December 2018   
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OUR CHURCH

I called this message “Our Church” because it’s about Broadway Baptist Church--where we worship and fellowship with our church family. But we know it’s really God’s Church, a part of His Body of believers.

In February I began my third year at Broadway Baptist Church.  I don’t know much about previous history here except that this church had a long-term pastor, then a stretch of permanent, interim, and substitute pastors and a major split--yet it managed to complete 50 years of service to the Lord—that’s quite a feat in itself!

When I was called to be pastor of this church, I explained that I would be a teaching pastor, with Bible-based sermons and information about goings-on in the world. My God-given goal is to help the congregation to be knowledgeable about evils so they won’t fall into the various traps of Satan.  I made clear that the church was getting my wife and me as a ministerial team.  Like me, Cynthia is an ordained Doctor of Ministry and can do anything I can do. We said we would bring our counseling and video ministries to the church also.

When I came here, I found no outreach program or tools for personal evangelism and promised to provide the needed printed tools. Cynthia and I have now offered the following in this regard:

·         a general church brochure

·         a teen brochure

·         a counseling brochure

·         a few good fold-out tracts

·         our new witnessing booklets on various subjects

·         and—posters, newspaper articles, church calendars, business cards printed on both sides, door hangers, and brochure holders

I write most of these, Cynthia writes some, and she “makes everything pretty” on the computer.

·         I also updated the church’s Constitution and By-Laws, adding sections required to keep our church legal and conforming to accepted formats and standards.

·         My Sunday morning sermons are teaching messages based on the Bible.  I try to get people involved in the loop of what is going on in the world so they will be knowledgeable about Satan’s traps and see how others, even Christians, are destroying the world with anti-Biblical acts and misinformation.

·         I give an invitation each Sunday morning.

·         We are continuing to use Sunday School curriculum from Answers in Genesis taking us chronologically through the Bible.

·         I’ve made home and hospital visits. Right now most of my visitations are by telephone which seems to be the preferred method by several people I’ve asked. 

·         I’ve provided in-home communion to some although it is not requested very often.  I’m always available to do this and any other home visitations requested.

On Sunday evenings, we have used some of the 800+ videos we brought with us. Subjects like Islam and other world religions, non-Christian cults, End Times, and Israel provide teaching to equip people for service. Presenters are highly qualified, nationally and internationally recognized authorities. All presentations are based solidly on the Bible. I’ve heard many comments about what people have learned, things they were never told about Roman Catholic anti-Biblical practices, the fact that yoga cannot be used as a Christian fitness program, and the pure Satanism of Freemasonry. Few from our church attend, but a few people from other churches attend regularly. Attendance has been steady but low for both Bible study at 5:30 and the evening service at 6:30. Numbers don’t change much for Sunday evening services whether we are showing videos, having a singing service, or a pastoral mini-sermon. Many churches with similar attendance patterns have discontinued evening services altogether. I realize that health issues can be a factor.

I’ve encouraged people to be involved in church worship and activities.

·         To accomplish more things in more areas, I made sure we ordained two deacons. Their help has increased the efficiency and operation of our church.

·         Darrel and Ken volunteered to serve as worship leaders to help me in the pulpit area.

·         Sundays if needed, Jimmie, Greg, Burt and others volunteer to serve as ushers, and Maxine, Geneva, Opal, Marge, and Leisa care for name tags and welcoming visitors.

·         Recently I switched from having the morning Scripture read by one person to having responsive readings to get people involved.  This also makes sure everyone has read the Bible at least once each week. 

·         People are willing to help with meals, activities, and occasional special musical numbers.

·         We’ve had baptisms and gained new members. We’re getting some regular visitors who seem to like us.

·         People enjoy Maxine and Burt’s 3Gs fellowship events and the added unity of wearing our church t-shirts.

·         I arranged for two live and two video musical presentations as outreach to the community and publicity for our church.

·         I am concerned that our business meetings are not well attended, although we always have a quorum.

·         Only a small percentage of our church participated in a survey intended for us to evaluate the health of our church. Results showed that we were borderline unhealthy.

·         The physical things done are necessary and greatly appreciated: Ron, Lora, Darrel, Mary running our sound system, on-screen information, microphone use, video presentations; others serving the Lord’s supper; pre-Sunday school presentations by Tim; Sunday School teachings by Ron, Cynthia, and Darrel; recording of income to the church, changing the church sign. Without all of this volunteer work, our church would not run very smoothly. Thank you every one!

We have attempted outreach  to youth primarily through Sunday School, Children’s Church, Vacation Bible School, and Trunk and Treat.  In 2015, our VBS topic was the 7Cs of History based on Answers in Genesis material. Last year, due to limited adult availability, we planned and advertised an “Afternoon with Dinosaurs” Biblically- based program with videos, games, and prizes. Only one child came. This year, we attempted to cooperate with East Sedalia, but it never worked out.  They already had their program decided on and didn’t seem to need help. 

The Gills provided a great welcome banner to add to our professional trade show booth we use as our Information Center to keep everyone updated on what is going on.  We also provide a table of materials of various types for general information.  This seems to be working very well, by the way. Our calendar, my sermons, and a current slide show are part of our media outreach on our website broadwaybaptistsedalia.org. Cynthia keeps the site current.

When we look around, we know our church attendance consists primarily of older adults. Morning attendance has increased, which is encouraging. We don’t use the Pentecostal style of worship with loud, repetitive music, much of which is performance rather than worship.  The fact is that many churches are full of the younger people using this method. We’re not. 

Some of our Southern Baptist churches are using this method to draw younger people.  Some are not, like us.  Some churches have two different services each Sunday, one traditional like ours and the second in the Pentecostal style. The Methodist church on 32nd street has five or more services.  I don’t know if churches using Pentecostal types of services are teaching from the Bible. Our church is able to sing with or without accompaniment and is willing to sing the old hymns and learn new songs. We don’t need to be entertained, but we are not drawing in youth or young adults.

Where do we go from here? How do we begin our next 50 years? The motto on our bulletin every Sunday is “Come to Worship--Leave to Witness.” I need your help in ideas of what we should do about our outreach if we really plan to fulfill that goal.  These are some of my ideas:

·         It goes without saying that I will continue to prayerfully prepare and deliver sermons every Sunday to educate people Biblically and truthfully. Last Sunday, the message was a truthful history lesson—perhaps a bit too long—but necessary to learn that our nation was founded on Christian principles.

·         I am obligated to teach you the truth in many areas so we can fulfill the Great Commission and our church Mission Statement.

·         I would like to contact our local surrounding youth. I have asked our building contractor to put up a new basketball goal as he has a source for the best price of one and is willing to install it. I know in the past the light was broken by a basketball, but that is a small price to pay to do the Lord’s work.  We could talk to youth while they’re shooting hoops. Possibly a regular basketball program for neighborhood youth could be made at some specific day each week.

·         Perhaps we need to consider trying again to have our own Vacation Bible School next year.

·         We need to continue our Trunk and Treat program as a visible outreach to the community. We have outstanding booklets from Chick Publications at 17¢ each, a very inexpensive tool to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and the fallacy of celebrating Halloween.

·         Mary is reactivating the choir, and Cynthia and Madison are planning a youth musical group.

·         We have brochure holders that can be put out in businesses with our church brochures.

·         We have door hangers inviting people to church.

·         We list our faith-based counseling ministry, but people who could benefit from it—people in our church, their families and friends--are not using it. You need to tell others about it.

·         Although we have a large amount of printed tools to assist in personal witnessing, I don’t see a great rush to pick them up.  The new booklets on the table by the door are designed to do the witnessing for you if you feel uncomfortable in trying to learn how to verbally witness to others.  These are labeled by category.

·         I talk sometimes about attendance—low or high. But attendance is really not only about numbers. We need to get more people coming to our church so they can hear the Gospel and accept Christ as their Savior.

·         I would like to see excitement, enthusiasm, and a zeal for bringing people to the Lord by inviting them to our church.

What are your ideas?

  • How can we get more people involved in our church activities and programs?
  • Would a Facebook account be a good outreach tool?
  • Our church needs re-vitalization. Any ideas?
  • How can we increase our enthusiasm, excitement, and zeal for the Lord’s work?
  • What is the best way to reach neighborhood youth for the Lord?
  • How do we get people to come to evening Bible studies, worship services, or prayer meetings?
  • Should we change the way we do “church” (Sunday morning worship)?
  • Do you prefer the educational videos or mini-sermons and sing-a-longs on Sunday evening?

Let’s all give these ideas and questions prayerful consideration and thought. Please help me revitalize our church into an enthusiastic group on fire for the Lord, ready to be like the church in Philadelphia and keep His commands and not like the Laodicean church which was lukewarm.

Most of you are familiar with The Great Commission of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20.

I close with an adaptation of another of His commands in Acts 1:8.

You will be my witnesses in Sedalia, and in all Pettis County and Missouri, and to the ends of the earth.

 

THE INVITATION

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.

      Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.

      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.

      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.

                     In Your name I pray, Amen.