Towards the Image of God

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Abstract

It is reported that churches are in rapid decline and in poor health. In addition, there is high pastor turnover. Many see a lack of leadership as a major contributing factor. This paper argues that an intentional refocusing of discipleship, grounded on the doctrine of the imago Dei can lead a church to recover the mission Christ gave his church. To that end, this paper argues that a five-fold process is needed in leading the church to recover its mission of making disciples. Leaders must help believers be intentional about spiritual growth, lead them to commit to the vision Christ gave his church, surrender to God’s will, be an active part of the mission, and in turn invest in others and help them grow as disciples.

The Problem

Today many churches are struggling to grow. According to Rainer (2019) 70% of churches are declining or plateauing, while only 30% are growing by reaching new people. The same study found that only 7% of churches are reproducing via church plants. Elsewhere Rainer (2014) states plainly that, “many of our congregations, plain and simple, are not in good health.” In addition to experiencing decline, many are experiencing Continue reading

Relational Investment

692da7d5b71cf0a434df0f0ea333cd9bIn the book of Ecclesiastics Solomon writes that God “…has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end” (Ecc. 3:11). I believe the eternity he speaks of refers to the place that God is meant to fill in our lives. Notice, eternity is placed in the heart. Just like each cell has a nucleus with a DNA molecule, so each heart has Continue reading

Relational Foundations

songThe greatest force that exists in the universe is not the strong nuclear force (the force that holds atoms together), but the love that binds two hearts together. The term “lovesick” has been used to describe people desperately in love but who are prevented from being together. It is well expressed by Juliet longing for her lover Romeo, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? By any other word would smell as sweet. Parting is such Continue reading

Finding Honor

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One of the most important decisions a person will make in life is the choice of their spouse. According to the One who designed marriage, marriage is to be a lifelong commitment. The Bible is clear, God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Therefore, choosing a spouse is not a matter to be taken lightly.

Unfortunately, we live during a time when the idea of marriage Continue reading

Staying Sober

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In his letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32b). He was writing to the church to help them understand the importance of the resurrection of Christ. Without the resurrection of the dead, there is no forgiveness of sins and there is no motivation to suffer in service to God. Why suffer if this is the only life we know? The whole verse says, “If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’” Paul was not encouraging sinful living, only Continue reading

Pleasing God

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I want to suggest that the title to our lesson is more challenging than we might think. We are accustomed to hearing that when one believes in Jesus as their Savior, all is well. Such a person is said to be “saved.” Indeed, the call of the gospel is to believe: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31). However, those who believe are given the equally important command to, “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:19). When we follow the Lord, Continue reading

Living Wisely

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When Jesus stood before Pilate, Pilate asked the question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). He asked this in response to Jesus’ claim, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). Pilate demonstrated an unwise heart. As a result, he was unable to hear the voice of God. He was looking truth in the face and denied Him. Jesus was trying to open his eyes with His statement. We serve such an amazing God. Even while a prisoner, Jesus was seeking Continue reading