A friend asked what our “Pillars” are at Vista – what are the non-negotiables of the church? It’s a challenging question for obvious reasons, but also because it depends on how you look at it. For example, if the question was, “What are the most important elements of the home?” One response could be: 1) solid concrete foundation, 2) sturdy framing, 3) water-proof roof, 4) airtight windows and doors, 5) plumbing and electric, and 6) HVAC. But you could respond entirely differently with, 1) Love, 2) Trust, 3) Communication, 4) Hard work, and 5) Time together
See what I mean? Depends on the way you look at it. The Pillars of the church could easily be the elements of our Statement of Faith: God, Man, Sin, Jesus, Church, Eternity, Etc, or the Pillars could be our definition of a healthy Christian/Church: Worshipful, Relational, Missional. You might even conclude that the Pillars of the church are those actions within the church that we deem most important: Missions, Groups, Kids, Sundays, Serving/Giving.
But if someone asked me what makes your church healthy…why is it “working?”…why is it “growing?” If someone were to ask what are the ingredients to a sustainable, effective, productive church, I’d probably answer like this…
1) Jesus. The gospel. The whole thing revolves around Jesus and the very real work that he can/does in each person’s heart. After all, the church is Jesus…the church is the body of Christ. The church, empowered by the Spirit, is the continuation of Jesus earthly ministry which he handed off 2000 years ago to the Twelve. At our corporate gatherings (Sunday mornings) that means that our preaching, singing, prayer and kids ministry are all Jesus-centered.
New Christians and changed lives are evidence of Jesus.
2) Worship. One day every knee will bow to Jesus – we freely choose to do it now – and one of those ways is through corporate preaching, singing, prayer and sacrifice. Sunday mornings are essentially a statement of commitment and unity. We read and study the scriptures from a gospel perspective, we sing and pray to honor God with our voices and our bodies, we serve and give to support the overall work of the church. Worship is rreally just the evidence of our responsiveness and faithfulness to Jesus in our daily lives. When that’s true, attendance, service and giving all multiply.
3) Leaders. Those not only actively living out their faith and sacrificing theior lives for eternity sake, but also discipling others in the same. In today’s church organization, this includes a mature and dedicated staff. Multiplication of new leaders is the primary evidence of great leaders.
4) Groups. Church is a community. We cannot be who Jesus wants us to be; We cannot live the way Jesus wants us to live; We cannot accomplish what Jesus wants us to accomplish without consisent, honest, challeneging, encouraging, grace-rich friends who are commmitted to applying the Scriptures (including that which is taught on Sunday mornings) in intensely practical ways together. Care and changed lives are the evidence of strong groups. couple that with great leaders and further evidence will be more groups.
5) Mission. Some of Jesus final words were, Go and make disciples…” Go, be about the work of reconciling people to God. Practically, for us, that means our friends, neighbors, family and associates who do not go to a Jesus-centered church, but equally important our children! Jesus also said, “Go to all nations [para]…” so we extend ourselves beyond our own locality abd reach globally. More and growing churches regionally and globally are strong evidence of a mission focused on lost, broken and hurting people who need God.
Did I miss anything?