Perhaps you have seen the illustration a college professor provided for his freshman class. In a large bowl, he placed some big rocks and he asked the class if the bowl was full. They said, “Yes,” until he poured in some pea-sized gravel. He asked again if the bowl was full. They hesitated but agreed. The, the teacher poured in sand and tamped it down. The class was sure the bowl was now full. With a smile, the professor brought out a pitcher of water as the class laughed.
The wise teacher then shared the point of his demonstration. He pointed out that they all would have the same amount of time to receive their education and prepare for their future. Then he smiled and said, “Be sure to put the big rocks in first or they will never fit in the time you have here.” Wow, isn’t that the truth? Even in the work of the church, we have a lot of little things that can crowd out the most important things. If we don’t get the big things done, the work of God will suffer. So, what are the big things that we’ve got to do well? Let me suggest four.
We’ve got to provide a quality worship experience that touches every generation. That means that we don’t just sing the songs that my generation prefers, but we include songs each generation can relate to. We are deliberate about this. We want to be a church that helps all generations worship God. We are a church of many generations that has a deliberate focus on the next generation and that will show up in the way we worship.
We’ve got to have a ministry of excellence to the next generation and their parents, in an environment of security, promoting age-appropriate discipleship. We know that Jesus had a huge heart for children. We also know that the world often sees children as an annoyance and a bother. Some churches even see children’s ministry as a necessary inconvenience. We must reject that attitude and embrace the vision to impact children and teens with the gospel of Jesus. We are delighted that we have staff members and dedicated volunteers who work diligently with our teens and children and we look forward to supporting them and encouraging these young people to become the church of tomorrow and today.
We’ve got to do Sunday School/Small Groups to the best of our abilities. Small Groups were a Part of the New Testament Strategy for Discipleship. The early church met “house to house” in small groups for fellowship, evangelism, ministry and teaching. Our Small Group strategy follows tried and proved actions. We envision the possibilities based on enrollment, prospects and demographics, we enlarge the organization to meet the expectations of future growth, we provide the space and equipment to allow our small groups to be successful, we enlist and train workers to provide the best teaching and ministry we can, and we go after the people because we know we have to initiate the contact.
We’ve got to make a real impact on our community with meaningful ministry and deliberate involvement. One of the reasons our church is going to hold a worship service in the park on August 6 is so we can have a better chance to touch our community with truth. We are using the fourth Sunday evening services of the daylight-savings months for outreach in our community. In the cold-weather months, we set up and promote special events that will attract people in our community to attend. As a church, we understand that we cannot just expect the community to come to us to hear the gospel—we’ve got to go to them and invite them in! The Great Commission puts the responsibility on us to go, not on them to come.
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon, Oh.