Being Strategic

 Being strategic in this post-covid era.   Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2. Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3. and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.   Luke 5:37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.   Boomers – (1946 – 1964) – 71 million people – People in their 60’s & 70’s. Generation X – (1965 – 1984) – 62 million people – People in their 40’s hitting the 60’s. Millennials – (1985 & 1995) – 75 million people – People in their 30’s, hitting 40.   Post covid statistics                                Stayed in the same church          Switched churches           Stopped attending Boomers                           40%                                            11%                                  26%   Generation X                   31%                                            17%                                  35%   Millennials                       26%                                            35%                                  50%   People who switched churches: 68% needed “Prayer and Emotional Support”. 38% needed “Hope and encouragement”. 35% needed “Connection and Community”.   People that stopped attending church: 52% - Because of lack of “Prayer and Emotional Support”. 44% lack of “Hope and encouragement”. 33% lack of “Connection and Community”.   How it effects leadership in the church: -       According to the Schaeffer Institute, 70% of pastors constantly fight depression, -       71% are burned out. -       Meanwhile, 72% of pastors say they only study the Bible when they are preparing for sermons. -       80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. -       70% say they don’t have a close friend.   The Schaeffer Institute also reports that 80% of seminary and Bible school graduates will leave the ministry within five years.    Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high. The church once was a place of refuge and safety, now is no different than a bar or night club.   We must: 1.    Stay focusedProverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;     2.    Stay in prayer1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing. Matthew 21:13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”     3.    Stay in the Word Psalm 119: How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. 12 Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.     4.    Understand our role1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;     5.    Fulfill our Call   Luke 4: 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”   Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.   James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.     Deuteronomy 6: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.     WE CAN’T LEAD PEOPLE WHERE THEY NEED TO GO, IF WE DON’T KNOW WHERE WE ARE GOING.     Our focus for the remainder of 2021: -       Prayer Meetings -       Sunday School -       Small Groups -       Discipleship and Visitation -       Evaluate all areas in the ministry.   Are we being: 1.    Effective - Are we making a difference? 2.    Productive - Are we using our time wisely? 3.    Interactive - Are we involved? 4.    Proactive - Are we stepping out? 5.    Instructive - Are we learning? 6.    Creative - Are we trying new things?   Our core values have not changed, but our approach may need to, -       The church does not look like it did 20 years ago. -       We must adapt to the needs of the community and church.