Posts Tagged iconsultations

Mirage or Miracle?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

While driving your car, you most likely have seen a spot in the road ahead that looks as if it were flooded with water. The mirage you see is caused because the sun heats the pavement, which causes the air at the point just above the road to heat up. When the air temperature is increased more than two degrees per meter from the resting temperature of the atmosphere, light passes from cooler air across the boundary of warmer air causing the light rays to bounce and reflect. As the warmer air rises it mixes with the cooler air and does not continue to bounce the light. When pavement or sand heats up in the summer, it easily reaches a ten-degree per meter difference in the air just above it, creating the mirage of a body of water. This occurrence is not what it appears; your brain just interprets the information incorrectly. Your brain interprets this as water because your experience tells you it is a reasonable and common occurrence. Once you advance to the place you saw the water, you realize all you had was a mirage.

God may want to do something of a miracle in your life, but if you allow your brain to interpret what is going on around you, it may be discovered to be a mirage instead. It is because your common sense will effect you to give up when God wants you to continue ahead. We must continue to learn to live by our conviction of the truth and not by what we see with our natural senses.

2 Corinthians 5:7

We live by faith, not by sight.

When we go through problems in life that discourage us, we usually are looking at the mirage and not the miracle on the horizon. Our brain is interpreting failure and trouble, instead of a time of refinement to make us more effective. Satan has to ask permission to do anything bad to you. The story of Job is perhaps the clearest picture of that fact, but we also see this throughout the scriptures.

Luke 22:31-32

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

”From these words of Jesus, we can see Satan asked permission to sift Simon like wheat. Jesus did not say permission was denied, but instead told Simon he prayed for him that his faith would not fail. Permission was granted to allow things to take place in your life as well. Understand then, grain had to be purified by sifting. This process was called winnowing. Everything was put into large sieves that allowed the grain to pass through but left most of the rubbish behind. It was also necessary to remove any darnel grains at this stage because they are bitter and cause dizziness and sickness if eaten. Darnel was called “tares” or “weeds” in the New Testament. Darnel looks identical to wheat until the grain ripens and it turns black instead of yellow. When this part of the work was complete, the farmer normally stayed with the grain, camping out to ensure that the harvest was not stolen. Sifting will bring you to a place of strength if you will keep your trust in Christ. Notice Jesus finished his statement to Simon with the encouragement that he would then strengthen his brothers. Just as the farmer would stand guard over the wheat that had been sifted, so your Heavenly Father will stay with you through your trials to make certain you will be safe.

Deuteronomy 31:8

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

It may not seem that way right now because you are hurting, but your trials may be a time of purification and miracles. If you trust in your natural senses, it will cause you to turn away; then you will turn your miracle into a painful and disappointing mirage.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Copyright 2010 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

http://MyChurchGrowth.com


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Hidden Signs

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Church Growth Associates, Inc.

Are you looking for simple church growth ideas that will be worth your time? Part of your church growth strategy should be an evaluation of hidden signs. What is a hidden sign? Most people would answer that perhaps by describing a sign that is hidden by the over growth of a bush. Yes, that is a hidden sign all right, but in church growth terms there are other types of hidden signs. A hidden sign is what we are communicating to others without trying or thinking about it. That is the problem with hidden signs, we don’t think about them.

A church I worked with a while back had one of those molded plastic lighted signs out front that someone had thrown a rock through. I asked, “What does the sign out front say?” Someone responded, “It says we are closed!” They got the point. The sign was in plain view, but yet it was a hidden sign. What does the sign say when a first time visitor arrives to worship only to find no designated parking for your guest? Designated guest parking area signs send the message, “You are welcome here, we were expecting you!” No designated parking communicates, “We found our parking, you find yours!” What does no handicap access to your church communicate to those with special needs? Is there an accessible ramp and reserved parking areas? Do you have signs placed around your church to show newcomers how to find the restrooms, pastors’ office and other important areas that may make them feel like a part of your church instead of an outsider? Is your facility clean and well kept? It doesn’t have to be modern or fancy, Just clean and organized.

Paul wrote about being wise when it comes to outsiders, and in his instructions to Timothy about selecting deacons, he gives a qualification that our church should uphold.

 

Colossians 4:5

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.


1 Timothy 3:7

He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

 

Are you making the most of every opportunity? Look around your church and see how many hidden signs you find.  Many of the hidden signs you will find can be taken care of for little or no cost. This church growth idea will be an investment in your ministry to newcomers and the attitude of your congregation that will be well worth the time, effort, and money.

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Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

http://MyChurchGrowth.com

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The Simplicity of Writing a Mission Purpose Statement

Rev. Rick Robinson

Matthew 28:18-20

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The mission purpose statement of a church is a very important part of your church growth mix. One of the reasons people drop out of church is from a lack of affinity. When people don’t know what the purpose of the church is, it will lead to confusion, fragmentation, and disappointment. This lack of affinity goes virtually undetected and cost the church unknown times in members, because it is often an overlooked part of the growth mix.

Philippians 2:1-2

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

So what is a mission purpose statement? Before making church growth plans for the future we must have an understanding of where God wants us to go. The direction God wants us to go, is our mission purpose statement. Isn’t that a simple enough concept? Don’t get the mission purpose statement and the plan or church growth strategies of accomplishing your mission confused. This is where most churches go wrong, and why most mission purpose statements are of no use. Your mission purpose statement is a very important part of your church growth mix, since it is the anchor of what you do. All your church growth ideas and strategies will be based on that mission.

In my home church, Idlewild Baptist Church, we have four words that explain our mission. This is the best example I can give you, and I didn’t write it. (I wish I had.)

The four words are:

  • Attract
  • Connect
  • Grow
  • Serve

 

Wow! What more do you need to communicate your purpose as a church. Not only is it simple and easy to remember, it is also in order of a continuous cycle. Notice how short and simple this example is. How does it compare to others you have seen or heard?

You may be asking if the mission purpose statement is really that important. Would you buy property, build a factory, and hire a thousand workers without telling them what they were to build? Keep in mind, telling the factory workers what they are to build and how they are to build it, is two different things. In the same way, we cannot expect to mobilize a church by letting everyone presume what our joint purpose is.

I want to share this story that was first published about fourteen years ago in one of our church growth newsletters. In my daily travels I am in hundreds of churches each year for various reasons. During the week I was gathering notes to write “How To Write A Mission Purpose Statement”, the Lord gave me an interesting experience. As I entered one church office, the secretary asked me to wait a moment while she answered the phone. I could not help but hear the answers given promptly by the secretary to the obvious prospective visitor on the other end of the line. The time of worship, the location of the church, the style of worship, and the mission purpose statement. Yes, they asked the mission purpose statement of the church. The secretary answered all the questions with enthusiasm, even that last one about the mission purpose statement.

I wondered how many secretaries, receptionist, even ministerial staff around the country would have been able to answer that question? Could your staff answer that question? How many of your members could answer that question? Could you even answer that question?

I felt as though God had put me there in that church at that very time to hear this conversation. It was a great experience, although I have opportunity to see many mission purpose statements throughout the year. Some are very good, and others, an attorney and an insurance agent together would have trouble reading those documents. (No offense to you professionals!)

Sometime last year as I worshipped in a Wednesday evening church service with excess of 1,000 in attendance, the pastor did something I had never seen before. He took some money out of his wallet, held it up and said, “If anyone can quote the mission purpose statement, I will give this to you.” The response would have made an extremely boring episode of the game show, Jeopardy. This church has published the mission purpose statement on every bulletin, so it is available to all members and guests. The “winner” of the pastor’s money was only “close enough” to the idea of the mission purpose statement.

Why could so many people not respond? In my estimation the mission purpose statement of that church is too long. In writing a mission purpose statement, don’t make it difficult to remember. Don’t use reams of paper, just keep it short and simple. You don’t want to confuse your mission with your technique or tactics.

How does a church get started? The first thing I would suggest is preaching sermons dealing with the subject. This will prepare the church for the process. A scriptural basis, is a must. There are resources available to help with this important task. One resource is the workbook, “Planning For The Next Five Years In A Southern Baptist Church”. If your not a Southern Baptist like I am, it will still be a useful resource, but this article may well be enough to help you.

Next, prepare a tentative mission purpose statement. You may be using a long range planning committee to do this depending on how your church is structured. If a committee of sorts will be preparing the statement, each member of that committee should write their own statement to be reviewed and edited later in the group.

Here are some suggestions for editing the statement:

  • Does your statement match the mandate of Jesus Christ?
  • Be certain the wording is simple.
  • Will this statement communicate clearly the direction the church will take in the future?
  • Is the statement brief enough for the average church
  • Be certain the statement defines the direction God wants the church to go and not the methods to be used to get there.

 

Once the process is complete, more ownership should be generated through circulating the statement to deacons, church counsel, and other groups. Discuss with them the tentative statement.

We have a great statement, now what? You are ready to present the mission statement to the church for adoption. Once approved, publish it on everything possible. Above all, use it to determine actions the church will participate in. If the action does not work toward accomplishing the mission, then it should not be considered as an official activity of the church. Imagine every activity of the church working toward your mission. Would your church become less like a club house and become a more powerful force in your community? The answer is yes!

I pray this lesson will help you to understand the mission purpose statement and bring a confidence to tackle the task of revising or writing a mission purpose statement for the first time. You can use it as a guideline, adjusting the details to fit your church environment. Following these simple guidelines, you will be able to lead your church in creating an effective and useful mission purpose statement.

To see if Church Growth Associates can help your church, click here;  Can Church Growth Associates help my church? A consultant will contact you to hear your story.

Rev. Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant helping churches of all sizes with church growth and evangelism strategies. Check out our iconsultations and Onsite Consultations   http://MyChurchGrowth.com

 

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