Posted by: pastortomvabeach | August 25, 2009

Thought for the Week August 30, 2009

Last Sunday I shared Christian Chapel’s plan of how we intend to do ministry in the coming days. I presented a “ministry model” which is basically an intentional plan by which we help people to move from being a pre-Christian to becoming a believer in Jesus and ultimately to being a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. This is our mission so it only makes sense that we have a strategic plan of how to fulfill the mission.

Let me give you the overview again so that it may reinforce your understanding. Our leadership team considered several ways to do ministry. The one we settled upon is called a concept model in which we focus on creating environments that accomplish specific purposes in a person’s life and then work out steps to help people move from one environment to another progressively growing more and more mature in their Christianity.

The plan has only three environments. The first is the Foyer. This is the place where we welcome people to Christianity and, potentially, into relationship with Jesus. It’s a foyer because we recognize “guests” are always around us and we, as hosts, must do everything we can to make them feel welcome so that they will want to come back. Our desire is to introduce people to the body of Christ in such a way they will enjoy hanging out with Christians and see the value of getting to know believers. Any place we meet, greet, and influence new people or those who are still not sure about faith is a foyer environment.

The next environment is the Living Room. We don’t want our guests to get a “foyer” mentality and just stay in the entry way. If we leave them there too long they might feel unwanted. So our desire is to help people move into the living room. This is the place were we sit down, begin to get to know one another, and talk about some real issues of life. It’s a place where relationships begin to develop and where our guests become our friends. Ministries where we connect to other Christians for fellowship and spiritual conversation are “living room” environments.

The final environment and the goal for everyone here at Christian Chapel is the Kitchen. This is the ultimate destination for every Christian because it’s the most intimate room in the house. When you are really close you gravitate to the kitchen. At my house, guests almost always wind up there, that is, once they become really close friends. In fact, you could say that the kitchen is where friends are so close they are family. The kitchen is a place of deep discussion where the important issues of life are wrestled with and it is also a work room. This is where we prepare the meals for those in the living room and foyer.

Every Christian needs to be moving towards greater and greater maturity. If not, they may find themselves moving the other way. The Hebrews writer cautions us to Give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (Hebrews 2:1). He further urges us to Consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25) A Christian who is disconnected from the body of Christ has no means of receiving the spiritual nourishment necessary to make him or her healthy and growing and tends to slowly “drift away”. You don’t want that.

This is why we see our model as helping people move into greater and greater connection with the church and ministries that make for spiritual growth. Moving from the front door to the couch and ultimately to the kitchen table and sink. Every one of us needs the direction, wisdom, and encouragement of others. Every one of us needs to be engaged in some type of kingdom work either preparing or serving food or cleaning up the kitchen and getting it restocked.

These are steps to Christian maturity. Let me make this personal. Where are you in your walk with Christ? Do you feel like you are still in the foyer? You have trusted Christ but you haven’t moved into any ongoing relationships that can speak into your life, you are not experiencing any significant change, and maybe you’re not really sure whether you’re in or not? If you have not connected with the church in a meaningful way, it’s time to move into the living room. You need to connect to a group on Sunday morning other than the worship service or to get connected to some others during the week. You need the conversation and dialogue that shapes lives. I urge you to come in and sit down. If you need help, ask someone.

Maybe you are in the living room and you’ve experienced some growth through the good food prepared by others in a group setting. You apply truths from the sermons you hear, sometimes. You know some people and are friendly but you know there are issues in life that you really need to bounce off someone. You know there are areas where you need someone to keep you accountable. You know that God has given you gifts but you haven’t put them to use yet. It’s time to get into the kitchen. Talk to someone about getting on a ministry team. Spend enough time with someone so you can trust them with the deepest needs in your life. Roll up your sleeves and help serve some spiritual food to others. Your growth will slow and even stop if you never find a way to pass on what God is doing in your life.

There you have it – foyer, living room, kitchen. Our ministry model to get people in the house! We are working on developing our ministries so that they fit into one of these environments and then finding easy, logical, and strategic steps to move people along the path. How can you help? Have you ever thought about intentionally working on your own spiritual growth? If so, great! How are you doing? If not, why not? It’s time to get busy! Just a thought

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