We are in the middle of our annual Vision Offering campaign. Each year a special project is chosen in our church ministry to designate the special offering to. This year, we are asking the Lord to provide a ministry vehicle (25 to 29 passenger shuttle bus) for groups in our church family to use for activities and long trips. With three weeks to go we are over half-way there to achieving our goal of $50,000.
Luke 12:34 says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” One of the truest indicators of your heart’s condition is what you do with your money and possessions. I have been overwhelmed by the response of our church family to give to this special offering. Not only are people giving out of their income, but you are going the extra mile…selling vehicles, having yard sales, even taking portions out of your IRA’s. It’s phenomenal! As we think about the heart of our giving, let’s remind ourselves of three important biblical principles related to giving.
EVERYTHING I HAVE BELONGS TO GOD.
This is where giving begins, understanding that everything I have belongs to God. Somewhere along the way we got this idea that only 10% belongs to the Lord. Think of it this way: 100% belongs to God, He just allows you to manage 90% of what is really His.
Colossians 3:23-24 says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” In the margin of my Bible, beside these verses, I’ve written this phrase, “Strive for Excellence.” Everything we do in our local church ought to be done “heartily, as to the Lord.” Why? Because we “serve the Lord Christ.” He not only deserves our very best, but He deserves to be served in a spirit of excellence.
How do we maintain a ministry of excellence as we serve the Lord through our local church? Let me share with you 10 principles we use to train the leaders of LBC as we strive for a mindset of excellence in our local church (Please keep in mind that no claims of absolute originality are made for some of these statements. Many of these I have gathered by leadership training through the years).
1. Who you are is more important than what you do. – More important than the position you hold or the job you do is the person you are before Christ. Character always trumps position.
2. Your private life makes you fit for your public service. – A ministry of excellence is fueled by people who are real with God when no one else is looking. Spend time in the Word. Walk with God. Meditate on the Scriptures.
Every service at Laurel Baptist Church is important and is given the utmost attention and dedication by our staff and leadership. My philosophy is this: If a scheduled service is not worth putting our very best effort into it, then why are we even scheduling it? Christ deserves our best planning, energy, worship, and response in any service a local church has to offer, not just Sunday morning.
I recognize that not all churches still have Sunday evening services. This blog is not for the purpose of debating that, but we (LBC) have three services on Sundays (8:45am & 10:30am – same service; 5:30pm – additional service). Hebrews 10:25 doesn’t specifically say we are to gather for worship three times on Sunday and once on Wednesday, but it does say we are to be faithful to assemble with our local church (“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”). In the context of Laurel Baptist Church, that assembling takes place three times a week and we teach faithfulness to those meetings unless providentially hindered.
Sunday evening is a special time at Laurel Baptist Church for many reasons. I want to share with you what I, personally, love about our Sunday night church…