1. The initial question we must address is, “WHY do we want to move forward and determine His plan for us?” Is it to (1) “meet my needs,” (2) “survive as a church,” or (3) to glorify God and make disciples of the Lord Jesus?
I have been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Each church will die one day. The question is, “Will it die a physical death or a spiritual death?” In order to move forward and fulfill the work of God there must be a dying to self. Our needs will be met and the church will thrive when we pursue option 3.
2. To know the will of God, we must be willing to do the will of God.
If anyone wants to do His will, he will understand whether the teaching is from God. (John 7:17)
3. It is essential that we spend time with God in prayer and Bible reading. Dare to wait (however long it takes) for clear direction from the Holy Spirit as to what to do and how to do it. God blesses what He initiates, but He is under no obligation to bless even our best ideas or noblest intentions.
4. Each church is a living organism made up of members with unique gifts and capabilities that He will use in a special way. God’s direction for your church will have aspects that will differ from other churches. Do not simply try to copy what another church is doing.
5. It will require wisdom from God to work together as a church and edify the body throughout this process.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:13-18)
6. Jesus said,
I will build my church (Matt. 16:18)
We are dependent upon Him to speak to people’s hearts, change lives, and work in the midst of our circumstances. Our task is to determine how He would have us join Him in ministry.
7. Moving forward will require change. You have heard it said, “If you always do what you always done, you will always get what you always got.”
8. It will require a ministry of service to others that goes outside of the church to the surrounding community and “to the ends of the earth.”
9. You will have to take a step of faith in obedience to what God has specifically revealed to you as a church.
10. The Lord is the Head of the church. As church members submit to His authority, you will be drawn together in unity of purpose as the body of Christ.
11. Rather than just inviting people to church, instead invite them to be part of what God is leading you to do as a congregation.
12. Remember - we minister in obedience trusting that God will use us to accomplish His will. We may be a very small part of the redemptive work of God in this world, but He is using us to impact eternity.