I shared a few weeks ago about my adventures in coaching flag football, of having no idea what I was doing, no instruction from the league, drawing plays on my hand and then other teams coaches coming with their ipads color coded flip charts, etc. But I want to tell you the rest of the story of the Fighting Grasshoppers. Yes, that was our name. We didn’t want to be the second or third team in the league named the Bulldogs or Falcons. We liked Grasshoppers but felt it needed to be a little meaner so we added “Fighting” to it.
We had a great group of kids that wanted to have fun. We got blown out the first and second game. Got our act together for the third game and won it, and the next two games we lost each by just a couple points. We were 1-4 and kept telling the kids to work hard and they did, and the coaches kept working hard to figure things out. The playoffs came around and we started the game off with a couple touchdowns and were up at the half. Kids were saying I can believe we are winning! We won the first game and went to round two of the playoffs. We won that game as well and made it to the championship game. Kids were ecstatic and having so much fun. We did get creamed by the best team in the league that hadn’t lost all season and really didn’t even have a close game. Sorry this wasn’t a movie script ending!
But it was a great lesson for the kids. They kept working hard and trying to get better. They were working as a team, not letting egos or personal preferences get in the way, and they got better and better.
The thing with being a team is that you are able to do things as a team that you can’t do as an individual and you need each part working toward the same goal. This is really the key to developing a good team. Having people know what they are supposed to be doing.
Our mission as a church is to exalt Jesus Christ. We want others to know him. We want others to know his love. We want them to know how relevant and impacting his teaching is. We want others to know how we are helped by it. That requires people joining/committing together for that purpose.
We value membership. It should mean something. It is a way to express I’m not just attending here. I am committing to being a part of this, to support others, help the body. Committing to make a difference with others.
A word on commitment. I hear millennials don't like commitment. I don't think that is anything new for the human race. Its human nature to want to do as little as possible and get by.
Don't commit to everything. But commit to the things that are important. Your richest experience in life will come when you are committed to something.
Marriage is a commitment. Amanda and I are there for each other. She trusts me and I trust her. We don't live in fear of what the other might do. We don’t hide our emotions and feelings, concerns or hold back ourselves for fear that the other might not be around. We are all in! We made a commitment. We actually quoted Ruth 1 in our vows,
But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." (Ruth 1:16-17 NIV)
Church membership is not equated to getting married. You will probably be a part of multiple churches by the end of your life. But when you are in one, go all in. If or when you change churches, get involved in a new one and jump into a place of serving without anyone ever asking you. Churches need committed members. We need to be committed to gether. We need to be all in.
Vince Lombardi said,
“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”
“Individual commitment to a group effort that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
“Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while... you do them right all the time.”
The Bible says it like this,
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (1 Cor 12:14-20 ESV)
One body. Many parts. Great diversity. Great connectivity. A body needs arms, hands, feet, nose, eyes. It needs them. It depends on them. What good is a hand if it only works part of the time. What good is a leg if it doesn’t show up on the week it was suppose to serve. We are a body. a corpus. A hand is no good without the body. Peter reminds us we are not isolated individual stones but together we form a larger spiritual house. (1Pe 2:5 ESV)
We all need to come together, commit to the same goal, and we will get more done together than individually. Corporations are composed of many people working towards a common goal. That is what we are as a church. This is what we need to be. We need to be committed.
We want to work together to exalt Christ. As we come together as a team with different people doing different things the effect will be greater results than each of us working independently. The christian life is hard and takes resolve; the same is true for a church. We want to build a church, we want to reach others and that takes effort. We are not spectators but an army. An army that fights with truth and love.
Commitment to the church (to Bridgeway) means committing to five things.
● Personally Following Christ.
This is the first and foremost thing of being a Christian, we have trusted in Christ. He is our Lord, our Savior. We are looking to him to deliver us from the hardships of life. He’s our Lord that we submit to and follow his ways. It is the most basic thing for our church. We all have to do this.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:1-4 NIV)
The church is nothing more than a group of people trying to follow Christ. Its nothing without each person following Christ.
What would a football team be if no one worked out personally. If no one trained. They would be completely unprepared. Great teams begin with great personal effort. It is the same for us in the church. It begins with everyone taking seriously their walk with the Lord. If we do not have this we will not have anything else. No class, no program, no initiative will make up for a lack of personal desire for Jesus Christ. This is why as we replant the church we have to ask the question of what has or is changing in your own life. It begins with you worshipping Jesus in your own life.
To live under God’s gracious and authoritative rule as recorded in Holy Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
To live a holy life in accordance with my death to sin and resurrection to new life, which I have experienced by faith in Christ (Romans 6:1-4).
Personally following Christ requires personally reading God’s word, praying. Are you in God’s word. Are you serving Christ? Consider the climate of a church when no one is in the Word. It is spiritually dry. When we read the word we are elevating the spiritual climate of our church. We need that!
● Participating in Community.
You need to be sharpened. You need to be strengthened. You need to help others do the same. Yes, that happens in your personal quiet times, but you also have to be around other people. Fellowship. Praying, studying, talking, serving together with others. You can’t do those things if you are not spending time with people. We need to go deeper in our walk with God. A part of that is going deeper with those around us.
We are instructed to meet regularly as God’s people and warned of the dangers of not doing that. (Acts 2:42-47, Heb 10:24-25).
We also have to move past superficial relationships. Move past talking about the weather. Move past football. Are those parts of life to talk about. Yes, absolutely. But if that is all we talk about we are missing out on so much. Ask good questions of others. Get to know them. You have Facebook and social media for the superficial.
Talk about the Word or what God is doing. Talk about what is going on in life. Share the hard parts. When parenting is hard, share your hopelessness, frustration, anger. Ask for help! Ask for prayer, for Scripture. The only way you develop meaningful relationship is if share and discuss meaningful parts of your life.
One of the biggest lies that people tell themselves that cuts them off from community is “no one understands me.” That is not true. Sometimes that lie comes from the devil and sometimes it comes from our own immaturity. 1 Cor 10:13, “no temptation has seized me except what is common to man.”
To gather regularly with the people of God in this church family for worship, preaching, prayer, communion, fellowship, and edification (Galatians 4:4-7; Hebrews 3:12-14, 10:24-25; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 1 Peter 4:10-11; Isaiah 2:3; Psalm 99).
We want people connect regularly. Yes, that includes sunday services. But also gather in smaller groups where you can really know people. Get in a Life Group if you have not already. This elevates our spiritual climate. Guys, lead in this. Lead your family. You need to be in a context you are talking about your faith and your life.
To preserve the unity of the Spirit by loving others and pursuing peace as befits the family of God (Matthew 5:9; Ephesians 4:1-6, 32, 5:1-2; Galatians 5:13-15; Philippians 2:1-11; Hebrews 12:14).
Commitment to fellowship means a commitment to work through issues. Hurt and disappointment happens when imperfect people get together. Where you have people you have problems. It is a great opportunity for growth. I don’t want to be a perfect church because it would rob you of the chance to grow in loving others, showing mercy.
Jesus unites people of different backgrounds by seeing that he and what he calls us to is greater than our differences of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographical location, neighborhood. Then should he be greater than the differences we have. If we abandon his church and his mission because of differences with others then it shows how little we really think of Christ.
To pursue loving care and discipline of the members of this church if they stray from Christ and to submit to the same discipline should I stray from Christ (Matthew 18:15-20).
Serving: we want people serving. Yes, we need spots filled, but more than that it connects with the body. It connects with the team. It positions you to serve other people.
● Making Disciples
Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations. That’s a command for for every Christian. We want each person doing this. We need each person doing this. It’s not optional.
To seek and maintain Gospel ministry for the salvation of all people locally, nationally, and globally (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:6-8).
I heard recent statistics recently that the average baptist church as “2.5 baptisms for every 100 active members, while SBC churches 10 years or younger, recent plants, average 10.8 baptisms per 100 active members.” Four times the number of people reached. Why is that?
People settle, grow comfortable. They lose excitement, the push for reaching others. In talking with church plants I have seen an eagerness of the people to leave everything they have, start over, and say we are going to help reach this area for Christ. You don’t have to go on a plant to have that mentality.
Find ways to love others. They are not just projects. We love as Christ loved us. And when people ask what’s going on in your life do you share what you learned in your quiet time? Do you share how encouraging church service was? Do we live in a way that shows an eagerness for God, for his word, for him?
We are not trying to make disciples of just those outside our church. We want a culture of discipleship. Older men investing in younger. Older couples investing into younger couples. Invite someone to lunch and get to know them. We want to disciple the young people in the church.
We need to encourage one another in this. We met as elders on Monday night and we are trying to encourage each other in this. It was great hearing one of the guys share how he is in the most secular workplace he has ever been in, and he was hoping to have a quick lunch and get back to work, but he went into the break room and happened to see a guy there sitting by himself. He knew the guy has had trouble connecting with others. Instead of having the quick lunch he went over and sat with the guy. They started talking and before you knew it a conversation about politics came up and that led to conversation about religion. Break that HR code! Its small beginnings. We need to be pushing and encouraging each other. Look for meaningful moments in ordinary life.
● Giving Toward the Mission.We are to give toward God’s mission. We give our time, talent, and energy.
To give my time, talents, and financial resources as God provides for the building up of this church, the relief of the poor, and the proclamation of the Gospel both here and abroad (1 John 3:16-18; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Acts 2:42-47).
Serve in the church. Use your gifts or develop your gifts by serving in the church. We need everyone contributing on a Sunday team. Part of being a member is serving on a Sunday team.
Give financially. Scripture teaches a principle of tithing, of giving ten percent of your income. That supports the church’s ministry. We want to do that.
Not about dollars. Not about my pastoral dreams. It’s about the people here passionate about Jesus Christ and wanting others to know the goodnews that has changed your life! It’s about loving, serving, giving as much as you can, not just giving or serving where it’s convenient. Are you giving your all.
“For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." (Luk 21:4 ESV)
Are you comfortable in what you are giving financially, of your time, of your energy? What does your life say about your priorities? What does your schedule your bank account say is important? Are you all in?
Our membership agreement we also want to highlight a couple other things. We want you able to follow the elders of the church as they lead. We want you in faith to support the constitution and by laws and statement of faith.
To follow the elders of this church as they follow Christ in his Word, considering their teaching and lives in light of Holy Scripture (Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; Hebrews 13:7, 17).
To support the Church’s Constitution and Bylaws and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
We also want you to commit to leaving the church in a good manner. Letting the elders know and we want you to commit to finding another church to attend when you leave. Part of the way we can help advance the gospel global is teaching a good understanding of the church so that when you leave, so that when you kids go to college, you know the important place of church and you get involved. I remember being in college ministry and one of the most impressive things I saw was a college student who got to school and while friends were spending the day listening to music and goofing off they were out looking for a church to commit to. That’s good discipleship! If you change churches, join a new one and get into a place of serving there without anyone having to ask you to do it.
To notify the elders of this church if I decide to cease formal membership here and to continue in membership and these practices elsewhere so that I might carry out similar Gospel ministry with a new church family (Hebrews 10:24-25).
● Serving Sacrificially.
It is not about doing this things when it is easy or convenient. We are not going to be a church that is easy to stay uninvolved in. Jesus didn’t die so church members could live comfortably.
If you want to have an impact on the world you are going to have to sacrifice for it. It will take time. It will take energy. It will take risks. No one ever built anything great with minimal commitment. No great achievement came because it was easy. If you want to build something great it takes sacrifice. We gather together today in an organization in which the founding members all gave their lives for it. And we want to serve when it is convenient.
You might have to show up early. You might have to stay late. You might have to give things up. That should not surprise you. We are not about a 1hr performance but a life of sacrifice. He said if you want to save your life you will lose it.
What does revival at Bridgeway look like. It looks like a group of people loving Jesus more than the world, more than their own comfort, more than ease. A group of people that are giving their lives for him, not just their leftovers.
We are getting by as a church. I want us to thrive as a church. It takes everyone stepping up. I was reading in Chronicles about David and his mighty men. David was exalted and conquered because he had guys who were willing to go out and fight in impossible odds (300 to 1), men who would cross enemy lines for a drink of water. They demonstrated great sacrifice for David, we want to do the same. We want people that doing hard things to honor Christ, talking to people in impossible situations, giving sacrificially. People who are committed and doing great things to make Christ known.
We need some people to step up. Make a commitment to getting the survey out. Go get 100 people to take it. Go start that evangelistic Bible study in your neighborhood. Commit to a discipleship group. Make a huge contribution to the church. We are limited on resources. I want to do more. Lets think big for how God can use our church, and lets live big.