Witness Relocation Project part 1
Church On the Move
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
March 1, 2009
Well, this is obviously
a different day for us as a Church, and a very important day as we
really begin our search for new facilities where we can meet on Sunday
As we’ve said over and over again, you and I are the
Church. The Church is not where we meet; it’s who’s meeting. It’s not
the location; it’s the people. It’s not a building or a structure; it’s
the community of Christ-followers. You and I are the Church, wherever
we may be.
However, for the Church to gather for our Worship
Celebrations, we obviously need a place to do that. Now, if we were in
Hawaii, we could just meet under a palm tree someplace. I’ve heard of
churches that have done that. If we were in Southern California, then a
nice spot on the beach would do. I’ve heard of that, too.
And there are times that would work here, too. But for the other 48
Sundays of the year, we need a building we can meet in.
that’s what we’re trying out here today. This is a test run… an
experiment. Maybe this experiment will be a success, or maybe it will
fail. We’ll try it out for these couple of weeks and see. There are
pluses and minuses, positives and negatives here, just like there would
be in any facility. What I need to ask you to do is not to become so
preoccupied with the negatives that you ignore the positives.
fact, in your Sunrise Update, you’ll see a short form you can use to
communicate your feelings about this location. Now understand, this in
not a vote. It’s going to come down to the leadership of this Church to
make a decision on what we believe to best for us moving forward. But
this is an opportunity for you to make your voice heard.
since we’re at such a crossroads right now, and because our decisions
about these matters will shape the direction we go as a Church, I want
to take this morning to remind you why we’re here in the first place.
What is our mission? What’s our purpose? Why does Sunrise Wesleyan
Church even exist? And then next week, we'll continue on and I'll talk
about what I need from you as we look for new facilities and beyond.
let’s start with why we’re here. And we’re here really for three
reasons. We’re here to Connect, Equip, and Empower. Let’s talk about
the first one…
Connecting… with God and with others.
here to connect primarily with God. And that can happen anyplace. Now,
there are places that are more conducive to a worshipful atmosphere… I
mean, it’s easier to worship God in a location where there are no
distractions than it is in a location with the constant sound of a
jack-hammer and heavy machinery. But that’s our limitation, not God’s.
As Jesus, who is God, said…
Matthew 18:20 (NLT)
“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there
connecting with God can and should happen anyplace. Connecting with
others… well, that’s where location really comes into play.
did the first Christ-followers go to connect with others? Well, in
order to connect with each other, they met in homes and in the
Acts 2:46 (NLT)
They worshiped together at the
Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their
meals with great joy and generosity…
That’s where they connected
with each other. But in order to connect with others who were far from
God, they had to be a little more proactive. So they would go to the
marketplace and to businesses and to public settings in order to meet
people who were far from God and to bring them closer to Him.
fact, all through the book of Acts, as the early Church was getting
established and was growing and spreading, you see Paul going from town
to town. And everyplace he would go, he would go to the synagogue to
tell people about Jesus. Was he going there because it was a religious
building? Maybe, but it would also be a public location, right in the
center of town, kind of like a town square. And Paul would be
surrounded by people there who were far from God, and he would have the
opportunity to tell them about Jesus.
Here we are this morning
at Sobers. Will this location help us reach more people who are far
from God, or will it make it harder? How about the next place we try
out? You know, that’s my primary concern as we go through this search.
I don’t want to end up anyplace, no matter how nice and comfortable it
may be, if it means we won’t be able to connect with people who are far
Equipping… for growth and service.
greatest thing we have been part of as a Church is helping people who
were far from God enter into a relationship with Him and then grow in
that relationship. A close second has been taking people who perhaps
were in a relationship with God before they came to Sunrise, but still
helping them grow from wherever they were. Listen, God loves us just
the way we are but He loves us too much to leave us that way. He wants
us to grow. He expects us to grow… personally and spiritually. And as a
church, a fundamental reason we exist is to help people grow from
whatever they are now to what they can become in Christ.
way we do that is by equipping you. Equipping you with the tools and
resources you need, equipping you with the support and encouragement
that comes by being part of a Church family, equipping you with some
accountability, equipping you through our Sunday messages, through LIFE
Groups, and seminars and whatever else we can do. We want to equip you
to grow. We want to move you along this continuum [PowerPoint: Far from
God → Fully Devoted follower of Christ], from wherever you are right
now, farther to the right. Talking about church leaders, Paul said…
Ephesians 4:11-13 (NLT)
responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the
church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to
such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be
mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of
We want to equip you for personal and spiritual growth so you can
become mature… a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
we also want to equip you for service. We believe we serve God best by
serving others. And so we seek to help you discover how you can use
your gifts and talents to invest in the lives of others… to serve God
by serving them. Jesus Himself said…
Mark 10:45 (NLT)
“For even the Son of Man [Jesus] came not to be served but to serve
He set the standard for us on what it means to serve… to serve out of
humility and with a love and compassion for others.
1 Peter 5:5 (NLT)
“And all of you, serve each other in humility, for ‘God opposes the
proud but favours the humble.’”
Okay, so we’re about Connecting, we’re about equipping, and the third
thing is we’re about empowering.
Empowering… for mission and ministry.
mandate we have is the same mandate Jesus gave to every Church… to
represent Him to our world… to offer others the same hope, love, peace,
joy, and forgiveness we have found in Him.
Colossians 3:17 (NLT)
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus…
2 Corinthians 5:19-20 (NLT)
God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting
people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of
reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his
appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to
We are Christ’s amabassadors. We’re His representatives to
the world today. He’s making His appeal through us. We’re empowered by
Him and by the presence of the Holy Spirit. And what are we empowered
to do? To fulfill what Jesus told us to do.
Matthew 28:19 (NLT)
“…Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name
of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
this morning, Sandra and Shera talked about how they were part of
fulfilling this mandate in Guatemala. And global missions is a big part
of our mission. But we are also empowered to represent Jesus right here
in our city and in our communities. We represent Him globally and
locally. In fact, there’s a new term that’s been coined to a church
that has a global and a local mission mindset. We want to be a “Glocal”
What does that mean for us? It means we want to partner
with Jesus, and we want to empower you with a heart for others and a
sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit as we live our lives
every day. It means we need to show you how to talk about your faith
with others. We need to empower you to answer questions people might
have about Jesus and Christianity. We just completed a whole message
series on The Faith to help you with that, and we have two LIFE Groups
right now dealing with those kinds of issues.
We need to
empower you for this mission of representing Jesus and telling people
about Him. And we need to empower you for ministry. We want to unleash
you to really make a difference. We want to empower you with trust and
responsibility to minister to the needs of others.
Equipping… Empowering. If you want to know why we’re here, that’s why
we’re here. And whatever facility we end up in, it needs to help us
accomplish those three things, not prevent us from accomplishing them.