Faithlife Sermons

Community Changes Ministry

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Introduction

*The huge redwood trees in California are amazing. They are the largest living things on earth and the tallest trees in the world. Some of them are 300 feet high and more than 2,500 years old. You would think that trees that large would have a tremendous root system, reaching down hundreds of feet into the earth. But that is not the case. Redwoods have a very shallow root system. The roots of these trees are, however, intertwined. They are tied in with each other; interlocked. Thus, when the storms come and the winds blow the redwoods still stand.With an interlocking root system they support and sustain each other. They need one another to survive.
The picture of the longevity, beauty and survival of these trees is a picture of our community through Christ.
*The ultimate purpose of your life is the glory of God. The ultimate destination of your life is the presence of God.
The trees display God’s glory in their massive display, but they also figuratively display His presence through their roots that work together. What do I mean by that?
*Matthew 18:20 ESV For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Think about this for a second.
*If the ultimate destination of your life is the presence of God, then community has a bigger role than you ever imagined.
*If the ultimate destination of your life is the presence of God, then community has a bigger role than you ever imagined.
When we gather together, we begin a process that is designed to change our lives... in community. The roots intersect and support and through it God is glorified. But let’s be honest, community is difficult.
When we gather together on weekends, we begin a process that is designed to change our lives... in community. But let’s be honest, community is difficult.
People, sometimes, they are just jerks. They hurt us and we get upset and we decide that we are “done” with the church. We give up and we either find another church or we quit church all together.
Look, there are reasons to leave a church, but almost all of those reasons have nothing to do with whether or not you have been hurt. It has everything to do with whether or not they are honoring God or if you have the opportunity to honor God there.
And here’s the rub. By what criteria do we choose a church? What does the average person look for? Do we walk in and find out what the church does and say, “Man, we could really dig in here and serve God!” Or...
Are we looking to see if the pastor isn’t a boring speaker?
Do we check to see if the worship team has drums or plays good music? Do they play hymns?
Do we look at the facility and see what kind of fun activities we have for kids?
*Often, the reasons we have for choosing a church will determine the community we get.
*Often, the reasons we have for choosing a church will determine the community we get.
Some will choose a community for all the wrong reasons and then they wonder why the people around them don’t seem “real”. Maybe it goes back to the choice?
Most people when they read where two or three are gathered together, they get the need for community, but the second part is much more important: “in my name”
The community is called to be focused on Christ, but what do we focus on instead?
“It’s too cold in here. It’s too hot in here.”
“The music’s too loud… it’s too quiet.”
“The pastor sure does preach a long time sometimes...”
*Just because we gather in a building doesn’t mean we are the Church.
*Just because we gather in a building doesn’t mean we are the Church.
*“One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.“- A. W. Tozer
*“One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.“- A. W. Tozer
Life right? The church is called to be alive. That means breathing (this idea that prayer is spiritual breath), the body moving its limbs, walking in a God-given direction… changing lives for the sake of Christ.
Is that who the Church is today? If 80% are spectators and 20% serve, imagine having a friend where only 20% of his body worked. What would that look like? Wouldn’t that person have a difficult time living? But we are called to life! Real life...
So tonight, I know I’m talking to people who want to volunteer to serve at Rockvale / Eagleville. But I want to pick up where I left off from the interest meeting:
*In challenging the modern take on church, we must begin with the idea that community changes ministry.
What I mean by that is this: If community becomes a foundation for all of this, our perspective and language change.
For example, if we look at this with the wrong mindset, we imagine that if people join children’s ministry, it’s the children’s ministry’s “job” to watch the kids and give them a Bible lesson.
But if community is first, when I come to the church building, the church is my family and if it’s our family, we all have a responsibility to love and raise our children. As a result, Aubrey has an incredible plan to partner with parents to raise children to know Christ. And as the parents engage, their children benefit (and even the parents learn as well)
If community is first, worship is not just about a weekend gathering, worship is a way of life for everyone. It is why we are doing worship community where we help teach people to play and sing in as much as God has gifted them, so they grow and we worship God together as family rather than watching a worship set at a weekend service.
If community is first, it’s not hospitality’s “job” to welcome first time guests, but it’s the heart of the family to welcome someone new into our home.
It is why we are starting with community tables. For those who were not at the Interest Meeting, a community table is simply this:
As pastor, I will invite those who lead ministries into my home, not for a business meeting, but for prayer, a meal, a time of sharing, communion… for accountability, fellowship and encouragement. That will happen once a month.
During that same month, they will be commissioned to open their home for those who serve with them to do the same thing.
Now the table becomes the metric. Once the table is full, someone else opens up their home and the ministry now meets in two homes and they make room at the table for others coming.
And for my second meal that month, Michelle and I will pick a table to visit and will enjoy community with you.
My hope is simply this. We often say that church is not about a building, but about people. For us, we get to demonstrate this by being His church before we even have the building.
We have the opportunity to fill this area in Rockvale / Eagleville with people praying together, sharing meals together, helping each other, being the church that I believe God has always wanted us to be. The vision is big for me, because what do we think God would do if we were that committed to Him?
Ever since I was a young Christian, I have wanted to see revival in Murfreesboro. But honestly, I was naive. I imagined that all I had to do was pray hard enough and the Holy Spirit would come and He would change us.
When I look at Scripture now, I see something different.
*God offers His blessing and His presence to those who truly seek Him.
Don’t get me wrong, God may just choose to do something awesome in an unexpected way, but when people start praying, when people start putting God first in their lives, when we obey Him and seek righteousness, God shows up...
Jeremiah 29:13 ESV
13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
* ESV You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
That verse doesn’t mean if you look really hard for Him.
It means
when we settle for nothing else except His will.
When we live for nothing else except His glory
and when we share our lives to show the world His love.
I still live with the idea that revival can come.
I believe He is still looking for people who will follow Him.
I believe He is still looking at the hearts of people to see if we will put Him first
and I do not believe for a second that He remains silent when we seek Him wholeheartedly.
I believe this is when revival comes and in our lives, individually and together, we have a choice.
*Sometimes, revival comes when the heart of a single individual changes, but it also comes in a people who seek God together.
Tonight, we are starting something that I pray spreads. I pray God gives us a location and that we grow in such a way that we fill Rockvale and Eagleville with prayers and community.
Let us not imagine we can start a campus without God moving. Let us not imagine that this is more about our effort than His will and let us live in such a way that the only way this works is if He comes through.
*Let us live in such a way that our lives do not work unless God moves.
I pray for our church, that we come together, with an expectation of His presence, knowing that His Holy Spirit can use any of us at any time to bring Him glory. That is the beauty of community. That is the beauty of lives that depends on God.
So tonight, this all begins. Our community tables begin and I want to lay this all out for you real quick.
Some of you have shown interest in multiple areas and what I want to do is that even if you want to serve in multiple areas, we want you to pick one community.
So what I will do is this. I’m going to call out each ministry leader, so you can see who they are. When they go downstairs, you will find them in the hallway waiting for you.
Sit in their group. Get to know the people you are going to serve with.
If you want to help in ECCO, this is Aubrey Carroll. She really needs your help and has some incredible ideas for our children.
If you want to serve in Hospitality, this is Rylee Jernigan. She already leads a Hospitality team in Murfreesboro and will talk about her ideas for Hospitality in Rockvale/Eagleville.
If you want to be with our worship community, this is David and Jordan. They will give you their vision for making us a community of worship and your next steps.
And, finally, this is Brad. He is going to be helping us with Discipleship. We want to disciple new believers from the beginning and we will create a community of those wanting discipleship and those willing to share their time to show others Jesus. They will be outside their rooms downstairs and you are welcome to join them.
I pray as we start this journey together, that we expect God to move, that we look intently for revival because we are truly seeking God with all our hearts.
Let’s pray.
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