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Editor: Ed Barnes      ph 865-458-5043     

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Vol 5 No 6 February 6, 2000

Taking Aim At Our Goals

Ed Barnes

OUR LORD HAD A PURPOSE in mind when he designed and built his church. It is our duty as his servants to take aim at that purpose. Taking aim involves that we do two things:

1) Identify God's purpose for establishing the church

2) Set ourselves to fulfilling God's purpose for the church.

Both are equally important and necessary, and we must do both. There are many hard working churches that seem to be unaware of God's purpose for the local church. On the other hand, there are churches who are very aware of God's purpose for the church, but are not working to accomplish that purpose.

We who make up the church here in Loudon must not only understand the will of the Lord for the church, but must also set ourselves to accomplishing that will. It sounds easy, but there are many churches, with noble intentions, that seem to be unaware of what their real purpose is. For example, the goal of some local churches is merely to meet the status quo which has been established over the years by other congregations. As long as they are accepted by their peers, look and act like their sister churches, they have attained their only practical goal and feel safe and secure. The goal of other churches may be no more than the attainment of certain financial objectives. As long as they have a nice building and a full-time preacher they feel secure. Still other churches may look to the acceptance of certain doctrinal issues to provide meaning for their existence. As long as they have assumed the right position alongside particular issues or disputes, and are acknowledged as faithful by particular brethren, they are comfortable and content.

While not discounting the usefulness of some of the above mentioned objectives, we need to make certain that we are looking intently, honestly, and objectively to the New Testament to provide the final authority for establishing our identity and goals as a local congregation of God's people.

According to the New Testament a local church consisted of a group of Christians in a particular location who seemed to stay very busy in the performance of but a few basic duties. The duties involved:

First, attending to the physical needs of other Christians as need, opportunity and ability demanded (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37; 11:29-30; 1 Cor 16:1-2; 2 Cor 8-9). Second, preaching the gospel and supporting gospel preachers as they proclaimed the good news to the world (Acts 8:1-4; 11:19-22; Phil 1:3-8). And thirdly working together in love and harmony to maintain personal purity and faithfulness within the local church (James 1:27; Gal 5:13; 6:1,2; 1 Cor 12:12-30; Eph 4:11-16). Within these three basic areas of responsibility, early Christians were kept busy attending to the numerous details tha t made up their work as a local group of god's people.

We believe that Christians today who make up a local church have the same basic duties as did churches in the first century. But, it is not enough to think only in general terms. We need to think specifically about our work here and take aim at those things that need to be done. Someone once said with regard to the small print in legal contracts "the devil is in the details". So it is with regard to the work of a local church. We must realize that success also resides in the details. Our ultimate goals of taking the gospel to the lost, edifying the saints, and administering to the physical needs of the saints cannot be achieved without attending to the specific details that will, when added together, achieve the greater goal. Indeed, the greater goal can be achieved in no other way.

For the next few months our goals here at Loudon should include the following specific items: 1) Finishing up the remodeling work as soon as possible. Such will certainly improve our class room situation, which, in turn, will be an expedient to our Bible teaching program. Concluding this project will be a great encouragement to the members of the church here as well as a statement to the neighborhood that we are moving forward in the Lord's work here. 2) Use some of the currently available evangelistic tools (welcome folders, correspondence courses, tracts, etc. to inform and influence the community about our mission here as Christians, and their need for the gospel. 3) We now have a minimum number of elders and deacons now leading and serving the church. There are others who could qualify to serve in these offices with but a little more effort and resolve. We encourage such men to seriously consider this challenge. 4) We have weak and unfaithful members who need to be encouraged by calls, visits and loving admonitions.

There may be other goals I have omitted that may seem obvious to you. If so, please tell me and mention will be made of them. At any rate, the four outlined briefly here should be enough to keep us pretty busy for a while. "Brethren . . . think on these things." (Phil 4:8).

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