As we begin a new year there are a couple questions that I think are appropriate to contemplate as a congregation and also personally. In order for us to fulfill the mission of making disciples of Jesus, the following questions must be considered.
1) Will God's Word remain a priority for us? This is of extreme importance because we only know Jesus through the Bible. If we are not standing on Scripture as our foundation we are following a self made Jesus rather than the one revealed to us in the Bible. Our congregation was founded as one that wanted to take the Bible seriously and have God's Word be the final authority in all matters. Therefore it must remain a top priority in our worship through preaching and in our congregational life through bible studies (small groups). We can personally ask ourselves the question in the following way. Will I make God's Word a part of my life regularly?
2) Will we care about _______ who does not go to church anywhere? We could fill in that blank with over 80,000 different names here in the city of Sioux Falls. We hear from Jesus repeatedly in one way or another that He came to seek and save the lost. As followers of Jesus we are to be about our Master's business. Jesus is in the business of reaching out to those who have no hope or have not been granted salvation through the forgiveness of sin. Making disciples which is our mission begins with "evangelism." I know that word scares many people but it is simply proclamation of the good news. We don't have a specific growth goal but we must desire growth through evangelism. This is probably the toughest of the three questions because it is going to stretch us the most. We can personally ask ourselves the question in the following way. Will I seek to reach out to people who do not know Jesus?
3) Will our preferences remain preferences or will they become laws? Some of you are probably tired of me talking about preferences verses law. There are very few laws in regards to how we should operate as a church. We are commanded to worship, preach God's Word, care for one another, and reach out. Yet, there area a variety of different ways to do each of those things. How we do those things are preferences and it is critical we recognize that they are preferences. All of us have strong preferences regarding almost everything therefore all of us are setting aside preferences for the good of the whole body.
We can personally ask ourselves the question in the following way. What are some of my preferences that are not being met and how will I deal with them?
Please feel free to make comments or ask follow up questions.