Working the Father's Blueprint
Have you noticed? It is much easier to make a case for a commitment to Christ than a commitment to the church. Christ is awesome, majestic, compelling. But the church seems so human, so ordinary and too many times downright dull. Christ is pure, the church is deeply and tragically stained.
In Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus, he lists three important opinions of the church: the angels’, the Son’s, and the Father’s. The angels gasp at the church (Eph. 3:10), the Son loves the church (Eph. 5:25-27), and the Father planned the church (Eph. 3:10-11). Three overwhelming responses to the church from heaven.
Why? What is so special about the church?
The church provides people with things they cannot find anywhere else in the world: Worship helps us focus on God; fellowship helps us face life’s problems; discipleship helps us fortify our faith; ministry helps us find our talents; evangelism helps us fulfill our mission.
And when we do these things together we can be more than we are individually. So, as we move into 2018, what would God like us at First Free to do over the next seven years? What goals should we have? What is our vision?
This past September, after hours of prayer, interaction and discussion, our church leadership decided and confirmed that God wants us to do more than just sit here and occupy space at 51st and Chicago Ave. He wants us to take more territory in South Minneapolis and Richfield for Him. Even after 134 years of ministry, we feel that God is saying to us as a church, “You are not finished yet.”
As we continue to help individuals become Christ-centered and Christ-sent together, we envision by the year 2025, Christ being first in 500 homes throughout the 3-mile radius surrounding our church of South Minneapolis and Richfield.
We envision homes burning brightly with the light of Christ in their neighborhoods. Homes expressing a warmth and safety of Christ’s love to their neighbors, recognizing and responding to the needs of others. Homes shining Christ’s light penetrating the darkness and providing a beacon of hope to those hurting in the community around them. Homes filled with parents and children who have allowed God’s story to shape them and are sharing that life-changing story with their neighbors. Homes that are lampposts shining the light of Christ in their neighborhoods.
We envision First Free being known for its radiating compassion, a servant society that pours out its time and wealth for the common good of the city. We envision First Free teaming up with other like-minded churches in this three mile radius and together form a high-voltage power grid that illuminates the Twin Cities with the light of the gospel.
We envision First Free being a Christ-centered and Christ-sent people, a Lamppost, reaching out and inviting others into that same life transforming relationship with Christ.
Think about it: If we at First Free cause the angels to gasp . . . if we are sacrificially loved by the Son . . . if we are central to the Father plans, should we not also be working with His blueprint to make Christ known?