This is part two in an ongoing series walking through the revitalizing process, so far, of Cypress Lake Baptist Church. You can read part 1 here.
In the process of making the decision to leave my church in VA and moving to Fort Myers, FL to pastor Cypress Lake Baptist Church I came to visit Fort Myers for several days. It was in August 2010 when my family and I hopped on a plane and flew south. We immediately loved the area. I had never been to Fort Myers before (in fact, I didn't even know about Fort Myers until I started talking with this church!). The weekend that we were here the pastor search committee asked me to preach in both the morning and evening services. In these two meetings I preached two messages that would lay a foundation for how I planned to work and see CLBC become a living and thriving church again.
My morning message, The Church's One Foundation, was from Matthew 16:13-20. In this message I wanted to highlight the truth found in verse 18. Jesus told Peter, and the disciples, that He would build His church and the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. That is a comforting promise. I wanted our church to know from the very beginning that if our church would ever live and thrive and make an impact for the kingdom of God it would be through Christ building His church.
I recognize how simplistic this sounds, but it's actually not simplistic at all. It's not simplistic because I like to build things. It's not simplistic because I like to come up with ideas and ways to 'do' church. The idea of trusting that Christ will build His church takes a certain patience that I do not typically display very well. Nevertheless, I found it important to lay out this truth before this church voted to call me as their pastor.
That evening I preach a message, The Church's Mission, from Matthew 28:18-20. In this message I wanted to highlight that the way in which Christ builds His church is through His church. What I mean by this is that the church is to be about making disciples of all nations. It is true that the people of God ought to be about the work of God. It is true that as a church we would think about making disciples of all nations. We would become involved, quickly, in reaching others with the good news of Jesus Christ. And this wouldn't be limited to one people group or one particular area. We would certainly seek to be faithful in serving and reaching those in our immediate area, but we would also be about reaching the unreached peoples of the world. And while we would do this we would have to remember that it isn't our church that is building the church, but rather Christ working in and through the church to build His church.
With these two messages preached I had hoped to lay out a vision for how we would see CLBC revitalized. My hope was that if this church asked me to be their pastor they would realize that my plan for the church would be fairly simple. I would preach God's Word to the best of my ability. I would lead our church to reach out with the gospel of Jesus Christ to those around us. I would lead our church to engage the nations for Christ. But the foundation for all of these things would be the promise that Jesus said He would build His church. We would seek to do it God's way because that is the way that God will build His church. If this were to happen we would have to not on sing, but whole heartedly believe, that the church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord.