We have been enmeshed in an exciting teaching series called “The Heart of Northstar” the last seven weeks. This series has been designed to illuminate and make actionable our church’s personality and DNA, while reinforcing what we believe, our vision, what we see God calling us to do, why we are who we are and what makes us tick. Yes, it sounds complicated. But is it really? At heart, we’re a community of people dedicated to reaching people with the life-changing message of the Gospel. We also want to see people connected beyond Sundays and growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Or to say it in less words, “to help the whole world find and follow Jesus.”
You can easily discover what a person values by observing how he or she spends his or her time and resources. You can observe a church or any other organization in the same way; what is most important to us is what we spend the majority of our time doing. A majority of our time is spent on the salvation of the lost. We want “church” to signify a living, breathing community reflecting the radical life and teachings of Jesus that brings people to Him. While we have experienced success this year, we are always striving to do better. We constantly challenge ourselves to go bigger in our love for God, love for one another, and love for those disconnected from Him and His Church.
At the same time we are always looking for new ways to improve every facet of the church; we want to be excellent in our customer service, how we treat our members, visitors and guests from the moment they pull into our parking lot to when they leave. And how we respond to them when they call, email or write with a request or concern. We want to do as much as we can to help people grow once they receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And we want people to experience real community in our Northstar Groups.
The challenge is how to do all those things well. It is not easy. In the past, churches mostly looked inward and invested all their resources on the people that attended the church. Today, churches are looking outward, which changes the dynamic and stretches the resources. The local church, by its nature, needs to be deeply ingrained in its communities. The local church is known by those around it, and in return knows those around it. The ability to know those to whom you are ministering can make all the difference. It allows for relationships to be built, nurtured and maintained.
Most of our problems today are good problems to have, but they still must be addressed. Since Northstar is growing, most people would assume that we have the money and thus the means to hire more people to manage our expanding ministries. The simple truth is we cannot achieve what we want to do by growing the staff as the church grows. The simple economics is that the more money we put into staff payroll, the less money we have investing outside the walls of our church. We must count on volunteers even more than we already do today.
Bill Hybels was right when he said, “The local church is the hope of the world.” Most of us would believe that statement.
Based on that belief, let me ask you a direct question. Do you believe Northstar can change the world? Do you believe Northstar can transform your community? Seriously, do you believe it? If you answered those questions with a “yes” then I would like to give you several things to consider that could ultimately make or break our ability to help the world find and follow Jesus.
The first is commitment.