Pastoral Articles

Vision Challenges

Vision Challenges

Dr. Jeff VanGoethem

Scofield Church has embarked on a vision process which seeks to touch the root of the spiritual issues which face us. Yes, some cosmetic aspects of ministry must always be addressed, as time goes on and as culture shifts and bends. For example, the carpet in our Worship Center is badly faded and stained in some places. As time goes on, we must address small things like this.

But more importantly, we are mostly focused on returning to the basics of church life: prayer, evangelism, discipleship, honoring God, seeking to do His will. And we are turning away from majoring on what is trendy and stylish or oriented to entertainment. May God give us a longing for biblical ministry, for what is oriented to deeper spiritual maturity.

If the country is to be changed, then the church must be changed. If the country is to be awakened, then the church must be awakened. If we seek to re-establish the foundations of society, then the foundations must be re-established in the church.

One small step in this direction is our own vision process. One by one, brick by brick, we return to the simple things of God: prayer, evangelism, discipleship, marriage, family, truth, spiritual growth, hope in Jesus, His soon return, missions, holiness, and the gospel.

Our 135th anniversary observance, coming on September 9th will give us a chance to look back at these building blocks over our long and sacred past. But we will also be challenged to think about “where are we now?” And “where do we need to go?”

We have made a good start on our current vision process. Here are some challenges we must continue to labor in that they might be fulfilled:

Flip/Flop. The flip flop of our two morning hours has seemed to step up the effectiveness of our CBS and Sunday School hour. Better attendance, more punctuality, and better use of time in our study and training classes. However, we have begun to see some backsliding on punctuality for the 9:00 hour. One of our goals is not only to be here on time but to be here early so that we might greet our guests. Often we have guests arriving to find an empty room because it is not important to us to be here to greet them. Let’s recommit to 9 am punctuality! Be early!

Prayer Meeting. One of the great needs across the land is a return to prayer. Our churches are not praying churches and many of our most “successful” churches are the least interested in prayer. This is a thoroughly bad omen. We are “succeeding” without God. How long can this house of cards stand? Will we at Scofield Church rise to the challenge of becoming once again a praying church? Will we dare to ask God to bless us? We begin our new prayer meeting this month, Aug. 22 at 7pm. Let each of us commit to the weekly prayer meeting.

Constitutional Revision. Our Elders and Deacons have been discussing this over the summer. Soon we’ll be bringing a proposal to the congregation and scheduling some discussion meetings. We hope to bring greater flexibility and continuity into our leadership system so that we can labor, work, plan, and communicate with greater efficiency as we position our church for effective ministry. Please prayerfully commit yourself to participating in this process.

Evangelism and Discipleship. We have had a large emphasis on this over the past year or two. We are also working on a way to gain some training in the area of discipleship early in the coming new year. But we cannot just sit comfortably in our pews and expect someone else to reach out and evangelize and disciple people. We all have to ask the Lord, “What do you want ME to do?” Training and education are only a first step. Will we commit ourselves to being disciplers right here in our own neighborhood?  What can I do to be used by God? Whose life can I touch? Do I have time for others?

Our church is changing. We have determined that this is necessary. Vision gives us direction, but application and perseverance (follow through) are critical. Let’s let God lead us to new vistas, then we’ll lead others where we have gone.

Yes we’ll be having elections this fall. Mega-tons of attention will be focused on the results. And then we’ll do it all over gain in four years and little will have changed.

Perhaps the greater changes are occurring in our own lives, with small steps of obedience to God, which then spreads through a congregation, and it becomes transformed. This is the transformation I believe God wants us to concentrate upon.

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