Do we wake up each morning thankful for the life God has given us? Do we thank Him for the calling He has placed on our lives? Do we thank Him for placing us where we are at this point in our lives. If we don't, we need to take a look at Rom. 9:25-28 again. God said, "I'll call nobodies and make them somebodies...God doesn't count us; he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus." Rom. 9:25, 28 Msg
Pastor, leader, mom, student, it doesn't matter where you are or what you are doing, God gets personal with us. He doesn't just merely look down on earth and see little dots of people moving on the earth...He sees potential...He sees value...not for what you have done, or for what you will do; but for who you are...a living, breathing child of God. (v26)We mean something to Him. We each have a purpose for living and He desires that we follow Him and allow Him to work it out in our life.
Pastor, I want to talk to you right now. It doesn't matter the size of your church. Forget numbers. When you attend meetings with fellow ministers don't be concerned with how many people other pastors have in their congregations. Be concerned with how many salvations are happening on a weekly basis. Be concerned about what you are doing to add souls to the Kingdom. The main thing is Jesus and how many people have come to know him under your care. How many of these new converts are growing and developing under your ministry?
Do not allow your well planned projects to get in the way of the message of Christ's love for everyone. Don't get me wrong. I am all about planning and providing the best programs available to reach people. In order to succeed we must have well thought out plans and carry them through to the end. My point is to not get so carried away and busy planning we forget to ask for God's opinion. He may have something better planned. "...you'll find me ON the way to your goal not IN the way." Rom. 9:33b Msg (emphasis mine)
What is the main thing? What is the ultimate goal? Salvation of people searching for something. That "something" is what we have to offer. Let's keep the main thing, the main thing. Jesus and advancing His kingdom, not ours.
Let's take a look at the ones searching. Who are they? They are young and old; those who have a lot of material wealth and those who have nothing. Our churches should reflect that. We need them all. God wants them all. I searched the Internet to find demographic stats of ages in the United States. Here is what I found...
Age structure (2009 est.)taken from Demographics of the United States on Wikipedia.org
0-14 years: 20.2% (male 31,639,127/female 30,305,704)
15-64 years: 67% (male 102,665,043/female 103,129,321)
65 years and over: 12.8% (male 16,901,232/female 22,571,696
The large percentage is in the middle with an age range of 15-64 years. Other stats show that a large marjority of this population are single adults. My thought as I read this is, "God knows who each one of these individuals are. How are we reaching them?" Our goal as church leaders should be to get to know as many of these individuals as possible. I don't mean each of us personally, but providing the means within our power to reach them through our congregations.
If we are sincerely honest about reaching them, are we doing whatever it takes to reach them? Do our services reflect our efforts, or do our services look like they did 10 years ago...five years ago for that matter. We live in a world that is changing very rapidly. We need to make sure we are not stuck and change with them. Are we challenging the leaders within our congregations to keep up with technology that this generation is so into? Do we use this technology in church, or do we have the mentality that the gospel message will get through no matter how we present it to people?
If that is our thinking we need to get on our knees and ask God for some divine intervention; because God is a God of excellence. Excellence is developed continually. It never stops developing. I don't mean have a "traditional" service and a "contemporary" service. That breeds discention and seperation. Let's work together and expand our ability to live and worship together.
Are we singing the same songs we sang 5, 10, 20 years ago? We all loved "Shout to the Lord," but it is old now. Sure sing it every once in a while, but allow God to grow you past this and learn new ones. Learning new songs keeps our spirit fresh. There are people that spend time in prayer and worship that birth these songs from the heart. Allow our spirits to join them in praising God with the song they created.
Remember, our main responsibility is to reach the lost, get to know the people God knows already. They are not a number. They are individuals searching for love and compassion and that is what we have to offer. We have the challenge to find these people who think they are nobody and allow God to make create in them the somebody He can use for His glory.
We may have to do things that are a little uncomfortable for us; but that is what is so awesome about being a leader used by God, we are in an adventure that stretches and challenges us to grow. When we allow ourselves to be stretched we are giving God the "ok" to spiritually mature us. You may even feel like a nobody right now. You may feel that you cannot live up to this task. But, God has placed within you the abiltiy to do above and beyond what you cannot even imagine. Ephesians 3:20 says, "...according to his power that is at work within us." NIV
It's not about the number in attendence we are to be concerned with; it is the number of salvations taking place in our services and through our people. You know what? When salvations happen, the actual growth of our churches will increase. The key is, it will not happen until we are strategic in how we go about reaching the 67%of the US population. We won't forget the children and senior adults, that will happen as we reach out the way we should.
Remember God's power is at work within you, and you can expect great things to happen, as you allow Him to work within you, changing you into what He desires as a leader.
I trust this has blessed you. I have read Romans 9 several times, but this just stood out again recently. Be blessed and have an awesome day.