Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Community—Building Church

As the Lord continues to guide us into this new phase of the ministry, we’re receiving confirmation everywhere we turn.

As we told you a couple of weeks ago, we came across an article by Rod Edmonson, a pastor and church leader who has a passion for church planters. He provided 7 Ways to Be a Community-Building Pastor. We know that finding that article was not a coincidence. It was confirmation that we are moving the right direction. 

In the article he writes: How can a pastor—or ministry leader—be a community builder? I don’t have all the ideas, but I have some suggestions:

1. Know key leaders - I think you should know who the leaders in the community are and know as many of them personally as possible.
2. Listen to concerns - Wherever you are, wherever you go, whatever you do in the community—whether at city hall, a school meeting or the grocery store or barbershop, listen to hear the things people are talking about around you.
3. Love what they love - I am intentionally trying to love the people to whom God has placed me to minister—and part of that—as I would do for any family member—is learning to love the things they love.
4. Learn the community - make appointments with people who are known in the community for their years of service to the community.
5. Build your community network - I’m consistently asking people to connect me with people I should know in the community.
6. Serve somewhere in the community, besides your church - we need to lead the way so that others in the church will serve in the community also.
7. Lead your church to be community builders - This isn't something we do in a campaign once a year. This must be a lifestyle—getting the church into the community—being community builders—so we can eventually be Kingdom builders.

As we are making intentional plans to become much more of an evangelism-focused church, we want to provide opportunities for each of you to invite your family, friends, co-workers and classmates to special times to hear the gospel presented in unique ways that will touch their lives.

We also want to adequately prepare you to disciple someone in the ways of God. That’s why, over the years, we placed so much emphasis on rightly dividing the word of God. We want to help each of you to know how to give the right words at the right times.

For instance, if a co-worker has lost a loved one or is having a battle with a sickness, we shouldn't tell them, “God won’t put on you more than you can bear.” Not only is that a misquoted scripture, but it is not the word of comfort for someone who needs encouragement. It would be more appropriate to say, “God wants us to bring every burden that we have to Him. Do you mind if I pray with you?” Or “Until I committed my whole heart to God, things like this in life were always overwhelming me, too. Do you have a minute to let me pray for you?” 

A couple of weeks ago, I stood on a microphone and preached the Good News in an outdoor setting for the first time in over ten years. We have desired to do that ever since we first moved to Harrisburg. I must admit that the Spirit of God came upon me in that strong and heavy anointing that I always felt many years ago, on the streets of St. Louis or during altar calls in my home church. It was awesome to be back in that flow again.

Following that evangelistic outreach in Harrisburg’s Hall Manor, we realized we must really become much more serious about ensuring that we all know how to share our faith and how to lead people who are new to the ways of God. We want to become faithful and competent stewards of God’s word. We want to be faithful as He sends us out into the harvest in these last days.

Most of us are already in the trenches regarding evangelism due to the positions God has given us on or jobs. As your pastors in this season, we want to be faithful to always equip you for your daily assignments. 

Over the last couple of weeks, the Lord has been dealing with us strongly about getting back to preaching the pure, uncut, uncensored truth about God’s love, heaven, hell, and even about Christians who have been deceived into thinking they are going to heaven even though they are living double lives.

I openly repent of any and all messages that I have preached that allowed anyone to feel comfortable in sin, prayerlessness and settling for the pursuit of personal goals rather than seeking God with all their heart. I denounce any and all teachings that I have done that reinforced a carnal lifestyle and the harboring of secret sin. From this day forth, Carol and I are preaching and teaching the whole truth of God’s Word.

Carol and I have been convicted by the Holy Spirit for trying to rebuild, restore and renew hearts and homes without placing the main emphasis on SALVATION, first.  People have got to get saved. Christians have got to come out of carnality and sin. There’s nothing else to say!

Even in these modern times, with all of our impressive technology and information, it all still comes down to that same old ancient message that Jesus Christ commanded His followers to give to the world:

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."  Mark 16:15 (NKJV)

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.  
Matthew 24:14 (NKJV)

If we truly believe that these are the last days, then we must live like it is so, and we will preach like it is so. 

We’ll see you Friday for our next Prayer Watch and Sunday for our next Equipping Families session.

It's all for the harvest,

Chris and Carol Green