Strap: Church and Missions
Standfirst: A church is an expression of the lives of the members.
By: Melissa Chen
Casey Treat, senior pastor of Christian Faith Center, Seattle, started the ‘Church Growth’ elective by comparing a church’s growth to a believer’s own personal life.
Quoting from Matthew 12:33-35, he mentioned: “A tree is always known by its fruit. A good fruit represents a good treasure of the heart while bad fruits are problems and negativity of an evil heart, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Casey continued to challenges his audience by asking them, “What are you speaking out of your heart today, in the areas of your life, business, church, money?”
|CN PHOTO: Jimmy Yong|
Casey summarised his message into the following five pointers:
1. Having a clear, motivating vision and mission from the head of the church–Jesus
It is important to have a vision in one’s life as it has the power to motivate.
• It must be specific and not vague, fantasy or idealistic. Visions are things that you are able to do today and can be personal or a ministry.
• It must be written down plainly so that those who read it can run with it.
• It is passionate—that which you are living and willing to die for.
• It must inspire team-spirit, because a place of agreement is a place of power.
• It must capture your heart.
Treat challenged the audience, “Do not go through life with a ‘survivalist mentality … Living a life that is not exciting, just wanting to get by!” He explained that many people don’t make the effort to pray and study the Bible, but would rather be partying because they have no vision on what God has called them to be.”
2. Relationships are the glue that makes life work through the hard times and all other times.
Like a church, a body is made up of many parts. If these parts are not coordinated, the body will not be able to function well together. The greatest church is built on great and successful relationships. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” It is crucial to have friends that know the real us, people whom we can put down our guard around.
3. Our lives should connect with every nation, ethnic group and kind of person.
It is extremely important not to be a church that discriminates other ethnic groups, genders, nations but can be open to all. We must be very conscious of cultural differences and try to minister to others.
4. The ‘spirit of our lives’ must be in agreement with the Word, the Spirit and the vision of God.
Our spirit must always match our core values. The ‘spirit of our lives’ are usually the fruits of a believer which determines whether the person is leading a victorious or mediocre life. “We are to guard our hearts as it is our sin nature that is messing things up.”
5. Renewal is a core value for everyone who walks with God and sees his success in life.
Renewal has to do with change. It is not about having positive thinking but rather exchanging our thoughts for God’s thoughts. A believer has to put away the “old man” and put on the “new man” according to the image of God. Casey stresses the thorns and thistles in our lives are like weeds that will choke up the word.
Casey concluded the session by encouraging all believers to set their mind on things that are above and not on things on this earth.