Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Go For It

Recently I attended the Unleash conference at Newspring Church in Anderson, South Carolina. Perry Noble is the Senior Pastor of this church and he spoke at the two main sessions. The first session he called, “Go For It!” Below are the highlights of this talk:

Perry introduced the session by saying that church is an incredibly confusing place if you don’t know the rules. Every type of church does church in a different type of way. If you don’t think that’s true attend a Baptist church this week, a Catholic church next week and a Pentecostal church the week after that. If you don’t know that church’s protocol, attending is confusing. The job of the church is to make the name of Jesus famous. If you think His name is already famous, just watch the news networks and you will find out different. From Matthew 17 and the story of Jesus being transfigured and appearing with Moses and Elijah to Peter, James and John, Perry gave us four needs of the church.

First, the church needs to provide creative environments. Christianity is the most exciting thing to happen to the planet and the church has made it boring. Peter and John both wrote about this encounter on the mount of transfiguration in their later writings because it obviously marked them for life. It was a very unique and creative way to show Jesus to these three men. That is how church should be. The sermon actually begins in the parking lot as most visitors decide within 15 minutes maximum, before they have ever heard the pastor’s sermon, as to if they are going to return or not. We need to put people in an environment where they can hear about Jesus. By the way, Perry also said that you don’t need to spend money to be creative you just need to spend time.

Second, the church needs to look beyond ourselves. In Matthew 17:4, Peter responds to seeing Jesus with Moses and Elijah by saying, “It was good for us to be here.” Some times that is all the church thinks about…what’s good for us. Some people don’t even want their church to get any bigger. After all, if it gets too big you won’t be able to know everyone. Perry said that you really have two choices…you can have a church where everyone knows everyone or you can have a church where everyone knows Jesus. Which is it going to be? The bottom line is that you can’t get your church too big.

Third, the church needs to pay attention. In Matthew 17:5, Peter is missing the whole point and is rambling on and on until God interrupts him and says two things…Get up and don’t be afraid. Do what God has called you to do. Not everyone will agree with you. Whenever you do what God has called you to do you will make some people angry.

Finally, the church needs to focus on what really matters. In Matthew 17:8, the Bible says that the whole event on the mountain ended with the three disciples seeing no one except Jesus only. We tend to focus on people’s behaviors instead. People’s problems are not their behavior it is that they don’t know Jesus. Perry ended the session by saying that if your church is not focused on Jesus, than you either need to change your focus or close the doors of your church.

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