As we begin our In His Steps ministry we have the opportunity to reach out and make disciples of Jesus Christ as never before. It would be a shame for us to hide our lamp under a basket. God has given us all He has through His Son Jesus Christ. We ask you to prayerfully consider what God is calling you to do in His Church. I believe prayer is the essential element in our relationship with God and with our mission as His Church.
The In His Steps program will challenge us all to fulfill the commitments we have made to God and to His Church. When you receive mail with the In His Steps logo, open it immediately and act upon its contents. You are a vital part of the ministries of the church. The purpose of this first letter is to give you the scriptural basis for the program we have voted to undertake.
In 2009 our Church Council voted unanimously to establish three criteria for determining the validity of any ministry. These criteria lay out the shared mission of every ministry we undertake: WIN, DISCIPLE, and SERVE.
The scriptures upon which this common mission is based include the following:
The Great Commission - Matthew 28:1820; Acts 1:8
The Great Commandment - Matthew 22:3640
What does this mission statement mean?
WIN It is our responsibility to offer the Gospel to the lost, here and around the world. (Read Acts 1:8) What does this verse say about the Christian agenda? We have a message about Jesus Christ which needs to be carried to the whole world. Our focus is on EVANGELISM.
DISCIPLE As people accept Jesus Christ it is our responsibility to equip them to be disciples. (Read Matthew 28:1820 and I Peter 2:21) Jesus said, "As you go . . . make disciples." What does it mean to be a disciple? How do we equip for discipleship? As you contemplate these questions, divide a sheet of paper into two columns. In one column, list the opportunities we are presently offering in which a person can receive training in discipleship. In the second column, list those opportunities you think we should offer for the purpose of equipping you for discipleship.
SERVE Do all this to the glory of God. (Read Mark 9:35, Matthew 22:3640 and John 15:58) God is glorified when people come into right relationship with Him and begin to "bear much fruit" in their lives. What are the fruits that Christians should bear?
How will we accomplish this mission?
When we joined the Church we vowed to support its worship and mission with our Prayers, our Presence, our Gifts, and our Service.
What does this mean?
Prayers -- Read Matthew 6:17 Philippians 4:67 Colossians 2:914
Jesus said, "And when you pray," not "if you pray." Perhaps it never occurred to him that His disciples would try to live without prayer. Why would Jesus assume that His followers would be involved in prayer? How is it with our prayers? Do we follow the pattern Jesus set, or do we tend to pray like a child who rings the doorbell and runs? Our prayers should include remembering our church, its staff, its volunteers, its ministers, its different ministries, and all the parachurch organizations we support.
Presence -- Read Acts 2:4247 Hebrews 10:2225
Why do you think people attend church? What effect do you think church attendance has on society as a whole? In what ways do you see our church following the example of Acts 2:4247? We have an obligation to one another to provoke one another to good works and exhort one another to live consistent lives worthy of God.
Gifts (giving) -- Read Genesis 14:1820; 28:2022 Deuteronomy 8:1120
Malachi 3:812 Luke 21:14 I Corinthians 16:14 The Scriptures above tell us the proportion and the time of our giving. Accumulation of wealth is the result of using raw materials (a gift from God) plus our time (a gift from God) to produce goods and services that are sold in the market place. Then isn't it logical that all we have belongs to God? The Bible teaches that we should give whether of money, time, or talents prayerfully, proportionately, and willingly. Unfortunately, the church has done a poor job of teaching these Biblical principles. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. Now that we know what the Bible mandates in this area, we are accountable for our response. We must not raise another generation of Christians without teaching this principle! As you read the Bible's teaching concerning giving ask yourself: What are the results of faithful giving?
Service -- Read Hebrews 12:2829 Romans 12:38
I Corinthians 12:131; 13:13 How do we know what our gifts are? How do we become what God created us to be as a part of His sovereign plan?
According to Paul, diversity in the church is more than a nice idea. It is an essential part of a healthy church life. Sometimes it's easy to forget that everyone contributes something to the church. We have a wonderful diversity of gifts and abilities to do the work of the church. God has given each one of us a different ability to serve other Christians. These special abilities are called "spiritual gifts." There are different kinds of gifts, but they are all given by the same Spirit. There are different ways of serving, but everyone serves the Master. There are different jobs to do, but it is the same God who is doing all these jobs in and through us all. Spiritual gifts cannot be used in isolation. They belong to the body of Christ.
How would you define "spiritual gift"? (Holy Spiritempowered abilities that God has given to us for service and ministry in and through the Church.) What is the purpose of spiritual gifts? What prevents us from using our spiritual gifts as effectively as we should? What will result as Christians use their gifts?
Think of people who have been most influential in your spiritual life. Who motivated you to give your life to Christ? What inspired you to a deeper commitment? Who gave you encouragement and strength? What if they hadn't been willing to use the spiritual gifts God bestowed upon them?
God has given each of us a gift, or gifts. Think of your gift(s) and decide "Here's how I will use my gift within the Body of Christ, the Church."
Please think on the following things:
As a disciple of Jesus Christ I will . . .
have a plan for personal prayer time.
commit to be present in the Lord's house on Sunday.
follow Biblical principles of giving.
use the spiritual gifts God has given me by volunteering.
In His Steps,