Faithlife Sermons

Where Are We Going?

Ask The Pastor #5  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Romans 15:18–21 ESV
For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”

Where are we going?

Really, this is up to you. I can see great things for Fairlawn but, you have to see it. You have to be willing to do it. That’s why we have a mission statement

A Family of Believers, Grounded in Faith and Committed to Serve!

Are Mission Statements Biblical?

Are we doing a biblical and God-honoring thing by spending eight months laboring over a mission and vision statement? Consider first . Paul talks about his ministry—his mission, or vision of God's call on his life.
I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed.
So notice how Paul stresses that his ministry is what Christ has worked through him. It is not some self-started, self-designed, self-sustained mission. It is the very work of Christ, continued through Paul. He continues in this vein in verse 19:
. . . in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
So he continues to emphasize that his mission is not in his own power. It is God who works signs and wonders; it's the Holy Spirit who gave him the power to preach the gospel fruitfully from Jerusalem to Bosnia.
But now look what he says about the role of his own mind—his own planning and intentionality in this God-designed, Spirit-sustained mission. Verses 20–21:
Romans 15:20–21 ESV
and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”
And thus I aspired [literally: "it was my ambition"] to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man's foundation; 21 but as it is written, "THEY WHO HAD NO NEWS OF HIM SHALL SEE, AND THEY WHO HAVE NOT HEARD SHALL UNDERSTAND."
And thus I aspired [literally: "it was my ambition"] to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man's foundation; 21 but as it is written, "THEY WHO HAD NO NEWS OF HIM SHALL SEE, AND THEY WHO HAVE NOT HEARD SHALL UNDERSTAND."
Notice two things. One is that Paul had a clear aim in view as he carried out his mission. He did not get up every morning and say,
"Jesus I have no idea what my mission is today; please tell me."
He had an ambition—a mission statement—"to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named." That was his goal. It guided his strategy and shaped the meaning of his life. It was his passion to make Christ known among peoples who had never heard the gospel.
Secondly, notice that he built this personal mission on Scripture. Verse 21 is a quote from .
As it is written, 'They who had no news of him shall see, and they who have not heard shall understand.'
So Paul took a passage of Scripture written about the Messiah and the ministry of Christ, and found in it a God-ordained application to his own situation and built his personal mission on it.
Not everybody was called to do what Paul did with this Scripture. Timothy was called to stay and minister in Ephesus. Titus was called to stay in Crete. But Paul had a focus and a call and a mission and he could state it: "I make it my ambition to preach the gospel not where Christ has already been named."
From this and other examples in the Bible I conclude that praying about and thinking about and writing mission statements is a biblical thing to do. The work should be rooted in Scripture and should be done in such reliance on the Holy Spirit that we can say, "I will not speak of anything except what Christ has wrought through me."
Ephesians 4:11–16 ESV
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

I believe Fairlawn is the place you come to feel like family.-Family of Believers

I believe Fairlawn could become the place to go if you want to grow in your faith.-Grounded in Faith

I believe Fairlawn can become the place you go to be sent out on mission.-Committed to Serve

We will not grow our church to the size of a city. We will grow our city by sending people out of our church.

How? How do we get there?

We get there by making all that we do about making disciples.

not converts
We provide a place where there are
pathways for people to gather in
pathways for them to grow in
pathways for them to go in.

We will provide “Next Steps” for discipleship and growth.

Instead of expecting growth in numbers of people, we will expect growth in people themselves.

Once that growth occurs, we will fulfill our vision statement.

“Be A Gospel Witness!”

What exactly does that mean?
Represent Christ
Declare Christ
Follow Christ

Where will Fairlawn be in 2-5 years?

We will be right where we follow Christ to.

We must Love One Another-John 13:34
John 13:34 ESV
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
Outdo One Another in Showing Honor-Rom. 12:10
Romans 12:10 ESV
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Be Good Stewards of God’s Varied Grace-1 Peter 4:10
1 Peter 4:10 ESV
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
We Must Grow in the Fullness of Christ-Eph. 4:13
Ephesians 4:13 ESV
until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
“Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.”—Deitrich Bonhoffer
Gallaty, Robby. Growing Up (p. 29). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Our ability to make disciples will dictate where we will be in 2-5 years.

When all the parts are working “just as He wanted,” then the body is healthy. Disciple making is about helping individuals develop to their full potential for Christ and His kingdom.
Earley, Dave. Disciple Making Is . . . (p. 191). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Healthy churches grow healthy people that grow healthy churches.

Covenant Community

When people are simply involved for their own benefit they do not hesitate to cheat, manipulate, and exert power over others to advance their own self-interests.
But when people covenant with one another and with God, they establish “new shared duties and rights that nourish life with other meanings, . . . established by a higher authority”
Lingenfelter, Sherwood G.. Leading Cross-Culturally (p. 74). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Read the Church Covenant

Coach vs. Star Player

My Vision for Fairlawn is that we would all be part of the team.

The expectation of Jesus and Paul was for every believer to make disciples—not some, not many, not most, but all believers. Being a Christian and making disciples are inseparable.
Gallaty, Robby. Growing Up (p. 29). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

We will grow as a church when we experience more Christ in our church.

We experience more Christ in our church when there are more disciples in our church.

How will you help get involved in bringing more Christ into our church?

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