in your circle of life … but we all have doors that are open and waiting for us to walk through them. I’m praying that God will lead people from Life Church into positive relationship with city influencers and even call some of you to places of leadership in our community.
- GROWING BELIEVERS [LEARN] Far too often we feel isolated and all alone, when in fact we are a community, a family of sorts. And we have a desire to help each other grow in their walk and knowledge of God. That the things we learn on Sunday affect how we live our Monday through Friday. For instance, I want years from know for someone to conduct a study that would show the amazing decline in divorce rate in Midlothian and when they look more closely at it. The divorce rate decline begin when Life Church entered into Midlothian. And the same can be told for alcohol abuse, drug addiciton, and so on. With one of our primary objects being helpign each believer grow in their personal walk with God, it shoudl naturally affect their decision making process and the way they live their life.
- 80/20 REVERSAL [LEAD] Deep down in my core I believe that God has given each of us His spiritual gifts, natural talents and abilities and our own unique life experiences. If you look accross the board, it is sad to say that on average 20% of the congregation do 80% of the work. So if you have 100 people sitting in church, 20 of them are working and voluntering in ministry and feeling the thrill and reward of serving while 80 people are sitting aroun watching (probably deep down wishing they could serve but don’t know how to begin). This year I’m praying the we reverse the 80/20 paradigm and that Life Church would be lead by an army of volunteers … more than 80% of our congregation serving somewhere in ministry!
- OUTREACH & NEW BELIEVERS [LEGACY] It’s pointless to do all the functions of church if new people aren’t being reached. Our litmus test to see if we are a church in maintenaince mode or a church in missional mode is the amount of new people that are being won to Christ. We determine to do whatever it is going to take to reach unchurched and dechurched peopel with the message of God’s hope and love both here in our backyard and around the world through the missionaries that we support. It’s our legacy, what are we leaving behind.
- LIFE CHURCH’S FUTURE HOME We’re at a critical junction in our church’s history. How exciting is it to say that we are looking for a home! We are thrilled for the opportunity that we have had to lease quality space from MISD, but how much more thrilling will it be to have a place that we can call home. My prayer is that God, who is an All-Wise God and who knows what our city will look like in 5, 10, 20, 50 years from today … would lead us to a prime location for both now and for then. Like dominoes … there are many things that need to take place in order for us to find our home, lets pray that they get stacked in the correct order and than simply God blows His Spirit into our home search to start the dominoe effect.
- ATTENDANCE BARRIERS In church world there are several attendance barriers. An attendance barrier is a level of attendance that will take a change of ministry, staffing or facility to be able to grow past and get to the next level when things will need to be evaluated again. Standard agreed upon barriers exist at the 60, 120, 200, 400, 800, 1000 member marks. How cool would it be if we could break through both the 120 and 200 barrier this year. I think we can do it! If we as a church determine to stay outward focused, continue to develop ourselves and grow as leaders, take care of business during the week so our Sunday services are organized well and full of the pressence of God, bring on quality staff, and locate our facilities … who’s to say how many growth barriers we could break through. With God’s help we will reach a community that needs Christ.