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Sunday School (All ages) 9:15am - 10:15am
Service Time 10:30am - 11:30am

First Baptist Church

VISION 2022- The Next Seven Years

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”
(Isaiah 43:18-19a)

About 350 years ago a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles west into the wilderness. In the fourth year, the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles west into a wilderness that nobody needed to go to.

This is the true story of a group of people who had the vision to sail three thousand miles across an ocean, overcoming severe hardships, to get here, and in just a few short years couldn’t see five miles out of town. They lost their vision.

When we have a clear vision of what we can become in Christ, and where we can go with Christ, no ocean of difficulty is too great. Without vision we rarely move beyond our current boundaries.

Everything we’re familiar with in America is changing. Our world has changed dramatically in the past 100 years, with even greater changes on the way. Consider these facts:
  • The first mass produced Model T Ford came off the assembly line. We now have Hybrid cars combining gas and electricity. Cars getting 75 to 100 miles per gallon, that respond to voice commands, and that automatically avoid collisions are coming quickly.
  • Penicillin was discovered some 60 years ago. We’ve implanted artificial hearts, and made strides in cancer treatment.
  • More than half of the scientists who have ever lived are alive today.
  • Fifty percent of college graduates are going into jobs which didn’t exist when they were born.
  • More information has been produced in the last thirty years than in the previous five thousand years combined.
My philosophy of ministry: There are two fundamental principles that must not be compromised: the message of the cross and the mission of the church. I will never sacrifice the message of the gospel, the story of God’s saving grace through Christ. Nor will I waver from my position that the primary task of the church is to take that message to the world. That said, there are also two things that must be regularly evaluated-ministries and methods. Ministries are the various tools we use to reach people with the message. Methods are the countless ways we use the tools. Both ministries and methods must be flexible, even fluid. Ministries and methods are the tools we use to realize our mission. Change is necessary for the church to effectively share the message of Christ and achieving her God-given mission. Change is inevitable. Everything we’re familiar with in America is changing. Our world has changed dramatically.

“If you were born before 1945.”

Families have changed in an enormous way. Listen to this excerpt from a high school economics book from 1954. READ:
In 1906, Will Kellogg introduced us to cornflakes.
In 1912 we got “lifesavers” candy.
In 1920 we got the Band-Aid.
In 1923, Clarence Birdseye introduced us to frozen food.
In 1930 Scotch tape was invented.
In 1938 we got the ballpoint pen.
In 1941 we got aerosol cans.
In 1943 rubber was invented.
In 1948 velcro was invented.
In 1949 prepared cake mixes were introduced.
In 1959 Barbie Doll was created.
In 1962 we got the cassette tape.
In 1967 the first handheld calculator was introduced.
 
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God told Isaiah in 43:18-19, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (NIV) God is a God of new ideas and innovation. He uses change. In this passage, God is promising His people that He will do greater things in the future. The Lord is doing a “new thing” in First Baptist Church. We must never forget the blessings of the past, but what God is going to do in the future will be far greater than anything He’s done in our past. Prior to my arrival as your pastor, I asked God to give me direction, a vision of where He wanted to take us as a church. A vision is important because it is the process of joining God in what He is doing. It is a picture of what God wants to do in His church. A vision isn’t a product, but a process. It is a journey, not a destination! Helen Keller was asked once, “What would be worse than being born blind?” Her answer, “Having sight without a vision.” She couldn’t help how she came into the world, but she could help how she left this world. I believe people truly do want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. A vision enables us to focus on a target and combine our efforts to hit the bull’s-eye. “Where there is no vision (revelation), the people perish” (Prov. 29:18 KJV). The opposite is also true: where there are no people the vision will perish! It takes both a vision and people for the vision of God to materialize.

There are two reasons for planning ahead: First, it is something God Himself does. “Finalize plans through counsel, and wage war with sound guidance” (Prov. 20:18), and second, He instructs us to plan carefully for the future. “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28)

One thing the church needs today is a holy discontent with the status quo. When Nehemiah heard that the Jews back in Jerusalem were in danger because the wall hadn’t been rebuilt, he “sat down and wept, and mourned for a number of days” (Neh. 1:4a).

A vision is the ability to see, and to see beyond the natural. To see the unseen, you must ignore what people say, and disregard what the world says. A vision also includes a faith to believe (Rom. 4:18-26). God help us to have enough faith to believe God! There is much we have no control over: our age, our giftedness, our background-but we all have control over how much we will choose to believe God. A vision also includes the courage to do! Going forward in spite of the fear. Columbus’ diary makes it seem as though he was bored. Over and over again he wrote, “This day we sailed on!” Anybody can set sail, but he reached his destination.

First Baptist Church exists to: Love God through Worship, Discover God through Discipleship, and Share God through Evangelism.

LOVING GOD THROUGH WORSHIP:
1. Our goal is to average in attendance, at least 5% of the population at a minimum.
Currently that number is 285.
2. In order to accomplish this, we will add an additional worship service.
    a. 9:00 a.m. (Classic Service)
    b. 10:30 a.m. (Contemporary Service)
    c. This will give us additional education space, utilizing our current space twice.
3. Have a designated prayer room to be occupied during our worship services, praying for the Lord to move among us. Intercessory prayer is a primary key to enjoying the favor of God.
4. Technology must be utilized to a greater degree. E-Newsletter, weekly E-messages, sermons online, and digital signs, both inside and outside. We will have an app for smart phones, and send messages to your cell phone. Etc.
5. Our worship celebrations are a time of joy and excitement. A friendly atmosphere is essential. I don’t believe you hatch eggs in a refrigerator.

DISCOVERING GOD THROUGH DISCIPLESHIP:
1. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
2. Before one can become a disciple, he must first become a believer. Once a person commits his/her life to Christ, the Christian journey begins. Bible study and fellowship with other believers is imperative.
3. On __________ we will begin five new adult life groups. New classes reach people seven times faster than existing classes.
4. Remodel our children’s space. I want us to have an exciting, bright, and inviting children’s area that will cause children to want to be here. We have a team of people already looking at other church facilities to gather ideas. God has blessed us here, and we need to do our best to share that blessing with others.
5. A concentrated effort to promote fellowship among our church family. The larger we grow the more important this becomes. We must get smaller while growing larger.
6. Friendship cultivation. The number one reason people drop out of church is because they have no friends.
7. We will change the name of Adult Sunday School to Life Groups. Children will continue with the name “Sunday School.” Explain the reasoning.
8. We will start five new adult Life Groups in the coming year. New classes reach people seven times faster than existing classes.

SHARING GOD THROUGH EVANGELISM
1. I want First Baptist Church to be an Acts 1:8 church - “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” I want us to be involved in mission projects locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.
2. We are unapologetically evangelistic.
3. Multi-housing ministry. A mere 3% of those who live in multi-housing complexes attend a local church. But when the church goes to them, as many as 30% will participate. I want members of our church to serve as missionaries, living in apartment complexes and trailer home parks. They will be a sort of “on site minister,” and coordinate various ministries and Bible studies. As compensation, the church could pay their rent.
4. Every Life Group should have as its goal to birth a new class out of its own members every four years.
5. The only way to establish friendships is in a small group, so we will continue to look at ways and ministries to achieve this.
6. Every member serving in some capacity, utilizing their spiritual gifts.
7. Continue to plan “bridge events,” getting people from the community to the church.
8. Establish an Endowment for the purpose of reaching people with the Gospel of Christ.

Explain.

WHAT IS REQUIRED TO REALIZE THIS VISION?
1. Faith-there is no risk-free way to walk by faith! Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (TLB). God wants us to be risk takers!
    a. Risk-taking churches
    b. Care-taking churches
    c. Under-taking churches
2. Passion-this comes from God.
3. Prayer-nothing significant will take place apart from prayer!
4. Money
5. Flexibility
6. Sacrifice-personal preferences in favor of God’s purposes. Often, the first thing people think about is what they will have to give up.
7. Additional staff as growth and ministries determine.

CONCLUSION:
1. Vision is the ability to see: Awareness
2. Vision is the faith to believe: Attitude (Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible).
3. Vision is the courage to do: Action
This is the most difficult for me. Seeing isn’t too difficult, nor is believing God is going to do something incredible. But when it comes to putting vision into action, that requires me to walk by faith.

Have you ever done anything you didn’t think you could do? We all have. That is what a vision does.
The courage of vision says, “Lord, if that is you, let me come to you walking on the water.”
The courage of vision says, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The courage of vision says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
The courage of vision says, “The trials of this life aren’t worthy to be compared with the glory of the next life.”
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