Our vision is clear. It’s a challenging and exciting picture of the future of Greenville Oaks as we believe it can and must be. It sketches a dynamic image of God accomplishing His mission through us.
In Luke 12:48, Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” God has richly blessed Greenville Oaks and He surely has high expectations for every one of us, individually and as a collective church body. He doesn’t want to leave us where we are.
With core values founded on the bedrock of core beliefs, we see God building Greenville Oaks into a powerful yet humble group of Christ followers who accomplish unbelievably amazing things for His Kingdom.
We share a history of witness to God’s blessings – When we were a small church of 300, busting out of our little metal building and overflowing our gravel parking lot, God provided a glimpse into His vision for Greenville Oaks. He wanted to use us for much more than we imagined. He presented us with our current 15-acre site for half its value. He inspired a very high percentage of us to sacrifice greatly in order to buy the land and build a facility that has allowed our family to grow to more than 800. Additionally, God provided a lender that was willing to work with us based on the vision of what we believed that God would do through Greenville Oaks rather than be limited to only what we could support at that time.
The Greenville Oaks church family is very blessed. God continues to assemble a growing and amazingly talented, gifted, loving and humble group of people who are authentically striving to follow Jesus in all of life. Some of us are moms and dads who are trying to model Jesus to our kids. Some young and old are seeking closer relationships with Jesus and each other. Some are elders, ministers, teachers, and ministry and small group leaders whose hearts beat to see this small part of God’s Kingdom reflect His glory brightly throughout every community we touch. Some are just waiting for the right challenge to engage their great potential for God’s Kingdom. God has blessed our church family with a warm, caring, accepting and peaceful environment with many quality ministries.
But, a huge problem exists – With all the blessings God has showered on us and all the good that is done, we still fall short of accomplishing our mission, our most fundamental reason to exist – to seek all who need Jesus and together become his fully devoted followers. We are not reaching very many of the lost people who make up a growing percentage of our community and the world. And we have a long way to go to even grasp what it means to really be fully devoted followers of Jesus. Too many of us continue to struggle as we try to do life by our own power. We have yet to realize the tremendous freedom and power that is available, as together we turn our devotion from self to Jesus.
While our number of members and worship assembly attendance continues to grow, the rate of growth is slowing dramatically. Unless we change what we are doing Greenville Oaks will soon plateau, then gradually decline and eventually die. We cannot and will not let that happen!
God offers the path to a better future – God’s ultimate vision brings us into a final Utopia where we will forever experience the joy of His undiluted presence. Until then we press on with confident assurance that He is directing us to His vision for a better future even while we are here on earth. As we grasp God’s vision and learn to really “be church” rather than “go to church,” then being a part of Christ’s church will make doing life much better now. It’s a better future where we will be loving, learning, laughing and living in harmony together.
Now is the time for radical action – We will not experience this future without taking significant action. Therefore, we must raise the bar of personal and congregational expectation. As the apostle Paul discussed in the first few verses of Roman 12, we must give our all as a holy sacrifice to God and allow Him to transform us so we can see His good, pleasing and perfect will. We must purposefully change our way of thinking and behaving. We must develop a holy discontent for the status quo and seize real passion for truly following Jesus.
Just like in New Testament times, to really seek out and connect with people who don’t know or see any reason to care about Jesus and then help them be transformed into his fully devoted followers will require radically different thinking. We cannot continue doing what we’ve always done (individually or collectively) and expect to more effectively accomplish our mission.
The source of this radical thinking is not new but very old. We must embrace the radically transforming power of the gospel as presented in the first century. Jesus’ teachings were revolutionary! He raised the bar of expectation, but not by requiring stricter adherence to more religious rules and regulations. He came with life-changing good news – to restore relationship between God and humankind.
The idea of being “radical” probably scares many of us – we’re conservatives. We immediately assume that the word means “extreme,” “fanatical” or “liberal.” But the word comes from a fourteenth century Latin word that actually means “from the root.” In botany, the term refers to the “leaves closest to the root.” In surgery, it’s to “cut out the root of the disease.” In math, it’s “closest to the root number.” And in grammar, it’s “the root word.”
To be radical like Jesus requires us to be rooted and grounded in God’s love. The first step is to return to the original purpose for life and recognize that everything has to be rooted and grounded in the truth of God’s Kingdom.
Paul encouraged the church in Colosse to, “Let your roots grow down into Christ and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth” (Col. 2:7 LB).
To be “strong and vigorous in the truth” and to experience the radical change Jesus calls for, we need to build up a generation that is firmly rooted in Christ’s love; a people of absolute surrender, sacrificial living; relentless compassion; whole-hearted reverence; unwavering love; and authentic Christianity.
May 23, Come Ready for Something … Big – With radical passion we envision God’s better future: A future in which He powerfully works through Greenville Oaks as we simply do life together to achieve amazing outcomes for His Kingdom and His glory.
Posted on Sat, April 17, 2010