What Next?

What Next?

It would be presumptuous and arrogant to tell you what we are going to do in the future, so let me put it this way:

James 4:13-16  Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."  As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.

On May 27 of this year, I presented to you a message, titled “What Can I Do?” At that time, I told you God had moved on our hearts to return to something that worked well for this congregation in the past. In fact, it is an idea that is as old as the Bible.

Ex 18:18-21 The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

Therefore, we have delegated some of the duties of ministry to several capable people who will direct the work of the church in certain areas. The elders will retain the responsibility and oversight for the director's work. The Elders are responsible to Jesus Christ and will be judged by Him for how well they perform their duties. It is His Church. While supervising all the ministries, the Elders are also directly responsible for the Men’s Ministry, Teaching Ministry, and all other ministries not delegated to a director.

A director does not have to do all the work of the ministry but will solicit help to get the work done. A director is not a permanent position in the church. This duty will be rotated to other individuals willing to assume the responsibilities when the need arises. If you are not a director, there is plenty to do and we encourage you to participate in several ministries. You have gifts, and if you have a desire to minister in at least one of these areas and you should get with that director and offer your help and ideas. The director may even put you in charge of accomplishing the idea you present. Everyone is needed and capable of doing something, especially to pray.

Therefore, if it is the Lord’s will, we will live, and we plan to do the following:

  1. Directors pray for vision, seek ideas and volunteers, and select projects that will accomplish the Purpose of the ministry.  
  2. Directors prioritize projects: short term and long term, then turn in vision and plans to the Elders by June 29.
  3. Elders will pray, approve or amend, coordinate, and present short term and long term action plans to the church.          
  4. Church prays and either approves action plans, and supports the funding necessary to accomplish the plans, or the church disapproves the plans, in which case, the elders, deacons, and directors amend the plans.   
  5. Directors will handle the details of accomplishing their action plans under the supervision of the elders.
  6. Elders and Directors will meet regularly to pray, continue coordination, and make adjustments to the plans as situations arise.          

We are now at Step 3 and ready to proceed to Step 4. Notice the first thing in Step 4 is to pray. We asking you to do that until we have a short business meeting at our next church dinner to approve or disapprove the directors’ plans. Here are the plans, which I will post on the bulletin board, as well as a copy of this message on the church website.

Teaching MinistryCol 1:28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

Purpose: To lift up Jesus Christ and present the Truth of God's Word without compromise, but with love, gentleness, and patience until we all come to unity in Christ and are changed into His image.

Short term goals: The elders will teach, preach, and select teachers for Sunday School classes. They will rotate teachers as needed to develop the faith and growth of the body.

Long term goals: More training classes will be added as need arises. Full-time minister will be added when church can support one. Our main long term goal is to fulfill our purpose.

Budget: $875/mo

Men’s Ministry: Titus 2:2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Purpose: To minister to the needs of men in the church and the community through fellowship, prayer, training, and service.

Short term goals: The men will meet for fellowship, prayer, and service. They will assist the Building and Grounds ministry and help people in the church and community when a need arises. They will host one SW Arkansas Men’s Fellowship meeting per year.

Long term goal: Help the men to grow into the image of Christ so they can function effectively as the spiritual head of their families. Grow closer to one another in faith and brotherhood.

Budget: $50/mo

Worship Ministry: Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Purpose: To promote praise and worship unto the Lord Jesus Christ.

Short term goals: Integrate traditional hymns, choruses, and contemporary songs in the worship services. Schedule special music, testimonies, or devotions during the worship service.

Long term goals: Establish an adult choir and a children’s choir. Provide voice and music training to develop these choirs.

Budget: $25/mo

Building and Grounds Ministry:  Ps 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.

Purpose: To glorify Jesus Christ through the maintenance of the church's property in way that will meet the needs of the church body and will lift up Jesus Christ to the community.

Short term goals: Conduct a survey of the building’s need for repairs, furnishings, and materials by getting input from church members, directors, and elders. Recruit volunteers or hire contractors, as necessary, to accomplish specific tasks. Coordinate with all ministries and their directors as to the timing and need for making changes. Develop a maintenance work order form that can be submitted when a non-emergency need arises. From the survey and work orders—prioritize and develop a plan with the elders to appropriate funding and organize work days, assign specific tasks, or hire contractors to accomplish the work. Projects currently under consideration are: installing a screen on back wall for those on stage, replace locks, and remove the water cooler.

Long term goals: Consider larger scale renovations that will facilitate growth, make the building more usable by the various ministries, and maintain the attractiveness of its unique historical attraction in downtown DeQueen. Projects under consideration include enhancing landscaping, enlarging fellowship hall, painting, replacing carpets, refinishing hardwood floors, replacing putty on stained glass windows, kitchen remodeling, and a myriad of other possibilities.

Budget: $100/mo plus special projects

Activity Ministry: John 17:23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Purpose: To promote church unity and growth through activities that foster fellowship among all members and with non-members.

Short term goals: Homecoming Picnic at the Lake hosted by the Coleman’s and Taylor’s to create an opportunity to reconnect with former members in addition to creating an opportunity to invite other non-members. Manage pre-scheduled events as approved by the elders. Submit a list of proposed activity/activities for January – March.

Long term goals: Maintain and pursue continuous improvement of activities that are proven to be both feasible and effective, or can become so with a revised approach, while staying open to new ideas.

Budget: $100/mo or $1200/yr

Women’s Ministry: Titus 2:3-5 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Purpose: To minister to the needs of women in the church and the community through fellowship, prayer, training, counseling, and service.

Short term goals: Organize Sunday lunches. Provide meals as needed for funerals, sickness, etc. Foster closer relationships between women through activities. Visit elderly members and help them where needed. Honor service providers in the community with baskets of baked goods on special occasions.

Long term goal: Create better relationships between all the women and provide encouragement for a better relationship with God in all things of life.

Budget: $50/mo

Children’s Ministry: Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Purpose: To minister to the needs of children in the church and the community through fellowship, prayer, training, and service.

Short term goals: Provide activity bags to visiting children. Conduct a vacation bible school. Conduct activity games for children at Hoo-Rah Days. Provide a Christmas program with treats for children during Christmas parade. Provide materials for Sunday School classes as needed.

Long term goals: Expansion of VBS to a 2-day event, with a program night for parents and church members with refreshments afterwards. Create a worship area for parents with toddlers.

Budget: $75/mo or $900/yr

Visitation Ministry:  Matt 25:36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Purpose: To minister to those who are unable to attend church by showing love, sharing Scripture, praying for them, and sending cards or flowers.

Short term goals: Develop a list of contacts for visitation. Send cards to visitors. Greet visitors and give them packets to inform them about our church. Continue delivering flowers to nursing home and hospital, and praying with patients when possible. Continue card ministry to members who are absent or for special occasions.

Long term goals: Set up visitation schedule. Contact visitors with a phone call or visit.

Budget: $280/mo

As I said last May, the enemy would prefer we stay asleep, remain comfortable, and do nothing. We must stop doing what is not effective and be willing to change to become more effective.

However, apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. Therefore, we need to get serious with God and be filled with the Holy Spirit every day. Furthermore, we need to be a body of believers who can love, train, and minister to new believers who still have the ways of the world as their habit and still suffer the consequences of sin. This requires the love of God shed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit; otherwise, we will fail to fulfill Jesus’ commission to us.

If you haven’t been getting anything out of church, perhaps you are just reaping what you have sown. We need each one of you doing what God has equipped you to do. We are giving you a vision and a structure for channeling your work for Christ. Sow your time, money, and talents into one or more of these ministry areas and God will see that you reap abundantly. You will discover that you get a lot more out of going to church when you sow into it.

Be alert! We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices. If he can’t get us to do nothing, then the enemy will attempt to create conflicts, hurt feelings, miscommunication, and anything to stop us from doing something. He is an expert at creating conflicts over non-essential matters, like the color of carpets.  There is no room for pride, selfishness, ambition, or envy in any of these ministries. Don’t grumble and complain. Any criticism should be constructive and helpful. Offer solutions, not just complaints. We must be humble and serve Christ by loving and serving one another.

Matt 23:11-12 The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Furthermore, if you do nothing else in the church, commit to love God and one another. What does it mean to love?

1Cor 13:4-7  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Please be in prayer for our church, these ministries, and for each individual in the church. Ask the Lord what He wants you to do. Be willing to serve in new ways, to let the Lord increase your faith, and to develop His gifts in you. There is no greater joy than knowing you are doing the Lord’s will and seeing how He uses you to His glory.

“Doing something for the Lord” assumes you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Without Him, we can do nothing except sin. Even as believers, we need the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish His will. Therefore, if you have never made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior and given your life to Him through baptism, then I pray you will confess your sin to Him, ask for His forgiveness, and give your life to Him today. He will give you a new life through the Holy Spirit, who will enable you to be used by God.

Maybe you need to become a member of this congregation so you can be used by God in His work here. There is one faith, one Lord, and one baptism. There is only one Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, we need to know if you are committed to us as we are committed to you. It is easy to become a member. If you have been baptized by immersion and confessed Jesus as Lord, then you just need to come forward and testify to these facts and ask to join this congregation. We will be delighted to have you unite with us in this work and be part of this family of believers.