Back in January of this year, during my “State of the Church” message, I shared with you that I had been talking and praying with our elders and staff with regard to the need to increase our weekend worship capacity to insure that our church continued to have room to reach new people. At the time I shared the different options of building a new Worship Center on the Field of Dreams, expanding our current Worship Center, embracing a multi-site model or adding an additional service. We have had a team of very qualified people including elders, staff and members working on this question for many months and we still have more questions than answers due to issues that are out of our control. There are utility (sewage) capacity issues on the Field of Dreams that could be very costly, unknowns about the construction of Highway 69 to connect Indy to Evansville, a lack of viable options for worship space during the expansion of the current Worship Center which would be lengthy and a different vision than the typical multi-site approach.
In August, Sandy and I took a short break to Florida and while I was away I felt discouraged by the lack of progress and clarity so I spent a considerable amount of time praying for direction. In the end, the overwhelming feeling I had was “indecision is a decision.” Because of that, I came home and told our elders and staff that I believed we needed to move forward by adding a 3rd Sunday service in the Worship Center (we would continue to worship on Saturday night). Our elders and staff are unanimous about this decision that we view as an interim step to get us to the next level of growth. Interim because we believe the future continues to hold the need for building and expansion, we just don’t know what the timing will be. This will be a challenge for all of us, but one that we need to accept.
This past weekend, I shared a message called, “Living on Mission” from Mark 1:14-18. In that message I said, “When Jesus told Simon and Andrew, ‘Come, follow me…’ he was basically saying, ‘Come, be like me.’” I followed that with the question: Where did we get the idea that we could follow Jesus and not be deeply committed to doing the same things Jesus did? The bottom line is, as Christians, we have a responsibility every single day to take the message of Christ to the world around us. We can do it in a bold and aggressive way or we can do it in a quiet and subtle way, but it’s our daily responsibility. Jesus didn’t say, “Come follow me so I can take you to heaven.” He said, “Come, follow me so I can send you into the world. This is a huge part of following Christ!
Having preached those words last week, let me give you a very straightforward challenge. We need to be a church that takes serious the responsibility to live on mission. The danger in a church like ours that offers so much is to become inwardly focused where our first thought is for ourselves and not for the unsaved and unchurched around us. In fact, here’s a pointed question: When is the last time you shared your faith with someone or invited someone to church?
I love this church and I’m so thankful for the privilege of being your pastor. But I want to see our church continue to grow, not simply for the sake of numbers, but for the sake of spiritual IMPACT on lives and families. I want to see this church continue to be used by God to change the world one life, one family, one opportunity at a time. In a recent staff meeting I told our team that I’m a lot closer to the end of my ministry than I am to the beginning. But I’ve still got a lot of good years left in me (Lord willing) and I want to finish strong by reaching more and more people for Christ. I need your help to do that.
My last church was what’s called a “turn-around” church. It had started well, gotten off track and needed a new start. I realized early on the people were pretty discouraged so I worked hard to create an environment of growth that would re-energize those believers. When the church began to grow I introduced a simple statement that was repeated and written over and over again: It takes a great commitment to build a great church. Here’s what I want you to know. It takes a great commitment to live on mission. Maybe you’ve been a member at Mount Pleasant for a long time and you’ve fallen into a safe and comfortable routine. I’m asking you to see a bigger picture and make the commitment to live on mission. I’m asking you to share your faith, I’m asking you to invite folks to church, I’m asking you to have an attitude that says, “Let’s make room for more.” We’re making room for growth, but you don’t live on mission simply by changing your service schedule. You live on mission by being willing to abandon everything to follow Jesus.
We’ll be rolling out all the specifics of this new service schedule and how you can help make it happen in the next few weeks. In the meantime, will you pray for a smooth transition and will you pray for the courage and commitment to live on mission?