Sometimes people begin with a relationship with Jesus and over time they develop relationships with others in the church. Sometimes they begin with relationships in the church that ultimately lead to a relationship with Jesus. Either way, we ultimately need both for our church to grow and flourish. The more aggressive our people are in pursuing both types of relationship the more fruitful we are.
We need to make sure that all of our teaching on Sunday mornings and in our groups is true and Biblically based, but beyond that we need to continually emphasize, teach and celebrate the truth of the Gospel. If someone only ever listens to one sermon or attends one small group they should walk away with a picture of what it means to be saved by Jesus and to follow Him as Lord.
Faith & Dependence on God
We aren't called to play it safe or pursue comfort. We need to continually seek God's will and follow Him into uncomfortable territory when He leads us there. I have an idea of what we can do in our own power and it pales in comparison to what God wants to do in and through us, both as individuals and as a church.
Transformation & Growth
Those who don't know Jesus should come to know Him and those who know Him should be growing in their fruitfulness and effectiveness. We need to continue to seek and pursue the lost while teaching those within our church to follow and obey all that Jesus commands. Healthy churches don't continually fall into predictable ruts...either do healthy Christians.
We can't wait for people to come to us. We need to engage and penetrate our community in meaningful ways. This should be happening through organized Riverside events as well as through individual church members. Some events will specifically proclaim the Gospel to our neighbors. The purpose of other events will be to love and serve our neighbors and meet their needs, always looking for an opportunity or open door to share the reason for the hope that is in us.
Planting new churches is an effective way to reach new people and a way to challenge new leaders to step out in faith. As we continue to plant churches we have a reason to prepare and develop new leaders in every area and ministry of Riverside. As we continue to grow this will lead to an ongoing cycle of identifying and developing leaders, training them, and sending them out. In this way the Gospel continues to spread and Riverside always has an incentive to grow and develop leaders.
Jesus was generous with us beyond measure. We should desire to be known as a generous church. Generosity is a language that cuts across all barriers and shows people that we are living what we claim to believe. Riverside should be a generous church and our people should be generous with all that they have.
We need to avoid distractions and remain focused on doing a few things really well. There are a lot of things that we "could" do, but that doesn't mean that we "should" do them. We should encourage our members to pursue a wide variety of ministry opportunities as they feel led by God, but as a church we should keep our focus on doing the things that God has called us to do with excellence.