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The Measure of Success

I think it’s fair to say that everyone wants to win. Everyone wants to be a success. That’s hardwired into us. No one wants to be a loser. No body wants to be a failure. We all want to succeed. We want to do well.

And we see this in every aspect of our lives. When we play sports, we want to take home the championship trophy – not just the participation award. When we play board games or video games, we say we play for the fun, but still, we want to win. In war – no one goes into battle being okay with losing –  if we’re going to fight, we want the victory.

We want to succeed in our careers. We want to have succeed in raising our kids. We want to succeed at being a good husband or a good wife.

We even want to succeed as Christians. Nobody wants to be a lousy Christian – we want to be a successful one. We want our church to succeed. Clearly there is something hardwired into us that drives us towards success.

But the challenge in all areas of life is knowing what determines success. We have to know what the objective is.

Because if you’re a football player, successfully running the ball to the end of the field is a measure of success – but if you’re a golfer, it’s not. You’ll probably get kicked off the course if you’re out there tackling the other golfers, stealing their ball and running it down the fairway.

We have to know our objective – We have to know what constitutes success in whatever it is that we’re doing. If we don’t know what the objective is – if we don’t know what determines success – then we’re gonna have a really hard time being successful.

As a church, we need to know what determines our success. Are we successful because we’ve outgrown this space and need to move to a larger space over at the Hall? Is that success? If we get to the point where we need to build our own building, is that success? If we get to the point where we offer more programs and have greater attendance and have more baptisms and have a bigger facility than Crossroads – is that success? Or are we measuring success the wrong way?

We need to know what determines our success – or we may spend all of our time and our energy and all our effort trying to be really good…  at the wrong thing!

And this totally applies to each one of us personally. We already mentioned how every one us wants to be successful in life. We want to be a successful in our work, we want our marriage to be a success, we want to raise our kids successfully and I think, as followers of Christ, more than anything, we want to be a success in that. At the end of our lives as we stand before God, I think each one of us wants to hear God say “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

So it’s really important that we know what determines our success. To use our golf analogy, I don’t want to spend my life running running the golfball down the fairway, weaving around and dodging the other golfers like a football player (and being really good at that) – when all along I should’ve been practicing my putt. I want to know and do what it takes to be successful in God’s eyes – because that’s what really counts.

So today, I want to do two things.

Since this is the last service in this building before we move over to the Hall, I want to talk a little bit about how we can have success as a church. How will we know if we are being successful? Are we successful just to keep existing? Are we successful when we reach a certain number in attendance or dollars or sq footage or new believers? What is the measurement of success for our church?

And then, also being New’s Years Day, I want to talk about what it means for you to have success in  this new year. What do you need to do in order to be successful in 2017? Were you successful last year? What’s the measurement of your success?

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Leadership Roles in the Church

This morning we begin chapter three of 1 Timothy. We are about midway through our Call of Duty series – our look at Paul’s letter to Timothy to find our responsibilities as Christians. I don’t know how you feel about this sermon series so far, but for me – it has been very challenging. It has been challenging to study and try to learn just what it is that God wants us to know through this book. It’s been challenging to then accurately pass that lesson on to you – to make sure that what I’m preaching is what the Bible says – not my own ideas or the ideas of the culture around us. And then it’s been challenging to apply all this to my own life and to the life of our church. So as I said, It’s been a very challenging series for me – and I hope you’ve been challenged as well.

Now today, I think we are going to continue to be challenged. Today we are going to be looking a little more in depth at God’s design for the leadership of the church. Now of course, Christ is the head of the church. He is our ultimate authority in all things. We can read about that in Ephesians 5 or 1 Corinthians 11. But I think we all understand and accept that, so I won’t spend spend a lot of time on that point. But where I want to look this morning is at the human leadership of the church. How has God designed the church leadership to function? What are the roles that God has set out for us? And are we following God’s design in our church? And what difference does it make in your life anyway? These are the questions we want to look at this morning. So let’s being with a word of prayer.

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