CHURCH GROWTH THROUGH GOAL SETTING
By: Rev. R. G. Eskridge
It has been said that “It is not the gale but the set of sail whether you go”….I believe this is one of the most picturesque views concerning this subject of goal setting…There are many winds that blow into our sails of life, and there are many storms of disappointments that stand between our dreams and the distant shore of grandeur. God help us not to be standing idle in the market place as Jesus saw some in the eleventh hour. I say let us hoist up the main sail and let the wind of faith blow stronger and stronger and stronger until nothing will hinder us in reaching our goals for the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
II. REPRODUCTION IS ALWAYS “AFTER ITS KIND”
When looking at the dawn of creation, God said, “Let there be light” and suddenly total darkness became a radiant brightness. Then He made the great whales of the sea and the winged fowl of the air and the cattle and all the beast of the field. After this, He gave a heavenly command to these creatures and as far as any man can tell, this is the only commandment He gave a fowl or a whale or a creeping thing of this earth, And this was that command: “LET THE EARTH BRING FORTH THE LIVING CREATURE AFTER HIS KIND AND THE FOWL OF THE AIR AFTER HIS KIND AND THE FISH OF THE SEA AFTER THEIR KIND”….My dear Brother, that formula of creation should be aglow within the bosom of every one of us. Every person in the Book of Acts that was miraculously filled with the Holy Ghost was a Spiritual Dynamo for their Master. Peter preached; while he was yet speaking, suddenly there were three thousand shouting, rejoicing and praising God like the KIND: similar to the one hundred and twenty who WERE in the Upper Room. Philip went to Samaria producing converts like the KIND at Pentecost. Paul traveled through great cities, villages, hamlets, jail houses, sailed on uncharted seas; and when they were born again, they were after the KIND of the Day of Pentecost. I believe that we are producing saints that are the KIND of the Day of Pentecost: Repentance, Baptism in the Name of Jesus, and the Infilling of the Holy Ghost… but are we producing the Total Christian who is consumed with enthusiasm and a burning desire to attain reachable goals….If we are not feeling this within our congregation, maybe we as a leader are producing after our KIND!!! One time in a revival in Arkansas, one man jumped up and said, “Folks, What this church needs is more…”Thuazm”….Another dear Brother stood up and said, “No friends, What this church needs is more “Rizzem” and Gizzem”….Whatever it is let it take hold of us with a heavenly fervency.
III. LOCAL CHURCHES GROW ONLY THROUGH GOD-INSPIRED GOALS AND PROGRAMS
We read of a large crowd in the Gospels who had been listening to Jesus teach, and it was toward evening now; and they were very hungry. I would say that it is toward evening now and the crowd that we meet every day is also very hungry. They searched through the crowd and found one boy with a small lunch of five loaves and two fish. We have all read and remember the results and all that we see is the source who is the Saviour and the five thousand that were fed. But between the Master and the crowd, there was a very important attribute to this miracle. The Scripture reads: “Jesus looking up to Heaven, He blessed and brake the bread and fish and…..GAVE THE LOAVES AND FISH TO THE DISCIPLES, AND THE DISCIPLES TO THE MULTITUDE. My dear brother, there is the secret of the miracle. The success of this miracle lay within the hands of the disciples, and so is the growth of our individual churches. As long as the disciples kept handing the loaves and fish to the crowd, Jesus kept the miracle flowing from the heavenly tables. Notice the food had to first touch the Master’s hand and then the disciples…..I want to say that any goals or desires to see our churches grow which have not been touched by the hands of heaven will not produce the desired spiritual results. Our Lord does not touch carnal hands but only those saturated
in prayer and fasting.
IV, REACHABLE GOALS CREATE A PRODUCTIVE CHURCH CLIMATE
It takes a certain climate to produce many products in this life. Do you know that you will not find petrified wood in Louisiana or Mississippi. The reason is because it is too wet and damp. Only in the West will you find petrified wood. They have perfect climate to produce this type of material…..Being from the coast, I can tell you that the conditions have to be just right and the barometric pressure must stay at a certain degree for a certain length of time to give birth to a hurricane. So as it is in our churches. If we want revival and if we want our churches to blossom into great spiritual forces, we must create the climate with setting reachable goals.
V. REACHABLE GOALS HELP ELIMINATE CHURCH PROBLEMS
I would like to share with you a few of the projects that have been successful here in our church. Every goal that has been set, be it Sunday School or Sheaves for Christ, the Lord has helped us reach them. I say that very gratefully and humbly. We have never tried to set an unreachable goal. I think we make a mistake by looking at some other churches and say within ourselves, “If I set a small, unherald goal someone will make light of it. I personally think we have passed the day of comparing our success with each other….If my brother has five hundred in Sunday School and trying for a thousand, I say God bless him… But I feel that my church is anxiously waiting for this Pastor to give them something to reach for within the growth of their home church, I’ll tell you one thing. If we don’t give them something to strive for, it won’t be long; and they will be going over there to help that congregation reach one thousand in Sunday School. If you don’t keep your
people busy, and I mean really busy, they will start criticizing and finding fault with one another; and you know when they get through with each other, we all realize who will be their next victim. The nest person in line is YOU, my Dear Brother.
VI. METHODS OF GOAL SETTING:
A few more things I have done is trying to set goals in our annual business meeting. One example:….I’ll get the Sunday School register and count how many people we had each Sunday for the past year and give them a total saying “Can you believe that ten thousand people came through these doors last year?” Naturally, most of them were the same people every Sunday but encourage them to make it fifteen thousand next year by increasing the Sunday School average….You can have a twenty-four hour prayer chain quarterly for a week….Set your heart to schedule these spiritual goals….There will always be people going on vacation and usually about the time God impresses you to lead the church forward, the latest flu epidemic will arrive in town…The secret is to
act like everyone is just doing wonderfully, and we are doing big business for God….A well-worn cliche: “Enthusiasm is contagious”….I knew of one pastor in California who preached on the coming of the Lord for three weeks every night, and people became so excited that they came to church early so that they could sit by the windows to watch for our Lord’s appearing…If you’ll preach faith, people will start believing… If you start preaching about the Holy Ghost, it won’t be very long, and they will be receiving the Holy Ghost in every service!
There was a man in one of our churches who went downtown and was passing out tracts. While passing the pamphlets out, he would say in moaning tones….”Won’t you take my Jesus? Won’t you take my Jesus?”….Some man quickly walking by said, “Man, I’ve got enough troubles without your Jesus!”….The essence of this is let us lift up our heads high and present our Lord Jesus Christ to be the most exciting, wonderful, thrilling experience to ever invade their lives.
VII. THROUGH GOD’S HELP, YOUR GOALS CAN BE REALIZED:
Some good men do not set goals because they feel like they do not have qualified people. Did you ever consider David’s first army? The Bible describes them to be very unskilled, wayfaring men who were just waiting for dedicated leadership….One man has said….”DESIRE DETERMINES A MAN’S DESTINY”…The only reason we are able to have this seminar is that many years ago there was a young man who was dissatisfied with the norm, Christopher Columbus, we are told, walked through the prisons and gathered his crew because no one else would offer to set said to worlds
unknown….His story reveals that many began to die with Malaria, and no one believed in this explorer’s dream. There will be times when not one person will stand with you; but if you have received your instructions from God, keep your eyes in that direction and pursue toward your goal…and you will be rewarded and the church of the living God will be blessed. The statisticians tell us that 95% of the world is lead by the other 5%. Let us ask ourselves; “Are we a follower or a leader?”…
Before there can be an atomic explosion, there has to be what the scientist describes as an emplosion…What happens when there is an emplosion is the atoms split invisibly inside and then suddenly there is a monumental explosion that totally rearranges the whole environment. The same thing must happen to us if we are going to see a tremendous growth in our churches. Let us pray that there will be a Holy, Heavenly Explosion within so those that are around us can experience another Day of Pentecost Explosion.
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