It's been a while since I've taken the time to write in my blog. Our lives have been pretty busy. Recently, God has blessed Laura and I with a couple of little girls to foster. It has been quite the transition, from empty nest to 2 little ones. We are still trying to get into a solid routine that works well. In addition, Laura and I are moving to Ottawa in June. We've been searching for a place for quite some time. In addition to that, I'm in the middle of my summer block of classes. One of those classes is about strategic planning for churches. As I've been going through our book and listening to the lectures, it has inspired me to start a modified program at Ottawa First. Some may ask why I would want to do such a thing, as academic gobbledygook rarely translates into effective programs. This is true most of the time, but the course offers some really good practical advise on revitalizing a church that is stagnant. My ultimate vision and goal for OFA is not to be a large church. It's not to have 3 services on Sunday or be flowing in excess finances. My goal is to do our part in reaching the town of Ottawa for Christ. In order to do that, everyone has to be involved and have a sense of urgency about the reality of where we stand as a body of believers. A church that is barely keeping its head above water is unable to make an impact for the Kingdom.
All of that said, today I would like to look at a very popular passage, as it relates to the process of strategic planning.
Matthew 28: 16-20
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Most probably know the context behind these passages, but I'll point it out anyway. These verses take place after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ-right before He is goes back up, to the Father. The disciples meet Jesus and then receive some important instructions. These are the very last things Jesus says to His disciples...to go out and make disciples, baptize them and teach them to obey the things that Christ taught.
This is called the Great Commission! It is the responsibility of every believer to share their faith and to "make disciples." Our job is to plant the seeds and allow God to water them. It's our job to represent Christ to a lost and dying world. The Broadman Bible Commentary makes these remarks, in regard to these passages: "The Great Commission serves as a summary of basic themes in Matthew as well as a dramatic and forceful conclusion. The one who was introduced as “the son of David, the son of Abraham” and placed in a Jewish genealogy is now declared to have all authority in heaven and on earth. Crucified as King of the Jews, he is indeed sovereign over all nations. The covenants with Abraham and David with the promise of a universal and everlasting kingdom in a sovereignty of righteousness is now fulfilled in Jesus Christ." (1)
The Great Commission is the instruction manual for the local church. The question remains though, how do we best work together to fulfill this responsibility? This is the question that I (along with the other leaders at OFA) am seeking to find answers to. How does OFA hone its strengths and become a church that the Lord is pleased with?
1. Stagg, Frank. “Matthew.” Matthew–Mark, edited by Clifton J. Allen, Broadman Press, 1969, pp. 251–52.