On Saturday December 4, we had a Members Meeting to approve the church’s budget for 2022. I’m so thankful for those who used their time and gifts to put together this budget, and I hope you appreciate them as well. It’s a lot of work.
At the beginning of the meeting, I gave a message that I want everyone who is committed to the life of Richview to hear—of read. My hope for the short talk was to get us to begin to imagine all that Christ might do among us if we work towards a common purpose. For some of you, the following text will be a re-run. For most of you, you’ll be getting this for the first time.
Here’s what I shared…
This budget (that we approved on Dec. 4) is meant to enable us to do what we believe we need to do at Richview. Here’s a great question that we always need to go back to. What is that, exactly? What is it that a church does? What should this budget, and all of our other leadership initiatives—what should they all enable us to do?
There are many great answers to this question. One person might say, the purpose of the church is to do evangelism. Everything we do needs to come out of a heart for sharing the good news about Jesus to the lost. All things need to be filtered through the lens of evangelism. And you’d have great biblical reasons to say that. You might go to a passage like
- Romans 10:14 – How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
- 2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
You could make a great case that evangelism is the main thing a church should be doing. But someone else might say that the main thing is discipleship—building up believers; strengthening, equipping, training in righteousness, and teaching them to do likewise for others.
- Ephesians 4:11-13 – So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
- Matthew 28:19-20 – 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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
But someone else might say, no, the church exists to do acts of love to people in our church family but also in the community.
- 1 John 3:17 – But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
- Matthew 10:42 – And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.
But yet someone else might say, no, we exist to worship God. The main thing is our worship and ministry unto God alone.
- John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
- Revelation 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
So which is it? What are we about here at Richview? Evangelism? Discipleship? Loving community? Worship? Should we diminish the importance of one of these for the sake of others? Should we rank them? Should some be deleted? Should only one be highlighted?
If it is truly God and His Word who designs the purpose of the church—and it is—then we are not about any one of these things alone. If we exist for one thing, it is for the purposes of God. We exist to obey and glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. And so we individually, and we as a church, obey His word in all areas, enabled and enlivened by His Spirit.
We at Richview have four pillars of ministry which we believe is the heart of God for His church—worship, evangelism, discipleship, loving community. When Richview is at its best, most God-glorifying, she will be vibrant in her worship, effective in her evangelism, diligent in her discipleship, and growing in loving community.
Can you imagine a church that was being used of God to carry out all of these things with excellence? Can you imagine a church running on all cylinders to use, not just some of our gifts at Richview, but all of them?
Can you imagine Richview as a community that thrives in evangelism, as the lost are being reached in the community and around the world, and come through our doors to hear the gospel? Can you imagine Richview as a community that thrives in discipleship, where the believers here are continually growing in faith, in love, in obedience, and in knowledge of God? Can you imagine Richview as a community that loves like Christ loves, tending to the needs of those outside the church, but especially those in our care? Can you imagine Richview as a community whose worship is like a two-litre bottle of coke being shaken all week, and then the lid comes off Sunday morning in praise as we seek God’s face together?
Can you imagine Richview like that? We don’t want to just imagine Richview this way. We desire that God would create such a church here in us. Being a member at Richview is an invitation to be used of God here to build such a community. It will take all of us, and it will take everything we’ve got. But it will be worth it.
God is making moves here at Richview. I can’t say we have a fully fleshed out plan that will get us from where we are to where we want to go, but I can say we know where we want to go—we want to be a community like that—and we are seeking God to help us get there.
My prayer for Richview is that we would leverage all that God has given us—our time, our talents, our treasure, our location, our facility, our structure, our staff, our finances—and shovel all of it like coal on the inferno that is God’s glory and honour at Richview.
Whether or not Richview will honour God in this way will be a decision we each make as individuals. Will I fully lean in to what God is up to here at Richview? Am I ready to mobilize and to serve God through worship, evangelism, discipleship, and loving community? If we all decide, prompted by the Spirit, “yes,” who knows what God could do through us! But if a number of us say “well, let me see how it goes for the first while.” Or if we say “yeah, this will never work, no one’s going to want to do this.” Or if we decide “hey, I’m just along for the ride, so don’t expect much of anything from me.” Then we all know what will materialize here. Nothing of much significance.
But if we can unite in purpose, in direction, in Spirit, and demand that each of our lives and gifts be fully used in the ministry of the church, then we will have the right posture for what God wants to do in and through us.
Don’t say “yes” because of a persuasive speech. Don’t say “yes” because you want to go along with the crowd. Say yes because Christ is worthy, and it will all be worth it today, tomorrow, and forever.
My hope is that we will spend a bit more time imagining and getting excited about all that God might do among us in the days, weeks, months, years, and even decades to come.