I have been preaching a sermon series called “Resolutions to Keep” where we looked at the concept of always seeking God in our lives, giving God our “First Fruits” (the first and best of us) and treating others with respect. Sunday Feb 2nd I finished that series with Dreaming Big. Here is an excerpt of that sermon regarding my vision for the church community.
Imagine this type of church community: a place where people know, not just in their head, but in their heart that God loves them. Really, truly loves them. A love that is far more deep and wide than we can ever imagine. I see a place where not only God’s love is known, but the peoples love as well. And not just for their friends in the church, but for everyone who steps foot in the door, and everyone in the community. I dream of a church where growth happens – both spiritual growth of the existing members and numerical growth of the overall body of Christ – not just transferring members from another church, but baptizing new believers – and then nurturing those new believers so they can realize their own gifts and everyone can live their fullest God-given potential. I envision a church where non-believers can come and inquire about God without fear of being condemned, or shut down, rather they are able to express their doubts, fears and even deepest needs, knowing they are in a safe environment. I see a community of faith where those non-believers can experience for themselves the love of God, and come to believe in Him. I see a church where believers believe-and share their beliefs with love and respect. I dream of a church where healing takes place – healing of the body, the mind and the soul, and where prayer happens. I dream of a church where worship is in spirit and truth, a time of sharing the experience of God with each other, respecting all of our stylistic and worship music choices. I can see a church where there are multiple services, not to segregate the congregation but to reach multiple people. I have a dream that the church is such an integral part of the community that its loss would not only be noticed, but would be devastating. I dream of a community of faith that practices hospitality, healing, hope, love, repentance and forgiveness, for members and visitors and people who just happen to walk by. That is my dream, my vision for this congregation. Because this is where God has called me to be. This is where God has repeatedly confirmed my ministry. And we can be that congregation.
So what is your vision of the church?
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Eph 3:20-21)