January 1, 2010 began a new decade of service and ministry. As I had a little time off over the Christmas and New Year Holiday, I began to reflect on the previous year and the whirlwind of activity I had personally in our family with two moves, two weddings and trying to learn a new system of church life and ministry, getting to know a new church family and settling in to the rigors of preaching at least twice a week. I found myself scrambling to get up to speed in so many areas, sometimes it was quite overwhelming quite honestly and I think there were times I felt like I was peddling a big wheel on Interstate 95! But the Lord is so good and He’s brought us through an amazingly wonderful year. As I’ve been reflecting, praying and talking to the Lord, I’ve been reminded of Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” The warning of the sage is God’s people need to seek the prophetic revelation of the Lord – if they do not, there is a tendency to just do anything and everything we want to for our own selfish agenda. He follows this warning with a promise of God’s favor and blessing to those who keep the law of God; which is a constant expectation for God’s people, even while they are waiting for further instructions from God.
The Lord is inviting us to seek His face for the vision of our future, I know very well there is a tremendous need and I have a burden to hear to the Word of the Lord as to the heading and course we are to undertake; what His vision is for what He intends for Calvary to be over the next decade and beyond. On April 26th, 2009, on the occasion of our church’s 60th anniversary, I shared with you a message called “A recipe for our future” from Mark 2:1-17. I shared with you 10 ingredients from that text that need to be present in our church life for a successful future. Recently I pulled up the podcast off the website and listened to that message again, I’ve studied my sermon manuscript and have been refreshed by the Lord for the big picture related to our future. I’ve been burdened with the need to flesh out the vision God has and incorporate ways in my communication with you to “vision cast” what God wants us to be, what God wants us to do in our mission of making disciples. This comes through much prayer both from me and our church family. Our staff has begun to pray and develop some strategic plans related to our future and we’re going to be working on this more throughout the course of this year. We’re going to have to make some hard choices related to some of what we’re currently doing, how we’re doing it, how does it fit into the scope of what the Lord has for us in the future and so on. We’ve got to evaluate what is working well and what is not; we’ve got to revitalize what is not working or drop it all together. I want to help us work smarter, not necessarily harder because I don’t want us to burn out as I know many of you are involved in multiple ministries.
The main thing I need you to be doing right now is to pray. Pray specifically that God would clearly reveal to me and to our ministry team as a whole what His vision is. Pray that God will help me communicate this vision with you and how to strategically implement it and keep us on track. Pray that we’ll not be sidetracked by things that may be good but not necessarily God’s best for Calvary. You’re going to be hearing more about visioning in the future and it’s exciting. It’s exciting to learn where God is at work in our community, in our region our country and our world. There’s a God-sized task out there and He wants us to be a part of it. The urgency of the task really has been made evident with the Haitian earthquake and the thousands of people who stepped into a Christ-less eternity. Part of the vision includes international missions opportunities. I have a date to go on a visioning trip to Moscow in April to work with two Russian churches to explore how we can help them reach their communities. I was on the phone with a missionary in France this morning discussing a project to reach difficult people and the possibility of us taking a group to France later this fall. We’ve begun to help strengthen a local church plant to help them reach Abingdon for Christ; I’ve committed to develop some exciting material related to church membership here at Calvary and what church membership is all about for a discipleship training class we’ll offer. I don’t know about you, but just dreaming about what God has in store for us charges me up and I can’t wait to experience it with you my beloved Church family. The Lord is authoring the vision and excitement is building, from my little corner of the world to yours…
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church
Subscribe to Pastor Ralph's Blog: http://pastorralphgreen.blogspot.com/