Zig Zigglar has raised a challenging thought: “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit your target every time.”
As individuals, as a family, as a church … at what are we aiming?
Having a vision target to aim at and move toward is mission critical for a healthy, thriving organization as it aligns thinking, efforts, and creates a sense of team and synergy as a Body of believers. Intentional planning and targeted ministry is not something new, we see it throughout scripture. Matthew wrote his book to a largely Jewish audience while Luke sought to capture the attention of Gentile hearts with the power of the Gospel. Paul traveled to specific cities to plant mission churches and wrote letters to particular congregations and people needing guidance. He preached to all people, yet intentionally focused his ministry to making a difference among a Gentile audience. Jesus Himself—to fulfill scripture—aimed His words and ministry to reach the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but yet His grace and mercy poured out on the cross spilled over into all nations and peoples, including us. Praise God for that (see Matthew 15:21-28, John 3:16-17)!
Jesus’ purpose (or target) is clear: To seek and save that which is lost.
I encourage you to take a moment to consider your target. We all know people who once were actively engaged with their faith but have since drifted from the fold. The question is, as the priesthood of believers, what are you doing about it? Engaging people with Jesus isn’t solely the responsibility of the elders, pastor, or church’s leadership; it is a Body thing! When one part of the Body suffers, the entire body suffers along with it (1 Corinthians 12:26). Have you ever stubbed your toe? Your whole body doubles-over in throbbing pain, right? So too in the Body of Christ. As one part of the Body suffers, drifts away, cuts itself off, the entire Body feels its wound, its sorrow, its anger, its pain. Questions arise:
Who has God placed in our path as a church to reach with the love of Jesus?
Who are the businesses we might work to create partnerships with for the sake of the Gospel?
How are the people in our community hurting? What are their felt needs? How might we use the ways God has blessed Redeemer to meet these felt needs?
Who are the people in our homes and church family that have drifted from a living, breathing relationship with Jesus?
Can you feel the woundedness of people? I know I do. It hurts! The leadership of Redeemer—Council, Elders, and pastor—have begun to wrestle with next steps on how we might engage these questions as we explore ways of better targeting God’s mission and ministry. A Vision Committee has formed with the goal of crafting a vision plan for the next 3-5 years at Redeemer. This will involve the entire congregation at various points through the process. Once a vision plan is crafted, we would then get to work on moving toward making this vision a reality. There are many good ideas swirling around of what “could be”, but whatever tomorrow brings, we seek to move from “good to great” and land on God’s preferred future for His church. District staff are helping to facilitate us through such a process. There are no quick, easy answers. If there were, we could package it, sell it, and make millions.
As we begin to take steps in this direction, we will clearly and repeatedly communicate with you the process and how to engage with it. To be clear, right now we are beginning steps of exploring options! Creating a vision plan will not be done in a vacuum, but will seek to involve many voices into the process. The Vision Committee hopes to have a draft plan to Council in time for discussion at our upcoming November Voter’s meeting. For more info, check out: RedeemerRolla.org/vision.
Will you join me in praying for Redeemer’s future? We stand at a crossroads as we consider our “next” as a church. God has led us through many exciting moments in recent years: Launching modern worship and KidZone ministry to better engage children and families, our journey through The Story, celebrating 40 beautiful years of mission and ministry, and renovating our Sanctuary space to better meet present and future needs. These are all wonderful things to celebrate and give thanks to God! Looking back, it is clear the Lord’s hand has been at work. What is God’s “next” for us as a church? As we seek to align the arrows and aim at a new target, I trust He will lead us toward His preferred future. Can I let you in on a little secret? God isn’t finished with us yet! What our church’s future looks like, only the Lord knows. This I do know, just as our faithful Lord has been with us in the past, He will continue to lead us toward a new, brighter tomorrow.
Redeemer is a great church! Every Sunday as we gather around God’s Word and Sacrament, I am humbled and honored to call myself an under-shepherd of the Good Shepherd’s flock named Redeemer. You are an amazing people of heart and passion for the Lord, who seek to do and follow God’s will, a people who willingly serve and give again and again and again … and again. Your kindness and generosity are unparalleled. I cannot thank God enough for each of you! You are a true gift to me!
So let us join our hearts and hands as His Body in prayer as we consider God’s “next”. Let us continue to gather, grow, and go in our relationship with Jesus. Let us seek the Author and Perfector of our faith. In the words of Paul:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9 NIV)
Aiming toward Jesus!