Published November 3, 2011
History has proven over and over again that to accomplish any great task requires an incredible commitment from those engaged in the battle. This has been true in the history of God’s people as well. Time and again they faced overwhelming odds, but through a full dependence upon God and full obedience to His commands they overcame. One such great example is David and Goliath.
When faced with overwhelming odds, David pushed through the challenges of a defeated spirit to experience ultimate victory for God. While others struggled with the overwhelming task, the fear of failure, a lack of courage and constant criticism, David relied on the power and person of God to lead him to victory.
When David saw the giant before him, he ran to the battlefield and along the way picked up FIVE SMOOTH STONES. These stones were his primary earthly tools of combat. This wasn’t a giant he was facing, it was a gift from God to show all the world just how amazing, powerful and personal the God of the universe is.
Just as David took five smooth stones to face his giant, God is directing the ministries, pastors and churches of the Georgia Baptist Convention to pick up FIVE SMOOTH STONES to face the growing giant of 8.1 million lost people in the state of Georgia. These stones along with our commitment to obedience can allow us to win the battle. Where others see a giant, we see a gift.
STONE #1: SPIRITUAL RENEWAL
“Lord, if this is our work, end it; if it is man’s work, break it down; but if it be thy work, revive it.” Charles Spurgeon
We long for a fresh sweeping movement of God in our land. We point to studies that proclaim that the only growing religious sect in our nation is the “unaffiliated.” We point to a depressing decline in generational influence. We know of more churches struggling and dying than we do churches that are thriving with a dynamic people of God rapidly advancing the Gospel. We fear that our grandchildren will grow up in a culture void of Christian influence.
Repentance is required before we will see a sweeping revival in our culture! We need every man, every woman, every church, and all of our leaders to step into a constant, dynamic encounter with the living God! It is time for spiritual renewal! We are challenging:
• GBC: Engage in conversations about how to incorporate an emphasis on prayer, repentance and spiritual renewal in all aspects of GBC ministries.
• Pastors: Engage in a conversation with God about your personal renewal and a heart for the lost.
• Churches: Engage in a conversation about developing a season of prayer in January for corporate renewal and in August for an evangelistic zeal.
STONE #2: KINGDOM GENEROSITY|
“There is no doubt that clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the Christian life.” A.W. Tozer
If ever there was a time for hilarious giving – it is today! Recession is upon us, and the news gives little hope of a quick recovery. When the world is in need, can it turn to the church and see genuine generosity? Some studies reveal that the average church member gives 2.5% or less to the mission of the Church. Annual reports reveal that the average church gives less than 5% of its budget to missions.
Giving, however, is not motivated by studies or generated by statistics. Giving is a condition of the heart. Faith in God’s ability to provide for us is a prerequisite for Kingdom Generosity! Giving based out of a confidence in our Provider fuels the advance of Christ’s mission to make disciples of all nations. A revival in our land, depends upon a revival in our hearts that leads to a revival in our giving! Oh God help us embrace kingdom generosity! We are challenging:
• GBC: Engage in a conversation about the most effective, efficient and appropriate disbursement of mission offerings.
•Pastors: Engage in a conversation with your church families about how they can create an attitude of generosity through giving to their local church.
• Churches: Engage in a conversation about how your church can grow your generous giving to missions through Georgia Baptist cooperative efforts.
STONE #3: CHURCH REVITALIZATION|
Re·vi·tal·ize - to give new life to, to give new vitality or vigor to.
The Church is the hope of the world. Jesus gave His mission to the Church. We glorify God by making disciples of all nations through His Church. Christ’s Church has Christ’s authority as we take up His mission. From a variety of different sources, we hear that more than 80% of churches are plateaued or declining. Hundreds of our churches baptize no one in a calendar year. Those in the pulpit and in the pew seem discouraged by the lack of impact of the church.
When Christ builds His Church, and His people cooperate with Him, new life comes to the Church, and the Church brings new life to the community. It is time for all of God’s people, from church members, to church leaders, associations and state conventions to martial our collective efforts to the primary purpose of strengthening the local church. We need Church Revitalization! We are challenging:
• GBC: Engage in a conversation about developing a cooperative, effective and comprehensive church revitalization mentoring process.
• Pastors: Engage in a conversation with another Georgia Baptist pastor about establishing a coaching relationship for personal development and accountability.
• Churches: Engage in a conversation with the ministry areas of the Georgia Baptist Convention to learn how they can invest in the revitalization of your church ministries.
STONE #4: CHURCH PLANTING|
The #1 way to grow our capacity to plant churches is to get church planting into the hands of the local church.
Prayer has always preceded genuine revival, and Church Planting always precedes and follows a spiritual awakening. All over the world, the Gospel moves most rapidly to people through people when churches plant churches that plant churches. Church Planters are pioneers who advance the Gospel and push out the boundaries of the church to unreached peoples.
Our state needs a great church planting movement to plant diverse churches to reach a diverse population. God’s people need to see the 8.1 million people who are far from Christ that will live in Georgia by the year 2020. We need His vision to plant churches in ways we could never think of all over our state. We must engage in church planting. We are challenging:
• GBC: Engage in a conversation about broadening the scope, strategy and opportunities for effective church planting in Georgia.
• Pastors: Engage in a conversation with your association about how your church can play an active role in birthing a new church in your region.
• Churches: Engage in a conversation with an existing Georgia Baptist church plant about how your church can be a support both prayerfully and financially.
STONE #5: AUTHENTIC EVANGELISM|
Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls.
Reaching people for Christ is going to take more than a new generation of clever events, and persuasive presentations. God’s plan for reaching people is YOU. You are His plan “A”, there is no PLAN “B.” In Georgia, and America for that matter, our neighborhoods are steadily changing. Migration to our area, and immigration from around the world demand that we have a fresh love affair for the beauty of the Gospel married to a deep God-given desire for others to have it.
The great grace of God has seen fit to bless Georgia with the increasing presence of those who do not know, and may have never even heard about the good news of Jesus Christ. The methods of yesterday may continue to work, but the desperate need of this moment calls for every member of every church who has embraced the Gospel to embrace their neighbors who do not know what the Gospel is. Friendship will give birth to influence, and influence will give birth to disciple-making. New disciples will find new friends and the Gospel will spread through authentic evangelism. We are challenging:
• GBC: Engage in a conversation about opportunities to mobilize churches and their membership to engage unreached people groups within the state of Georgia. Learn to tell our story.
• Pastors: Engage in a conversation with your church about making personal evangelism training a high priority. Learn to tell your story.
• Churches: Engage in a conversation with your neighbors and community by both demonstrating and verbalizing the good news of the Gospel. Learn to tell God’s story.
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