Focusing on the Future

Peninsula Community Church

January 6, 2013

A Focus on the Future 

This morning I want us to focus on some of the goals we have as a church for this year. I want to remind some and inform others that our mission statement is “PCC exists to turn irreligious people into Christians and Christians into fully devoted followers of Christ.” For me, when we speak of irreligious people we are talking about the non-churched and those who have not committed their lives to Christ. If that is our vision then what we do as a church must be focused on bringing the non-churched into the church and the nonbeliever to Christ.That is why each event we host always has as it’s primary function the invitation to bring new folks into the church to expose them to a church that is not hung up on legalism and false teaching but also a church that is preaching the Word; without compromise or apology. It is for that reason, we encourage you to share your faith with others.

As we consider the goals for PCC, let us focus on Habakuk’s writings in Habakuk 2:2-3. He stated, And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.  

This passage has much to teach us about vision and while I cannot share in great depth let me make a couple of observations about this passage that will help your understanding. The first thing to notice is the vision God gave to Habakkuk came from a time of prayer and seeking God. Too often churches make drastic changes to how they function and do church without ever spending time in prayer. Habakkuk knew he had been called to be the leader but he also knew that he best leadership would come from praying and seeking God for His direction. Through Him God sent a vision to the people of Israel. While God speaks through the leadership of the church God, the leadership must never lapse into a spirit of pride where they reject anyone being able to hear from God for the future of the church. Additionally, this does not mean that others cannot be involved or should not be involved with formulating the vision but there must be a a leader or leadership who serves as a focal point to understand and cast vision. If there this does not occur, there could be multiple visions in competition with one another which can create chaos and confusion and as we know God is not the author of confusion. Know this and let me make this clear, I believe that God can use each of you to shape and mold our future and our vision here at PCC.

The second observation about the passage is the term used for vision. The Hebrew word for vision is  CHAZON which indicates “a revelation from God which is received by inward intuition.”  CHAZON represents not only the vision but it also represents the goals that it takes to bring the vision into existence. John Maxwell said this about vision. “Vision is foresight with insight based on hindsight. Vision is seeing the invisible and making it visible. Vision is an informed bridge from the present to a better future. Vision is a picture held in your mind’s eye of the way things could or should be in the days ahead. Vision connotes a visual reality, a portrait of a preferred future.” 

Let me pause for a moment and ask you “What is your vision? What are you dreaming of that is not a reality right now but you have a picture in your mind of what things could be?” Perhaps it is a family member who needs Christ. Perhaps it is a personal goal. For me, it is finishing my degree. It is seeing this building filled with new families and children who would to take the journey toward being fully devoted followers of Christ with us.

The third observation from this passage is that the CHAZON or vision was to be written plainly. This can mean two different things. For one, the vision must be written in such a way that it is easily transferred to everyone. This also means that if someone were running they could still read the vision and understand it. The goal is for the vision to be simple and it must be easy to understand. Andy Stanley has stated “vision pre-decides for us. The clearer our vision gets, the fewer things we do and the easier it is to say no. It’s gotta be simple, it’s gotta be portable, it’s gotta be repeatable. It has to be transferable. For vision to happen there must be systems in place. It is establishing these systems that can cause us the greatest problems. Sometimes the vision is simple but the systems we put in place are more complicated than they ought to be. Too often we complicate the vision that God intended to make simply. 

I remember one of the church’s where I was a staff member that we spent hours trying to figure out how to state our vision. At every staff meeting for a year we would spend hours trying wrestle with the vision. In the end, we never fully developed the vision. Why? We were trying to complicate it. If you look at most churches that are successful today, they do not have pages and pages of vision but they have one vision that they can be articulated in one or two sentences. They may have many goals to accomplish the vision but the vision is simple. Let me remind you that our vision is “PCC exists to turn irreligious people into Christians and Christians into fully devoted followers of Christ.”

The fourth observation is that the vision of God takes time to be fulfilled in its entirety. The problem we have is that we live in an instant culture where we want everything now and have lost the ability to wait patiently. In our waiting, we must not lose heart and we must not try to force the birth of a vision before its time. Remember what Isaiah 40:31 says. God gives strength to those who patiently wait for the vision to unfold. In my life there have been times where I have faced frustration because I did not think a vision or a goal had been fulfilled in the time I thought. In my frustration, I thought I could help God out and what I caused was a premature birth of the vision. Instead of being strong and healthy, the vision had to be placed on life support and often the vision died because of what I had done. However, when I have waited on God I have been amazed at the outcomes. 

With that said, let me share some goals we have for PCC for 2013. I will begin with a couple of personal goals each of us should have individually.

To begin with, I want to challenge everyone at PCC to read through the Bible this year. In the foyer you will find a read through the Bible map to help you accomplish this goal. For some, you may already have your plan in place but this will be for those who do not have a tool to help them. I encourage you to buy a notebook and after you have read the scriptures for the day, record your thoughts, the lessons learned and the actions to be taken. Share these thoughts with others so that you are growing in the Lord together.

I want to challenge everyone to make a list of people to invite to the church this year. Perhaps these are some people you have invited before but keep inviting them until they tell you to get lost or they come. Think of some new folks that you have not invited yet to join you on a Sunday for the service. One option for you is to invite them to join you for the service or special event and then take them for a slice of pizza or a lunch somewhere after the service. Be patience with those you invite and don’t use guilt or false pretenses to get them to come to the church. You see how we get people into the church is what we will have to continue to do to keep them in the church. If we use gimmicks to get people in the church, we will have to use gimmicks to keep them there. The best way to get new people into the church is to genuinely invite them and love them in the process. On the back of the insert, I have provided a place for you to list your potential invites.  

I want to challenge everyone to consider sharing your faith with at least one person per month at a minimum this year. Now, I would trust that this would become a common occurrence in your life but we must begin somewhere. Perhaps there are some people you have been praying about sharing your faith with them. If so, place their name in the area provided on the back of handout. Spend time praying for the people you have on the list. Set aside a specific time every day to say a prayer for those on your list and then look for ways to invest in their lives. Invite them to dinner. Look for a way to meet a need in their lives. Have them at your house for a game night. The opportunities are endless and the results are priceless.

I now would like to share some ministry oriented goad for the church. Let me begin with one goal that we had last year that has not come to fruition the way we thought it might. Most of you know we had a desire to launch Connect Groups this past fall but have placed that on hold for now for a number of reasons. For one, we had several of our potential leaders unable to serve at this time due to health issues, work schedules, family needs, and so forth. Although we are not officially launching the ministry I would encourage you to invite folks to your home not as a Connect Group but just as a time of fellowship and having a chance to get to know one another. This is one of those areas where we thought we were ready but we have faced many obstacles. I am convinced that at the right time God will help us launch the Connect Groups and it will be awesome. This is one of those things where we must wait for God’s appropriate moments.

Now to some goals we can achieve. I would like to see our men’s and women’s ministry revamped this year. I know Michelle could use some help in planning and executing activities for the women of our church and I could use some help with the men’s ministry. So if you are interested in providing some help see either Michelle or I and we can discuss how you can be involved. I know for me I could use someone or a group of guys that could plan some of some of our activities such as breakfasts, retreats, and outings. 

I would like to see us prepare the space in the nursery and toddler room for the future growth we are going to experience and must experience in this ministry. One of the needs we have here at PCC is to attract younger families but we will never do that if we do not have the ministries in place these families need that will lead them to consider this their church home. For example, I would like to see us finish the mural that is the nursery. We are working on the carpet reinstalled and then cleaned. We are working on getting the area staffed with trained people.

I would like to see us revamp the children’s ministry area so that we have the latest technology for them to use. I would like to see us design the room so the children would want to come to church and they would want to invite their friends. Let’s paint the walls. Let’s setup a viewing center with a wide screen monitor. 

I also believe it is time for us begin to plan a youth group ministry even though we are still about two years away from needing that. We need to plan now for what we will be later. 

There are a number of other items we have but time will not allow us to present every one of them but I have included them is a Goal Setting brochure in the foyer.

As we close let me ask you are you with me on these things? This vision cannot be just the vision of the leadership team. It must “our vision” or else it will never work. Would you join me this year? We need everyone on board to help us accomplish these tasks. I believe we can do it.

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