This week Kent is sharing an exciting vision for 2021 and the years to come. Don’t miss this week’s service – and be sure to invite someone to join you! Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (harmonychurch.cc/give). Got kids? Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly) https://www.harmonychurch.cc/harmony-kids-online/!——————-
Sermon Notes Slide Key:
- Sermons always start with “OPENING ILLUSTRATION:” and end with “CLOSING ILLUSTRATION:”
- Red = Scripture slides (reflect formatting of scripture on slides, i.e. – underlines, bold, etc.)
- All scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted
- Bold = Slide text
- “b” or “B” on a line by itself = Slide break/New slide
- Bold ALL CAPS WORDS = heading to be ignored
- [some text] = programming notes to be paid attention to
OPENING ILLUSTRATION:How many of you get a newspaper delivered to your house? How many of you have never even paid for a physical news paper subscription? How many of you don’t know what a newspaper is? Jenni and I were joking because the other day we were watching a rerun of an old television show from the early 2,000’s and these two guys were reading a news paper. One of them gave part of the news paper to the other guy and they sat there reading it together. I Joked with Jen that we should buy a news paper and show it to our kids before they completely go out of business.
The last 20 years or so has not been good on the newspaper industry…
I can pull out my phone and in under 20 seconds have access to all the news in the entire world under my thumb.
It’s a bad time to own a Newspaper…Something that was a staple for years in households is no longer even considered by a new generation.
I don’t even consider buying a newspaper, it’s not even on my radarI would hate to be in the newspaper business
TAKE THE TURN:A few months ago, the elders, staff and I went on a retreat to pray and work through what our 3-5 year vision is for the church.
We worked through our mission and our target audience as part of this exercise.
The elders had tasked Matt McKenzie to come back with some statistics we were interested in learning more about, I want to share some of them with you…
There were two statistics that he shared with us that stuck out to me like a sore thumb…
- When a mother comes to Christ, her family will join her at church only 17% of the time; but when a father comes to Christ, his family joins him 93% of the time
- 90% of boys raised in church leave by age 20
BIt hit me…For most men, the church is as seemingly irrelevant as a news paper is to me
Does that ring true to you?How many of you know a young man in his 20’s or 30’s who see’s church as irrelevant?
That breaks my heart, it means we have done a disservice to these men
Here’s what it means for us as a church, I want to share some of the results of that weekend…
We decided that we were done with the loss of men to the Kingdom
Our Target: Herbert HarmonyAge: 25-35Kids: Likely living in a blended family, may be a single parentRelationship Status: Living with someone possibly marriedActivities: Video Games has been an important part of their lifeIncome: Avg $42,120
- Perceives their role as a man differently than previous generations, more likely to be directly involved in household chores, raising of children, etc.
- Raised in a culture that paints men as either violent, dumb, or weak – unsure exactly what it means to be a man.
- Struggles with anxiety
[Have a target with arrows stuck in it on stage]
ILLUSTRATION:I used to work in a church where there was a constant battle over how we set the thermostat. I would have older folks come to me and tell me it was too cold and they were having to wear jackets to church in the dead of summer. I had younger folks come up to me and tell me it was so hot they were sweating constantly. What do you do in that situation? I don’t care if the issue is thermostat, how loud the music is, whether it’s ok to wear hats in church, or something else.
What I’ve found is that when church becomes about making me comfortable, I’ve missed the point.
Can I just tell you something? That target that I just outlined, doesn’t match me – even as a man-I don’t fit a lot of the categories of what I just described
Does Harmony having a specific target mean Harmony isn’t for me? Doesn’t care about me?
No, not at all, we still care about reaching every person, But what it means is that we are very clear about who we are targeting to reach…
How we set the temperature? How loud the music is? What key we sing music in? What types of activities we engage in? etc.
Everything we do will be influenced by trying to hit our target. Paul had the same kind of philosophy…1 Corinthians 9:19-2319 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Paul became who he needed to be to win to Christ the person he was trying to win. So, what does this mean for our church?
Firstly, it means we have a strong masculine toned missions statement:
We are Advancing the Kingdom by Living for God and Loving People.
Jesus is at a place called Caesarea Philippi -it was a region that was dedicated to worshipping the Greek God Pan – This worship was despicable – people doing things with goats that I’m not gonna explain right now because of kids – there was a cave that a spring came out of and people believed the cave was a gateway to Hell or Hades…
It was in this place, where Jesus asked his disciples who they thought He was and Peter made the famous confession: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
out of that Jesus says this…Matthew 16:18b-19on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The gates of Hades (hell) will not overcome the church. This is war language – this is Jesus taking his boys to the battle ground and saying, “we are going after anyone who is being plunged into hell and we are going after them with a furry…
As we move forward as Harmony, I want you to know this is who we want to be. The kind of church that storms the gates of Hell…
and we have a vision for how we will accomplish that over the next 5 years…
Our Vision In the next 5 years, we want to be a part of…B1. Planting churches that plant churches that plant churches “The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches.”-C. Peter Wagner
If we are going to Advance the Kingdom, it can’t be enough to just fill a room.-it means we need to see people coming to know Jesus and be a part of starting communities where more people can come to know Jesus-Anywhere from 4,500-5,000 churches will close their doors this year-With Covid, estimates are that nearly 1/3 of people who were attending church have completely stopped participating at all
We live in a moment in history where we can lick our wounds and be sad or we can figure out ways to pick ourselves up and Advance the Kingdom. I’m for advancing!
Specifically, we want to be a part of planting 3 churches over the next 5 years. Two Churches as a significant partner church through our missions giving and One church as a sender church b This is Advancing the Kingdom
2. We want to create an Active Sports ministry to men and families that leads to significant engagement of the lost.
This is not about starting a church soft-ball league that will give church people more church people to play with – this is us creating opportunities for men to engage their buddies who don’t go to church and invite them to play and be led to Jesus!
This is us, as a church, “Living for God”
3. We want to capture stories of impact – what this means is we want to lead in a way that encourages us all to live our lives in a way that makes a difference.
We want to create an environment where you can share the wins of what God is doing in your life with everyone else. This is part of our online Facebook community.
A lot of time our staff is privy to the stories of God and they don’t get shared at a broader level, we want to work on ways to level the playing field so everyone sees clearly how God is working.
We want to get to the point where we are having a story of impact shared for every day of the year. b This is us living out “Loving people”
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: Years ago, I preached at this church that was all grey hair. I’m pretty sure of the 200 people there, only a handful were younger than 60. The pastor had painted them as this church that was inward focused and only thought about themselves. I preached a sermon about how the church was missing the next generation, we were losing them. I closed by doing an invitation and I said, my guess is, this whole sermon has been about your grandkids – and if I know anything about grandparents, it’s that you would do anything for your grandkids. I said, today, if that’s you, I want to invite you to do something you probably haven’t done for a long time. I’m going to invite you to come to the altar and pray, because we need to put ourselves aside and call to God to use us to reach the next generation.
I really thought I’d have hardly anyone. I’ll never forget this woman stepping out of the isle, her eyes filled with tears – streaming down her face. She came and fell on the stairs of the stage and like a surge, almost the entire church came forward, hundreds of people weeping before the Lord and begging for His intervention.
Church, I know because of Covid I can’t invite hundreds of you to come forward. But I can ask you to join in with me. If you are committed to Advancing God’s Kingdom, will you turn around and get on your knees during this next song? and if you can’t physically do that, then sit and pray. turn to God and ask Him to move – because NONE of what I just shared with you is possible if God doesn’t move… None of it. and what we need is to weep before Him and ask Him to move!