Witness Relocation Project part 2
We Need from You
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
March 15, 2009
Well, this is our
second week here in this experiment, as we try out new worship
facilities. And we will continue to look at other options and we’ll try
out new facilities until we find someplace that’s functional,
affordable, and available.
Now, last week when we met here, we
took the time to talk about why we’re here in the first place. Why does
Sunrise Wesleyan Church even exist? And we recognized that regardless
of where we are and what facilities we’re using, 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… right here in Charlottetown and
around the world. You and I are the Church, wherever we may be.
to fulfill our calling as a Church, we need to find facilities that
will help us accomplish that calling. And we need to trust that God
will lead us in this search.
So what is our calling? Well, we
reminded ourselves last week that we are here primarily for three
reasons. First of all, we’re here to connect.
We’re About: (Review from last Sunday)
Connecting… with God and with others.
not here just to be a social club; we’re here to connect with the CEO
of the cosmos… the Creator of everything that exists… the Almighty God.
We’re here to connect with Him, grow in Him, and worship in His
presence. That’s our main purpose… to connect with God.
we’re also here to connect with others… with other Christ-followers and
with others who are far from God. And that’s where our location really
becomes important. And you know, that’s my primary concern as we go
through this search. When we’re done this process and we’ve found a new
place, we have to be someplace that can help us connect with people who
are far from God. In fact, 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 from God. This has to be our priority
and our primary concern as we look for a new place and as we evaluate
what we can accomplish there.
We exist to connect with God and with others. A second reason we exist
is to equip.
Equipping… for growth and service.
a church, a fundamental task we have is to help people grow from
whatever they are now to what they can become in Christ. So we want to
equip you with the tools and resources you need, equip you with the
support and encouragement that comes by being part of a Church family,
equip you with some accountability, equip 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. We want
to equip you for personal and spiritual growth so you can become
mature… a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
And 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
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. The Bible tells us we are
representatives of Jesus—we are His ambassadors—and we are entrusted
with the mission of telling others about Him and inviting them to
experience Him for themselves.
So with the understanding that
all true power and authority is infused in us by the Holy Spirit, we as
a Church 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
So that’s what we talked about last week. If you want
to know why we’re here, that’s why we’re here. To connect, equip, and
empower. And as we go through this process of finding a new place for
us to meet on Sunday mornings, those three purposes need to be central
to our thinking.
And you are part of this. You’re not just along
for the ride; you are crucial to our success as a Church. If you are a
Christ-follower and Sunrise is the church you call home, then we need
you. And you need us. For us to achieve our full potential as a
community of Christ-followers and for us to accomplish what God has
called us to do as a Church, we need each other and we all need to get
Ephesians 4:16 (NLT)
As each part does its own
special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is
healthy and growing and full of love.
Notice that it doesn’t
say, “as the pastor does his work.” Or “as the leaders do their work.”
Or even “as some people do their work.” No, this tells us that we all
need to get involved, we each have work to do, and we will only achieve
our potential as we all love each other, serve each other, support each
other, and work together.
So for the rest of our time this
morning, I want to talk about what that means for you. Specifically as
we search for new facilities and settle into a new place, what are some
of the things we need from you?
Seven things that you need to bring to the table…
We Need from You:
and simple, prayer. Nothing of any eternal significance happens without
prayer. Prayer is our means of communicating with God, expressing
ourselves to Him, and inviting Him to step in and act. Remember that
God exists outside of the constraints of our space-time continuum. He
doesn’t face the same limitations we face. He sees the big picture, and
He always knows what’s best. So we need to join together and pray for
His leadership and His guidance for us as we figure where we’re going
to be and how we’re going to reach people from there.
Psalm 73:24 (NLT)
You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.
need to seek His counsel and trust His leading. So I need to ask you to
pray for us as a Church, as well as for me as your pastor.
Colossians 4:2-4 (NLT)
yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for
us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his
mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains.
Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.
As a Christ-follower, you are part of God’s family. And if this is your
church, you are part of the Sunrise family.
Romans 12:10 (GW)
Be devoted to each other like a loving family.
your primary devotion needs to be to Christ. But you also need to be
devoted to your Church family. And I don’t mean that in a cult-like
brainwashing cut-you-off-from-reality kind of way. (Although… Nah.)
What I mean is that if you’re at all able to be here, you should be
with us on Sundays. But don’t just attend; get involved. Participate in
what we’re doing. Join in on what’s happening through the week. Invest
your time, your energy, your efforts, your attention and your resources
here with us. Get together outside of any organized activities. Believe
in what we’re doing. Brag us up to others. Really learn to care for
each other and love each other.
1 John 4:19, 21 (NLT)
each other because he loved us first… And he has given us this command:
Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.
you see how Church is not a place you go to; it’s a family you belong
to? And in healthy families, everyone gives of themselves and the
entire family is strengthened because of it. The clearest picture of
this can be seen in the early Church. In Acts chapter 2, it tells us
how the early believers were devoted to each other. They met together
daily. They had each other over for dinner (kind of like what we’re
doing tonight), they were generous, they prayed together. They gave of
themselves to each other.
Ephesians 2:19-21 (NLT)
citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s
family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the
apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.
We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the
A Kingdom Mindset
means you look beyond yourself. It means that if you believe in what
we’re doing, then you’ll be okay with setting aside some of your own
preferences in order to accomplish what we’re here to do for the
Kingdom of God.
VIDEO – ME CHURCH
You know, it’s amazing
what some people can get hung up on. Early on in the life of Sunrise,
before we had even launched and started holding public worship
services, we had a lady who met a few times with us. And she was a nice
lady, and she was looking for a church to get involved in, and so we
talked with her about Sunrise. And do you know what the determining
factor was for her in not staying with Sunrise? She didn’t like
Well, okay. But we live in a multimedia-driven
society. The people we’re here to reach are used to video and images
and sounds and all kinds of different forms of communication. They use
computers and they use PowerPoint. They listen to songs that are on the
charts right now, not old tapes of Gregorian chants. Sometimes we have
to set aside our personal preferences in order to reach those who are
far from God. Paul understood this…
1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NIV)
have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might
save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share
in its blessings.
Listen, of course your preferences and mine
are considerations in how we do things. It’s not our goal to make
ourselves uncomfortable. But from time to time, all of us will uncover
something we don’t personally enjoy. And instead of getting your
knickers in a knot, relax. Decide right now that you’re okay with
giving up some of your personal preferences if it means reaching more
And sure, if we’re doing something that has no redeeming
value and that’s just plain ol’ stupid (as if that would ever happen),
then by all means talk with me about it. Maybe there’s something you’re
missing, or maybe there’s something I’m missing.
There’s a lady
who attends the Church I used to work at in Bedford, and I remember
when she came to me because she wanted us to sing the old Sunday School
choruses she sang as a kid. But when she came to understand that we
were choosing music because of it’s ability to connect with people far
from God, and not just to create a nostalgia for people who grew up in
the Church, then she was okay with that. In fact, she has now served
for several years on the Leadership Team of that church. She was
willing to set aside her preferences in order for the Church to pursue
An outward focus
at a time like this when the economy is in turmoil, it could be
tempting for us to become very inward focused, to batten down the
hatches, to hunker in a bunker… to just kind of withdraw and limit what
we do and how we reach out. But it’s exactly at times like this that we
need to be reaching out. Because people are looking for hope, and
there’s no greater hope than the hope found in Jesus Christ.
Actually, from what I understand, when the economy goes down there are
three things that always go up:
A. Bar attendance
B. Movie attendance
C. Church attendance
with bar attendance and movie attendance people are looking to escape.
But with Church attendance, people are looking for hope. They’re
looking for answers. They’re looking for meaning beyond the fleeting
materialism that our society is so consumed by. And if we withdraw at a
time like this, we’re going to be shirking our responsibility and we’re
going to be missing opportunities to represent Jesus to people who so
desperately need to meet Him.
Colossians 4:5 (NLT)
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of
says to make the most of every opportunity. And I read that to mean
that we must not turn inward, but instead must continually turn outward
and reach out to those who are far from God.
For you and me,
that means we step up and take advantage of opportunities to talk about
what Jesus means to us. It means that we invite our friends and our
family to come with us to a Worship Celebration. It means we offer to
take them out for lunch afterward to answer any questions they might
have. It means we’re willing to give of ourselves for the benefit of
A positive approach
any location we look at will have positives and negatives. And my
concern is that you will become so fixated on negatives that you won't
be able to see the positives. In fact, I think some of you have already
done that concerning this location. I may be wrong, but my impression
is that some of you had ruled this location out without even giving it
Now, I understand that the stairs here are a major
issue. For the elderly or the disabled, the stairs are a major
hindrance that can prevent them from attending Sunrise. And that
obviously has to be a major factor in our decision about this place and
quite possibly the determining factor. In fact, I think it will be.
But can I also point out that there are a lot of positives to meeting
here? Can’t think of any positives? Let me help.
• This is a good size room with lots of
space for new people
• We’re allowed to store stuff here
through the week
• They really want to have a Church
meeting in here
• It’s clean, and we never have to worry
about picking up beer bottles in the morning
• There are lots of rooms for our
children’s ministry which we haven’t had until now
We’re allowed to put our A-frame sign out along the road and leaving it
on the staircase through the week for marketing purposes
• There are plenty of chairs
• There’s a movable stage area here
• If we need to rent sound equipment it’s
pretty easy to do that here
This building’s at a great location right along a major street with an
unbelievable amount of traffic going by every day.
And it’s pretty affordable… more than we’re paying at the BIS but less
than half of what we’d be paying at most places.
There are lots of positives. The negatives may carry more weight than
any of those, but at least acknowledge them.
I’m going to implement a new rule, starting today. When we try out a
new place, you can’t tear it down until after we try it out. Okay? That
doesn’t mean you can’t voice your opinion, but it means you have to
wait until after you try it out. You’re allowed to like a location or
not like a location, that’s fine. But don’t prejudge it.
[See Numbers 13-14]
you want a Biblical example, go back to the Old Testament. God
appointed Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and to
take them straight to the Promised Land. And he did. Took them right to
the doorstep. And then they sent spies into the land to see what to
expect, what the land was like, and what kind of opposition they would
be facing. And what happened? Well, if you know the story you know that
all of the spies, except for two of them, came back completely fixated
on how big and strong the natives were and about how they would never
be able to overcome them in battle. And they convinced everyone else
that there was no way they would be able to move in and take this land.
Forget that God had promised it to them, they were focused on the
Now, would it have been appropriate for them to come
back and say, “Listen, there’s some serious opposition we’re going to
be facing. And we need to be ready for it, we need to plan for it, we
need to be smart about this…” Would that have been valid? Sure it would
be. But they refused to even consider it and they ended up needlessly
roaming the desert for forty years. I don’t want that to be our legacy.
realize that there are negatives… like there will be in everyplace we
check out. But don’t allow that to blind you to the positives.
go on to number 6. As long as I’m stepping on toes, I may as well keep
at it. If we’re going to go on to a new location and if we’re going to
actually do anything there, then what we need from you is…
you know that everything costs money. Just on Sunday mornings, we have
the cost of rent, our hospitality area, the children’s programs, the
printing of your Sunrise Update and the Children’s bulletins, we have
to buy a copyright license so we can actually show you lyrics to songs,
we have our sound equipment, the computer, and the projector. We have
signage. And that’s just on Sunday morning. On top of all that, we have
our LIFE Groups, we have outreach expenses, we have association
memberships and licenses, we have pastoral expenses, we have office
expenses, we have missionary support, we have a variety of other
ministry expenses… It costs money to operate a church.
especially as we change locations, there will be new expenses. There
could be an increased rent. We’ll need to do some marketing. There will
If you’ve been attending here for any period of
time, you know how reluctant I am to talking about money on a Sunday
morning. But we do need to address it from time to time. Partly because
everything does cost money, but also because giving is a spiritual
issue. What you do with your money is a spiritual issue.
some of you are already tithing. And that’s fantastic. God asks you to
take 10% of what you earn each and every week and give it back to Him
through the Church as a form of worship. That’s what tithing is. Some
of you are doing that, and that’s great. But some aren’t, and to them
Malachi 3:8-10 (NLT)
“You have cheated me of the
tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole
nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse
so there will be enough food in my Temple.”
Now, some of you are
tithing, and I’m not going to ask you to do anymore. If you want to
give beyond a tithe, and if God leads you to do that, then that’s fine.
But that’s between you and Him.
Others of you, you need to step
it up. And not just because we have financial needs as a church,
although we do and we’re significantly behind this year. But really,
that is secondary. No, the reason you need to give is because God asks
you to give. Actually, He doesn’t so much ask as command. God is a
generous God, and He expects His people to be generous people. And He
even promises to reward those who do give generously.
Let’s go back and finish verse 10…
Malachi 3:10 (NLT)
all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my
Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the
windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you
won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”
I said, I’m hesitant to talk about money, because money is such a
touchy subject and people often get offended. But sometimes people need
to be offended. Because if you’re just throwing a few bucks in the
offering box but you’re not tithing, then you’re not being generous;
you’re being disobedient. God even says your cheating Him. You’re
robbing from Him. And on top of that, you’re missing out on His
All right, that’s enough meddling. There’s one more thing that we need
to talk about this morning.
The heart of a servant
I was in college, I traveled nearly every weekend with one of the music
teams. And ever place we went, we’d have to set up our sound equipment.
Sometimes we’d have to do that two or three times in a weekend. Then I
worked at a new Church in South Dakota that was meeting in a school.
And every Saturday night, I’d go in to set up. When I moved back to the
Maritimes, I worked at a new Church that was meeting in a community
center and later moved into a movie theatre. So every Sunday morning,
I’d go in to set up. And then we came here to start Sunrise. I’ve been
setting up and tearing down nearly every weekend since 1990, with a few
breaks here or there.
And do you know why I do it? Because I
understand that every time I set up I’m creating a venue for people to
meet with God. I understand that it’s not just a thankless job, it’s
ministry. It makes a difference. Those of you who help out, setting up
and tearing down every week, it’s ministry. You’re investing that
effort into people’s souls. That matters.
And you know, it can
be so easy to lose sight of that. But we need to remind ourselves that
it’s worth it. And I am always so appreciative for those of you who
help out in that way. You make everything else we do possible.
Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV)
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something
to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a
If you have a servant heart, then you are walking in the footsteps of