Yesterday marked day 2 of my prayer retreat week. Each August I set aside a week to focus on the upcoming church year to plan and prepare my sermons from September to the next September. It's purpose is to get away and retreat so I can get a clear vision of the big picture.
I began the day seeking God for a theme for the year for our church. I wrote down these three questions and then prayed through them.
- What does our church lack?
In the book of Revelation 2-3, God calls out 7 churches and highlights what they do well as well as where they are weak. I was searching for what God would say about Victory Lethbridge.This is what I sensed we lack:
- A corporate passion for the Word. Recently I read an article entitled 12 Reasons Your Church Doesn't Produce Spiritual Growth by Tony Morgan. In the article he said this, "We learned that the most effective strategy for moving people forward in their journey of faith is biblical engagement. Not just getting people into the Bible when they're in church - which we do quite well - but helping them engage the Bible on their own outside of church."The Apostle John said in Revelation 3:10, "Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I'll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon." I sense strongly that we need to reignite our personal passion for the Word of God.
- A corporate passion for others. In James 4, he explains why quarrels and dissension happen in churches. "What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? 2 You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled;..." Our society's culture is naturally selfish. I sense that attitude regularly creeping into the church. We need to learn how to truly love others and put their needs above our own.
- In what areas of their lives do our people most need to grow?
This is similar to the first question, except that it is a little more specific. I was looking for specific life skills, relational skills, or spiritual development. Where are we strong and what are our opportunities? Where are we weak and what are our threats? This is what I sensed: I was reminded of what Pastor Casey Treat said in his powerful book Renewing the Mind.He said that there are 5 areas in which our minds must be renewed. I reread them and felt that these 5 each highlighted key areas in which we all could grow. What if these 5 became key themes to base our series on in the upcoming year?
- We must believe that God has a plan and a destiny in our lives.
- We must believe that what's inside us - not circumstances outside us - control our lives.
- We must believe that if we give the best, we will have the best.
- We must order our lives in a balanced way and keep our priorities in line with God's will.
- We must be excellent! - in our work; in our parenting; in our relationships and communication; in our homes; in our spirituality; and in our church.
- What is God's vision for our church in the next year?
Where does He want us to be one year from today?
I sense God's desire is that we continue to be a church unchurched people love to attend, but that we grow in two main areas. We must be:
- strengthened in the Word
- grow in the strength of our relationships.
Question: Do these two areas witness with you? Please share your thoughts in the "Leave a Reply" box below.