Salutations again brothers and sisters!
During our quarterly Business Conference on January 19, I had the opportunity to share with you a bit of my heart regarding the pastoral transition, the midst of which we are in, and I began to articulate the vision God has given me for where our church’s ministries might head in the days ahead. I continue to welcome any questions, concerns, or comments you might have for me regarding anything you heard that evening. Please contact me directly, or catch me on a Sunday or Wednesday! I will be available for another “town hall” style event on a Wednesday evening this month! I am increasingly excited about what God has allowed me to envision!
As you have heard me say in many ways in the past, I am not only passionate about discipleship, I am burdened by the Great Commission given to us by King Jesus Himself (as recorded in Matthew 28) to go and make disciples! I want First Baptist to think of disciple-making as the “operating system” upon which ALL of our ministry “applications” run. It must undergird everything we do systemically, and this mission must be THE reason behind everything we do. Why do we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and warm those that are cold? Because we want to “get in the door” so that we have opportunities in which to share the great Good News of salvation! After all, eternity is at stake for everyone of our neighbors.
One of the things I talked about during the “town hall” was church growth. Of course I would like for more people to attend on Sunday mornings. Of course I want more and more people to enter into our covenant body. Of course I want more people to be actively engaged in learning, bearing one another’s burdens, and ministering to neighbors across our community. Of course I want to experience an increase in quantity of bodies, buildings, and budgets. Of course I know that these are side effects of increases in quality and faithfulness to God and His Word. However, in the years ahead, would we willing to enact the policy of a church I have heard of in Vermont? I do not know the pastor personally, he is only an acquaintance of an acquaintance, nor do I fully understand the variables of their context, but they have an intentional size ceiling of about 125 members. When this church grows to 125, they send out a team of 25-50 to plant a new church. They send out their best and brightest, many of their leaders, and then work to reach more people that do not year know the Christ. This is a bit of a radical approach to capping a church’s size, but it’s a powerful example of prioritizing Kingdom growth over the growth of a particular church. Are we willing to make such a commitment to prioritizing the Kingdom?
I am so encouraged by the heart of Roy Busick. He wants to cultivate a culture across our Sunday School ministry where we strengthen the three components of discipleship: education/training, in-reach/fellowship, and out-reach/mission. If all of our small groups work toward health in all three of these areas, we will be forced to practice biblical multiplication. Like our friends in Vermont, the New Testament shows growth by division. This is a beautiful picture of Kingdom advancement. We want to see souls saved and lives radically transformed. We want to see the unsaved today become the Church’s leaders of tomorrow. We want to have visions come to fruition!
Are you being the disciple God wants you to be? Are you burdened by the brokenness and lostness of our neighbors? What are you doing to make disciples of these?
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done!
Rev. Andrew J. Reynolds