Are you nervous? are you excited? are you scared?-someone just asked me today. Yes, yes, and yes! Our grand opening is just two and half weeks away, and we are looking forward to what God will do in this new ministry.
As we plan and prepare for the church opening and in essence for the next years of our life, we obviously have several goals that we hope to accomplish. However, there are two foundational tasks that keep on surfacing as the platform upon which everything else must be built if we want to encounter biblical success.
First, the Preaching of the Word. It may sound simplistic and perhaps too obvious, but it is exceptionally important. You see, in our baptist world, not every sermon is a biblical sermon and not every preacher preaches the Word. Sadly, in battling many doctrinal fronts we have forsaken the faithful preaching of God's Word. One of my seminary professors recently said, "in many cases, most of the content of our 'preaching' is not different from what other religions may also agree with: good families, conservative citizens, faithful husbands, stand against divorce, abortion, homosexuality, etc." I want my sermons to be Bible-based, not principle-based. In contrast with all other world religions, we preach Christ and His words. I must carefully examine whether my sermon is mine, or the detailed interpretation of the text. I must not preach morals, principles, religious tenets or conservative stands, I must preach the Word. I must not take a verse out of context. I must not be lazy in my sermon preparation. I must not lack the anointing of the Holy Spirit that only comes through prayer before I preach.
I believe that salvation of lost souls, social transformation, church growth, and missional endeavors can only be accomplished successfully through the accurate interpretation of the Bible. I believe that the success of our church plant is based on the careful exposition of the Word of God. In other words, as we expose our people to what the Bible really means, the Holy Spirit then will do the rest in ways that we cannot even fathom.
Second, the Training of Men. I like investing my money. Every month we set aside a certain amount to save and invest. The nice thing about investing is that throughout the years it does not only add the monthly payment, but even better, it creates capital gain and compounds along with dividends! At the end of my ministry I don't want to only see "my years in the ministry," but rather a multiplication of men. I strongly believe that the training needs to be both practical and academic. We want to train men in doctrine so that they can teach other men. It is only when faithful men are teaching sound dcotrine that God raises up men for ministry. Our church plant cannot be a one-man show. Of course at the beginning of the church, things will work in a unique manner. However, our aim is to never be comfortable with the status-quo. We want more. We want to train more. We want to produce more. We want to sow more. We want to help more. We want to teach more, and then some.
Please pray for the grand opening. Please pray for the people to show up! But above all, please pray that at Abundant Grace Church the preaching of the Word is central, and the multiplication of men is accomplished. For the sake of the Gospel, and to the glory of God.