Let me begin by reiterating our vision: North Star Church is called to glorify God by fostering new and growing relationships with God and others through worship, learning, service and witness.
Two key items that need to be addressed in this blog entry: first, is to describe for you the strategies for next year and second, to influence you to participate.
The direction we are headed as a church is centered on building relationships. We must develop our personal relationship with God through our attendance in worship, our time of individual and group study of God’s Word, and through our representation of Jesus by our words and deeds. Through intentional engagement in these areas we will grow in the knowledge and love of God.
Second is the need for us to foster new relationships with people around us – our co-workers, our neighbors, and people we serve on behalf of Christ. Dr. Jim Ozier said to us “that people aren’t looking for a friendly church; they are looking for a church where they can make new friends.” But we cannot wait for people to walk through our doors; we have to cross the proverbial chasm between us and engage people around us. Developing genuine friendships with others will allow us to influence through our values and our character because we have developed an in-depth relationship with God. Our hope is that our influence would be powerful enough to encourage others to pursue a relationship with God.
Thinking about how I am doing, I picture the faces of people like Josh and Sherry, Melissa, Paul, Nancy, Alex, and Jordan. These are people who I engage weekly and have been building a relationship with as I get to know them and they get to know me. But I also need to do a better job of engaging even more people – why? To be an influence for the name and sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ultimately our individual and collective destiny is death. “Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences.” (Heb. 9:27, MSG) No matter how much you want to deny or try to escape it, death is our earthly destination. The church matters because of the hope that we proclaim after death – new life with God. Personally I like that direction – I like that goal. The Apostle Paul said “Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.” (Phil. 1:21, MSG) In the KJV of the Bible the language is “to live is Christ; to die is gain.” Our eternal destination can be either with God or separated from God – personally I am looking forward to being with God and that is the message of Jesus Christ that we need to carry to the world. That is our destination – new relationships so that we might share the invitation of God to inherit new life.
Strategically we see this happening through four specific goals for 2013.
Worship – increase worship attendance by at least 5% by the end of 2013
Learning – conduct an all church concentration/focus/study, utilizing worship services and small groups, teaching identity formation for North Star
Service – develop and implement 4 missional opportunities by the close of 2013
Witness – conduct two church-wide opportunities designed to engage and invite the local community to our church for the purpose of increasing our first time guests by 10% more than 2012
These are our strategic objectives for 2013 because where we are going is into our neighborhoods so that we might foster relationships that will result in others experiencing new life.
I look forward to the many opportunities to teach, preach, lead and participate in the venues and events that we initiate to accomplish these goals. And I look forward to the journey that will enable me to walk life’s path encountering new people along the way. I hope that God empowers me to make new friends in this life for the eternal purpose of joining them as we worship in God’s presence.