Ephesians 4:11-16 “A Look at Where We Are Headed”

First off, today’s sermon is not what is written in the bulletin. We are taking the week off from Exodus, because I want to share some of the things that the board have been looking at over the past few months, and also some of the things we addressed on our retreat this weekend.
First off though, I want to take a look at a few scriptures.
Open your Bibles if you have them to Ephesians 4:11-16

So, in very basic terms, what we see in this text is that Jesus is the head of His church, and He give leaders to the church, for the purpose of building up the church and to equip the saints for works of ministry.
The leaders of the church serve the body by equipping the body. The body is who does the ministry. The role of leaders is to equip you to go out and minister to the world.
This is a scripture that I come back to on a regular basis with the board. I try and remind us often of this truth.
So as we got away on our retreat, that was on my mind. I want to give you an overview of what we talked about, and some ideas for what may be ahead for us as a body.

The first thing we did was to look back on the year and celebrate what God has done in our body.
Some of those things include:
The new families that the Lord has brought to us.
The growth in the worship team.
The implementation of action items for the board meetings.
The many children that are running through our building.
The growth in leadership for many of the board members.
Moving forward in implementing policies, such as the child protection policy that is being worked on currently.
Bringing Julie on as secretary has ben a huge help and blessing to me.
Many opportunities to care for people in our midst.
So many other blessings
We spend a good deal of time praising the Lord for what he has done in these areas of our church family.

The next thing we did was to spend time caring for one another, sharing struggles, and prayer concerns. Supporting one another. That was a special time.

The next day we moved to assessing any challenges we can see in the church. One of the things that I stressed to all of us is that you don’t have to be sick to get better. Many times, when we begin assessing things and critiquing things, it does not mean that the current system is broken. However, if you are of the opinion that you cannot improve in some way, you are deceived.
Some of the things we assessed were:
Growing in fellowship: This is basically making sure that as much as possible, we are connecting people with the body as much as they are comfortable with… This includes the board reaching out to the people on their phone tree list as a means of connecting with as many people as we can.
We spent a lot of time looking at what I would call our culture of leadership. We have found that in the past we have not been as clear with the expectations of leaders, and so we hope to grow in clarifying the expectations of our leaders, specifically board members. We also looked at how we test leaders for suitability for roles we are asking them to fulfill. We discussed a desire to grow in how we train, assess, and empower our leaders. Much of this speaks to how we view leadership in the church. If leadership is a burden, who wants to be a part of it. On the other hand, if we view it as what scripture calls it, a noble task, it is a privilege to serve in a leadership position. I characterize this as a culture change because many organizations take the warm body approach to leadership… that will not do in the body os Christ. We must view leadership as a privilege, a service and a high calling. We must test our leaders, and hold them to the standards of scripture. If you have been frustrated with leadership in the past I would argue that it was because either the wrong person was in leadership, the leader had unbiblical expectations of their role, or you had unrealistic expectations of them.
We also discussed some of the challenges we have for teaching contexts. Our desire is for people to have the opportunity to participate in a context outside of church that has a teaching and community element to it. We are working on some ideas to grow in that area, including some short run studies, and some other things.
We are also wanting to inform you more often of teaching opportunities that are available. Many people in our fellowship have been taught so much, it is time to get into teaching.
We are also going to be looking form someone to head up our ministry to men in the church…

After we looked at some of our current challenges, and came up with some solutions for those, we looked at where the Lord may be moving us in the future. We focussed on two main areas. The first was in the area of church polity. We have been looking at implementing the offices of Elders and deacons in our body. As part of this, we read a book called Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons, which talked about the roles, responsibilities and qualifications for Elders and deacons in scripture. We will be having much more conversations about this in the future, and we want to take our time as we walk through that process. More will be coming as it pertains to that in the future.

The other opportunity that may be coming to us is quite unexpected, but not undesired.
Almost as soon as the Parks came to ECC, Chris and I had a conversation about his desire to reach the hispanic and international community. He was a missionary kid who was raised in Spain, and has a lot of dealings with the hispanic community through his work as a mortgage broker… As time went by, we would revisit that desire, but I honestly had no clue how that might happen. Well recently we have been blessed with the presence of Santiago and his family, and as we have gotten to know them, it seems that there may be something God wants to do with Him and us. We are going to take a few minutes now and hear from Him about what he has experienced….
So, We have an opportunity to support Santiago and reach out to the Hispanic community. the first step in this process is to have one of our Easter services be culturally integrated. We will have aspects of the service that are in Spanish, and some in English, while the children are fully integrated into our program
Folks, I have no idea where this is going, but I do know that it is in line with the heart of God..if you still have your Bible open, turn to Revelation 7:9…

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