Casting the Vision for Our Future

Acts 2:41 – 47

The vision for the type of church God calls us to be is clearly set forth in the very first description of the Church after Pentecost in Jerusalem. We are called to be a “Second Chapter of Acts Church” . . .

41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:41-47

The good news is that our church mission statement speaks to much of what the infant church sought to be as it experienced the power of the Holy Spirit and grew in the fellowship of knowing Christ …
The Nineteenth Street Baptist Church exists to meaningfully share God’s grace through Christ-centered worship, Biblical instruction, prayer, nurturing fellowship, and caring acts. We, through the power of the Holy Spirit, proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ locally and globally.

As we pursue visionary change, we must be the kind of body of Believers that genuinely shares in the love of Christ. The starting point for visionary transformation …

* To covenant with each other to always embody Christ-like behavior toward one another in word, attitude, and actions, and to serve as active models of God’s love and grace for our entire church family and the world.

34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Our commitment to the effort of transition (changing our methods and patterns) opens up the opportunity for the blessings of God to be at work in transforming us into a body of believers that is achieving its full Kingdom potential. We must prayerfully seek, and be open to, the new possibilities that God has planned for us. Remembering that the message of the Gospel never changes, but the methods of sharing and experiencing it are always changing.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you”. Matthew 7:7
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Colossians 2:10 calls us to be “Complete in Christ.” We begin to become complete in Him when we make these elements of our spiritual lives central priorities:

In Worship we look up as we exalt our Heavenly Father.
In Discipleship we look to Jesus as our example.
In Ministry we look to the world as we serve.
In Stewardship we look inward as we give of ourselves.
In Fellowship we look toward one another as the Body of Christ.

Worship defines us …
Everything we do as a church is validated by the fact that we worship God. We will be revitalized and strengthened as a church as we understand that our worship of the Father must be Spirit led, and Christ centered.

A Vision for Worship
* We will establish our commitment to prayerfulness, preparation, presence, and Christ centered purpose so that … praise and worship will always be offered with excellence.
* The Biblical authenticity and strength of every worship service will be a bold and compelling testimony of God’s grace and power. Every worship service will be our most important worship service.
Praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved Acts 2:47

Empowered worship declares our victory in Christ. Joyful worship delights God. Reverent worship humbles us before God. Praise in our worship invites God’s presence. Excellence in worship honors God.

Discipleship is the call beyond “comfortable Christianity.” Every bold and significant action of the church occurs when men and women genuinely, actively, seek to be like Jesus. A church is blessed and empowered when discipleship is a central purpose and value.
12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14
Discipleship is the walk we begin “up the aisle.” We follow Him, and grow in Him to live like Him.

A Vision for Discipleship
* Each of us will seek to bear the Fruit of The Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23
* Through prayer, and Biblical instruction, each member will be encouraged in discerning and engaging their specific Spiritual Gifts.

Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4
* Our emphasis in evangelism and church growth will be in seeking conversions to Christ.
* Members will be well equipped for effective and compassionate witnessing.
* Our prayer ministries, and opportunities for prayer, will significantly increase that we might become a Church “saturated” in prayer.

Isaiah 56:7 My House shall be called a house of prayer for all people.
* Our Prayer Service will be intentionally revitalized to be an essential part of our lives as disciples of Jesus.
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7

Every Christian is called to Ministry …
10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

A Vision for Ministry

* All members will be personally encouraged to be active in the ministries of our church. Always seeking God’s guidance as to where they will be most effective in serving.
* Our ministries will consolidate, and gather around common efforts, planning accordingly, in order to prevent discord and repetition of efforts.
* We will always seek ways as a church to have ever increasing impact in the world while always being centered in the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Stewardship is always about relationship …
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

While we are no longer under the weight of the Law, the tithe is the Biblical model that God has promised to honor.

A Vision For Stewardship
* The tithe of time, talent, and treasure will be the minimal goal set by those in leadership as an encouraging example to the entire body.
* Christ centered financial tools and skills will be shared and taught to empower the membership.
* The giving of tithes, gifts, and offerings will be the sole means of meeting expenses, as well as sustaining and expanding ministry.

Fellowship, (Koinonia) can be the most compelling witness that the Holy Spirit uses for a church’s meaningful growth and empowerment.
One of our most effective evangelism strategies is to bear witness that our fellowship in Christ is evident in every facet of our lives, in our pursuits, in our joy, our laughter, and recreation.
For in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28(a)

A Vision For Fellowship
* There will be no “us” or “them” in Christ’s church. Our different experiences and perspectives will not be barriers to fellowship in Christ.
* We will be intentional in extending ourselves and establishing relationships in our surrounding community and beyond.
* We will commit to finding opportunities beyond Sunday morning to be the Body of Christ.