When I arrived at Trinity, I gave all those in leadership a book (that can still be ordered at the Pastor’s Picks table) entitled “What Is A Healthy Church?” - the reason I gave this particular book is that Mark Dever establishes the idea, from Scripture, of what the vision of Trinity should be. I know this comes as a shock in the numbers-driven Baptist life, but I do not have a goal as to how many members Trinity should run, or what kinds of building I want us to have…not only that, but I think it would be working way outside the standard of Scripture for any Pastor to say that they “have a Word from God” as to what they should be running, or what their buildings should look like. I want to spend this time sharing with you what we should look like according to the Word of God, and how this is going to happen.
Expositional Preaching: As stated before, I believe Trinity should expect the Word of God to be proclaimed every time we meet. If we grow in this area, it means that five years down the road, when someone stands up and gives a sermon that is not derived from the texts of the sacred script, we as a Church just don’t like the way it tastes. We, as people of God must become people that are accustomed to hearing what God says on a particular subject. I heard a pastor some time ago preach a sermon Prov. 29:18 KJV “Where there is no vision the people perish….” -he conveniently left out the last part of the verse that says: “but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” He made the entire sermon one of setting goals (mostly numerical) for a church and how if a church doesn’t have these types of goals in mind, they are in trouble. Problem - the church didn’t gag on the sermon. Now, I don’t mean be rude or unbecoming, but a mature church will have a restlessness/uneasiness when the Word isn’t dealt with properly. They will have confidence that their Pastor will correct the misuse of Scripture. By the way, the point of Prov. 29:18 has NOTHING to do with setting goals in a church or in life, the proper interpretation would be: “where there is no revelation the people perish….” The point is where the Word of God is not delivered, the people will perish. My desire is that in the next five years, Trinity Baptist Church has a clear understanding of what biblical preaching sounds like and not only can recognize untruth, but has a distaste for anything contrary to Scripture. I want us to be a thinking Church and for the preaching of the Word of God to be a time of intense participation on everyone’s part!
Biblical Theology: We are seeing this take place now in some ways…but this needs to be evident beyond simply what we preach, to include what is taught in Sunday School, what songs are sung by the choir and in our congregation, as well as what is being taught to our children and teens. One of the reasons I am so thrilled to have Bro. Jon in place is there is an incredible emphasis on this in his ministry. Too often today Worship Pastors like the way a song sounds, but seem to never stop and listen to the words and see what they say theologically. When we SING the same theology we TEACH and PREACH, we will have a view of God, salvation, the Church that has its foundation in Scripture. We are seeing this come together but this will take years of consistency in every area to accomplish - by God’s grace we will get there!
Biblical Understanding Of The Gospel: As believers, we never get beyond the cross. We need the cross for our salvation, but we need it for our daily lives, we need it for humility, we need it for our parenting, our marriage, and on and on. I don’t believe we ever get beyond this as a church! We will always be in battle with the “church culture” to remind old members, new members and visitors what the Gospel is all about. We need our leaders to rightly define the gospel - we need our children to be able to define the gospel. If we cease to comprehend this, and cease to teach this, we will cease to be a true church. If we get this right, we will have people with a passion to reach their neighbors and touch our community.
I will delve into more of this “vision” or goals for TBC in my next blog. But realize, this is not just where I want to be in five years, but also in fifty years! We don’t get beyond these things or say we have reached this “level” and we set loftier goals… we aspire to be a biblically based, solid, doctrinal and true Church in every way Scripture lays it out – not exactly a goal we will just “accomplish” this side of Heaven – but one we sure need to work on nonetheless! We will hold these goals out as our “vision” for Trinity because it is what I believe Scripture holds before us – we will, as we grow and mature, simply go deeper into these truths and understand more about how we are to live them out! May we never be satisfied with where we are as a Church or be in the dangerous position of believing that we have somehow “attained” the prize set before us and be content to rest!