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Broadening Our View About How Churches Grow
or 
Grabbing A Cat By The Tail
For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar ( The Lord of Hosts is His name ). I have put my words in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth and to say to Zion, you are my people.  Isaiah 51:15,16 
 
" I know a man who grabbed a cat by the tail and learned 40% more than the man who didn't. " - Mark Twain
Tradition is not going to cut it. " We've always done it this way before  "
Fleshing it out (  carefully laid schemes of men ) are not going to make it happen.
1. The Church's Convictions, principles, and practices must be grounded in the infallible and inerrant Word of God. 
... the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness; so that the man of god may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:15-17
2. Ministry must be rooted in a genuine love for the souls of people.
 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His kingdom: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5
3. Leadership will be centered in spirit-filled service to people. Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all of your anxiety upon Him for He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking anyone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.  1 Peter 1-11
4. Worship must be God-centered and not audience centered.
Read Revelation 4 & 5
5. Methods can be expanded but not at the expense of compromising the Word.
Read 2 Peter 1: 16 - 2:3
Illustration: Surfing Class Instructions
A. Choosing The Right Equipment.
B. Using The Right Equipment In A Correct Manner
C. Study of Waves ( Recognizing surfable waves )
D. How To Catch A Wave
E. How to Ride A Wave
F. How To Dismount From A Wave.
NOTICE: ( Not One Lesson on Building a Wave )
Surfing: The Art of Riding a Wave That God Builds
God makes waves; surfers ride them.
No waves; can't create them; don't ride.
Good waves; surf in the middle of a storm; make the most of what you get.
The wave of God's Spirit cannot be manufactured.
Church growth cannot be manufactured by man.
The Wave of Revival Comes From The Spirit of God
Spirit Led Sermons Come From Honoring His Word
Christian Responsibility: Recognizing the wave of God's Spirit; catch and ride it. 
 
Recognizing how God is working in our world and join Him.
Accomplished surfers make catching waves look easy. Actually quite difficult and requires great skill and balance.
God is creating wave after wave of people receptive to the Gospel.
Plethora of Problems in our world make people open to the plea of the Lord. 
" Come unto me all you who are burdened and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. " Matthew 11:28
Unparalleled opportunities and powerful technology is available.
Five Principles of Spiritual Surfing
1. Choose The Right Equipment ( Spirit not Flesh )
2. Use The Right Equipment Correctly. ( For The Body not for Self )
3. Recognize the waves that God is sending our way.
4. Use God given techniques for riding the wave.
5. Learn how to dismount from dying waves.
PRAYER: " Father, I know that you are going to do some incredible things in Your world today. Please give me the privilege of getting in on what you are doing. "
Stop Praying: Lord, Bless what we are doing.
Start Praying: Lord, help me do what you are blessing.
We need to start recognizing what God is doing.
We need to recognize our role in what He is doing. ( cooperation )
We need to equip ourselves and others to skillfully ride God's waves.
The question is not: What will make our church grow?
The question is: What is keeping our church from growing?
What barriers are blocking the waves of blessing
What obstacles or hindrances are preventing growth?
All living things grow - If they don't something is wrong.
environmental - lack of proper nutrients
artificial - " Bonsai " trees
dis-ease - Stress, depression, bacteria, virus
Heredity - Dwarfism
The Church is not an organization; it is a living organism, the Body of Christ.
The Church is not a business; it is a body of people exercising unique gifts for Christ.
The Church is not a denomination or non-denomination; it is the Body of Jesus.
When the church is unbalanced; dis-ease occurs ( See The Seven Churches of Asia - Revelation. 2, 3 )
Healthy balanced churches either grow spontaneously and naturally or they are dying or dead.
William Bennett, states that " the most serious problems afflicting our society today are manifestly moral, behavioral and spiritual and therefore are remarkedly resistant to governmental cures. " American Management Magazine.
Politics is not the solution.
The moral decline battlefield that Bennet speaks about is our mission field.
Christ dies for the racist, the abortionist, the sodomites, the adulterers ( 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 )
Do you love the church? Jesus did and gave Himself up for her.
The church survives our sinfulness, persistent abuse, horrifying persecution, widespread neglect, biblical illiteracy, hypocritical disciples and complacent indifference. The gates of hell will not prevail against it.
It will last until Jesus comes. It will break other kingdoms.
Strategy: Reaching, Retaining, Bringing believers to maturity.
Learn to focus on people not their setting nor their sin.
Vision: Ability to see opportunities within our given circumstances; assessing current changes and taking advantage of them.
" I know a man who grabbed a cat by the tail and learned 40% more than the man who didn't. " - Mark Twain
The health or strength of a church needs to be measured by its sending capacity not its seating capacity. How many people are we mobilizing for the Great Commission?
" He who give an answer before he hears; it is a folly and a shame to him. " Proverbs 18:13
" Prepare plans by consultation, and make war by wise guidance. " Proverbs 20:18
Ask yourself this question" What would I say if I had one chance to speak to all of the unchurched people of this community?
T
hen ask another: How can I say it in such a way that disarms their prejudice and their objections to attending the assemblies of the church?
Five Dimensions of Church Growth
Acts 2:36-47
Churches grow warmer through fellowship.
Churches grow deeper through discipleship
Churches grow stronger through worship.
Churches grow broader through ministry.
Churches grow larger through evangelism.
Our vision statement: 
Committed to Christ, Caring about people, Changing lives