Did you miss me? If you didn’t know it, I spent much of this week in Orlando for the National New Church Conference. Over 2,000 people involved in church planting attended, which was pretty cool. To see that many people who are on the same journey as us was encouraging. I believe God is doing something pretty cool in our country right now in this area. With so many new churches, many of them seeking to reach out to people who are not currently connected to God or church, this really is an exciting time to be followers of Jesus. It was a great week, as I got to hear a number of outstanding speakers, attend several excellent conferences, and spend time with several friends who are part of the church planting movement.
The best part of attending an event like this, at least for me, is that it helps me re-think, and re-pray through vision and direction for Genesis. God has been so good to us, but we need to keep dreaming and keep moving forward. Here are a few thoughts about what I believe God is saying about our direction at Genesis.
1. We need to develop key leaders in Genesis. This begins with our Elders. Right now I am the only Elder in Genesis. Our Elder level leadership is coming from outside the church with a few key guys who are working with me to pray about direction and vision issues. But we need guys within the church to fill this role, to work with me to evaluate and set goals. This means that we must pray for the right group of men to lead, and that I must begin to seek those guys out and get them involved in a process that will move us in this direction. The appointment of Elders was a key part of the church planting process in the New Testament. Paul selected Elders in the various churches he started, and he involves Timothy and Titus in this task as well. Eventually, God will raise up a plurality of Elders that will help us lead Genesis under Christ’s authority.
2. We need to develop specific strategies that will lead Genesis to living missionally in Eureka. We launched a team to help with this task. The dream for Genesis, from day one, was to be the church going. Right now we do a decent job of coming together, but we must get active in living our faith together in this community. We are looking at a couple events in the next few months, with lots more coming.
3. Community Groups are a key. We have two groups going right now. As we move toward Fall, we will need to begin at least a couple more, which means training leaders, and preparing for these groups. The more people we can involve in a small group where they live faith with that group, the stronger the church, and the greater impact we can have on the community. We will be working to strengthen the fiber of our groups, and will be reevaluating the use of curriculum in our groups.
4. We can’t lose sight of the big picture. To be honest, doing church is hard work. It takes a lot of energy and time to keep everything going, and it is easy to get so involved in the details of church that we lose sight of the overarching purpose. So what is that big picture? The answer is found in our purpose statement, “Genesis Church exists to help people find a new beginning in Christ and become more like Him.” As pastor, it is my job to remind everyone constantly that the heart of our existence is to see lives changed as people experience Jesus. This is why baptism is so important, because it gives all of us a chance to see the evidence of God’s work through our church. All other work, even loading and unloading the trailer each week must keep the ultimate purpose in mind.
You’ll be hearing more about these four things, but by blogging, it gets it out there so I have to keep moving forward. God has given us a great challenge, by entrusting Genesis to us, but he has also given us incredible power through the Spirit for the task. We can’t get short sighted or lose track of the vision God has given us for the church. Thanks for being a part of the adventure.