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Tell the world we preach the Word!

October 31, 2014 Leave a comment

Church growth is on my mind this month. Not growth for growth’s sake but building our base to be able to make a difference in our community. The reality is that a church will not rise above the level of its pastor’s preaching. The pastor is the key ingredient in turning around a church. If there was nothing else to offer here, you should feel comfortable telling others, “come hear” what our pastor teaches.

 

Consider God’s vision of the valley of dry bones. Ezekiel saw the valley filled with dead men’s bones and asked, “can these bones ever live again.” God’s answer was, “Start preaching!” (Ezek 37:9) As he continued preaching, the bones took on flesh and began to breathe again. Ezekiel asked God what to do next. God replied, “Keep on preaching.” (Ezek 37:12) So he continued preaching and the valley of people became a marching army.

 

Let me be clear that I don’t see a church turnaround solely as the responsibility of the pastor. What I do see is that when there is sound biblical preaching from the pulpit, that is, the word of God delivered as God wants, then restoration is possible. I have heard two different comments since I’ve been here, “I hope he’s not discouraged because there aren’t many people” and “he preaches like there’s a full church”. Ezekiel preached to a valley of dry bones. I preach on behalf of God and the attendance does not impact this. Here are some things I believe about preaching:

 

Preaching that turns churches around is Biblical

When people come to church they want to find it necessary to open their Bibles and dig in! A sermon that breathes life into a congregation is one that is filled with constant references to the text and its principles. Though most preachers are preaching the Bible, not all churches are coming alive. There are more ingredients in Biblical preaching that must be there as well.

 

Preaching that turns churches around must be relevant

My task is to give out more than Biblical information. I believe God wants me to make sure that the Biblical principles I share are the ones the people need in their everyday lives, not answering questions that nobody else but preachers are asking.

 

Preaching that turns churches around is understandable

A preacher who preaches over the heads of his people isn’t smart. He just has bad aim. My job is to communicate the truth so that the people will be able to obey God’s word.

 

Preaching that turns churches around is passionate

I’ve heard too many preachers who preach with all the enthusiasm of reading a two-week old newspaper. Our message is the best news the world has ever heard. It is a high privilege to preach the most exciting Book in the world. I ask two questions each time I preach: “Do I really believe what I am about to say.” Second, “Is what I am about to say really important?” It must be a message from one person’s heart directed to another’s heart.

 

We are all part of the solution in growing our church. I will do my best to deliver the kind of preaching I’ve described. Then we’ve all got to get the word out that we have something to say here that is worth coming for.

 

Blessings,

Pastor Rich

 

 

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Categories: Uncategorized

Company is Coming

October 3, 2014 Leave a comment

As we move into the final three months of the year, we begin to think of the holidays. Holidays usually mean folks coming over to visit, share a meal or celebrate with us. What do we do when we know company is coming over? If yours is anything like the Holt household, this means straightening up the living room, planning meals and arranging furniture so that people will feel comfortable and welcome when they arrive.   We need to look at reaching out into our community the same way. Outreach is meeting the needs of our community while expressing God’s love in ways that build relationships and provide opportunities to share God’s plan of salvation. It’s important to our church because it is important to God and that makes it important to every Christian for the following reasons:

  • Outreach was commanded by Christ. Before His ascension, Jesus told the disciples that their impact on the world should start in their city and expand its influence into the entire world (Matthew 28.19; Acts 1:8; 2 Peter 3:9).
  • Outreach is necessary for growth. Worship, discipleship, and serving are important, but if you never progress to the next stage of maturity by reaching out to others, you will be spiritually lacking and incomplete. A living church is reproducing, while a dying church has no heart or burden for the lost in their community. (Matthew 9:9-12).
  • Outreach both glorifies and pleases God. The Bible tells us that doing God’s work is like a tree bearing a lot of fruit. Jesus told us that God is glorified when we bear fruit by reaching out to others (John 15:8; 1 Timothy 2:3–4).
  • Outreach results in God’s blessing and favor on your life. The Bible is very clear that God intends to bless those whose hearts are focused on reaching out to lost and hurting people. God clearly affirms those who share His passion and heart for reaching out to those who do not know Him (Genesis 12:1–3; Luke 6:38).
  • Outreach requires synergy. Loving our community and world will require individual and organizational cooperation. It calls each of us to set aside our individual preferences and combine our time, talents, and treasures (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

As we move into the fall season, won’t you join me in looking around our home (church) and asking ourselves if I invite folks over, will this be the kind of place they will want to come back to? Is this the kind of sermon that is attractional? Is this the kind of music that will encourage new people to join us? We know we want to reach out to our community but we should be thoughtful on how to make whatever efforts we do produce fruit for the Kingdom. Let me know your ideas this month. Drop me an email (Richard.holtedd@gmail.com) or even a note in the collection plate. What would you suggest to make us more attractive to the world?   Company is coming. We are going to start inviting folks left and right and we want our house to be the spiritual home that people need. Where can we start?

Pastor Rich

Categories: Uncategorized