Archive for January, 2016
I am committed to God’s inerrant and infallible Word and its final authority for all we believe and practice… period. Every word from a politician or preacher, author or educator, king or a president is secondary. We filter everything through God’s Word.
Therefore, as pastors, it is incumbent upon us to teach people the Word of God. One of the premiere principles we must teach them is how to walk with God personally.
The Need is Obvious
It is more than obvious that we must teach people how to walk with God personally. The world we live in today is a constant challenge. Promises are continually broken. Faithfulness in friendships is rare. Marriages are in crisis. Families are falling apart. Unforgiveness in relationships is normative. Financial crises happen.
People need to know how to navigate through these and other challenges they face not just periodically, but continually.
The need is obvious. We must teach people how to walk with God personally. Here are some ways I suggest we can do this:
1. Teach People the Importance of Reading the Bible
I really believe reading the Scripture daily is the major way people learn to navigate through challenges in their own lives. Scripture provides eternal truths, principles to live by, and stories that inspire.
This is why I think it is absolutely imperative that our people be challenged to read the Scriptures daily. We can challenge them to read a chapter a day, especially at the first of each day. We can challenge them to read through the New Testament in a year. We can challenge them to read through the Bible in a year.
As a pastor, do not under-challenge your people. God will guide them on what to do, but we must share with them the power of reading through the Scriptures. They need to know why it is important and what it will do for their life. Not only should we encourage them to read the Scripture, we should give them a plan.
2. Teach People the Importance of Prayer
People need to be taught how to pray. In fact, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. They asked Him how to pray and he showed them.
We need to teach God’s people how to pray. We need to teach them why prayer is important in their life. We need to teach them how God can use prayer to mold us to the truthfulness of the Scriptures. We need to teach His people how to pray the Scriptures and how to stand on them in times of need.
We need to take time for prayer in worship services. We need to take prayer seriously in these services. We need to plan what to pray about during these times as much as we plan what songs we are going to sing. The lessening of prayer in public worship services and the role of the pastor’s prayer in worship services is one of the reasons our people may not know how to pray. The pastor must pray with clarity and conviction. He needs to inspire God’s people to pray.
3. Teach People to Have Focused Times with God
The most effective way to teach people how to have focused time with God is to lead them to do so corporately with your church. Pastors can lead their church to have a special day, week, or season of prayer focused for a specific purpose.
It takes time for churches to grow in these principles just as it takes time for individuals to grow. Pastors have the privilege to teach their people about the value of specific, focused prayer seasons.
Here at Cross Church, we have done this in all kinds of ways. In fact, we are entering into a 21-day period of prayer and fasting from January 10 January 31. We will close this focused season by dedicating each of our eleven services on all five campuses to prayer.
People learn by doing what God’s Word teaches. Pastors, we must not only teach them with words, but with our life, and then lead them to experience it with us.
In 2016, commit yourself to teaching people how to walk with God. Remember, we teach what we know; we reproduce what we are.
Now is the Time to Lead,
Ronnie W. Floyd
1. Turning the Tide in Evangelism
I have written recently about the deep need we have to turn the tide relating to our evangelism through our churches. Somehow, some way, our pastors and church leaders must lead the way in being convinced again that evangelism matters.
If we truly believe in the gospel, we will be evangelistic. If we are truly a people of the gospel, how can we not want to see people come to Christ? We need to practice the gospel we talk, write, and preach about so much. Practicing the gospel involves many things, but above all, it must involve sharing Christ with the intention of leading others to faith in Christ.
It is time to return to the urgency of being personal evangelists and active participants in churches. We must be intentional in leading people to faith in Christ, encouraging others to follow in baptism immediately, engaging in church membership vibrantly, and living on mission with God daily.
As a convention, we need to again celebrate evangelism. We have been way too hesitant to do so. Leave behind the analysts and the critics of evangelism. Jesus is more than clear as recorded in Matthew 4:19, “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!”
2. Turning the Tide in Our Nation
2016 may go down in history as the year America begins to find our way back to God or we depart from God even further. I believe the people of God will determine the future of America.
As God’s people, we need to pray like never before and we need to pray for the next Great Spiritual Awakening in America. Prayer is not inaction, but our greatest action.
In this pivotal election year in our nation, we need to educate ourselves on the candidates and the issues, not only at the presidential level, but also at each level of government and service. Relating to our nation’s highest office, we need to pray now for God to raise up His future leader for America. Prayerfully, God will have mercy on our nation in this hour.
I encourage you to consider leading your church to set aside a day or days for prayer and fasting for our nation. Additionally, pray for our nation during worship services. Another call to consider is turning an entire Sunday morning service into a time for prayer.
Cross Church is setting aside 21 days in January for prayer and fasting. We will conclude these days by giving the entirety of all eleven worship services to prayer on each of our five campuses. Yes, all eleven services that day will be focused on prayer. Pray for our fellowship as we go on this spiritual journey that will conclude on Sunday, January 31.
3. Turning the Tide in Our Upcoming Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri
Last year, we saw a very positive turn in our Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. We saw a positive turn in attendance, spirit, and in the program itself. As we build upon last year, I believe we have potential to see a real upsurge on June 14-15 in St. Louis.
This can happen and should happen when pastors and church leaders determine the necessity to have representation from their church in St. Louis. Each church can bring messengers, so please reserve your space now.
Every church that invests financially in our gospel work together through the Cooperative Program should come to St. Louis to learn more about the investment your church is making. Every church that is concerned about the reports of bringing home hundreds of our missionaries from the field should come to St. Louis. Unquestionably, any church that is concerned about the future of our nation should join us in our appeal to God to awaken America and empower us to reach the world for Christ. To this, we need to agree, unite, and pray together.
4. Turning the Tide in Our Financial Support Through the Cooperative Program
Last fall, I conducted conference calls with 400 – 500 pastors, talking to them about the need to increase their church’s financial support through the Cooperative Program. I have given a lot of my time privately and publicly on this subject.
Be encouraged! Churches are responding and we will see the results of this within the next year through the year of 2020. From smaller membership to larger membership churches, we are seeing a stronger growth commitment.
This is the time for each of our churches to pray through and begin to give more through our partnership ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Cooperative Program is the most strategic way your church can advance the gospel through your state, our nation, and the world.
Now is the time to turn the tide in the Southern Baptist Convention. It begins with me. It begins with you. It begins with Cross Church. It begins with your church. We can do this, if we will.
Now is the Time to Lead,
Ronnie W. Floyd
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is currently serving as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.7 million members in over 51,094 churches nationwide.
To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email email@example.com.