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Platinum Vision a god-given plan for the next five years

A NOTE FROM PASTOR SCOTTY

Unlike God’s law which was set in stone, and unlike the eternal Word of God which will endure well beyond our years, this vision is merely written as pixels on a screen. It should be, and likely will be, revised and improved as God reveals more and more of His call on our lives.

That doesn’t mean this vision is not important. It is very important. As we make our way to our platinum anniversary in 2022 – just 5 years away – we must have a goal, make a plan, and get ready to fully embrace the God-sized vision the Lord has given us.

The Bible teaches a balanced approach to setting goals that includes making plans, but doing so with wisdom and humility. While Proverbs 21:5 tells us that the plans of the diligent lead to profit, James 4:14-15 helps us recognize that we are but a mist that vanishes in due time. It is good to make plans as long as we leave room for God to change them. His goals always take precedence over ours.

Over the past year, I have been praying and listening. I have been doing my homework, so to speak. My mind has been changed, and my heart has been strengthened. Today I understand better than I did yesterday what makes Barrington Baptist Church the unique family of believers it is.

It is important to listen and pray and work hard, and I have been reminded that there is no better situation to be in than in complete dependence upon the Lord. Complete dependence means that we don’t have all the answers, but we know the One who does. Jesus tells us that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life… that no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). Knowing Jesus, learning to follow Him, and obeying His call in our life is everything. This vision, while not infallible, gives us a solid target to aim for as we seek to do just that.

My prayer is that most, if not all, of this vision will transcend this record of it; otherwise, it will remain simply a statement. May it find its way into our hearts and minds, so that we are compelled to fully embrace all that God has in store for us in this new season of growth and impact.

Here is a glimpse of what can be…

With you and for you,

Pastor Scotty

OUR MISSION

Follow Jesus & Lead Others to Him

Our mission is that thing we must do. Our mission is that task God has called us to. Our mission focuses our attention and energy on fulfilling God’s agenda.

Barrington Baptist Church has been called to follow Jesus and lead others to Him.

Several Scriptures inform our mission. First, Matthew 28:16-20 tells of Jesus calling His disciples to make disciples everywhere they go. Second, Mark 1:16-18 shows us the simplicity of Jesus’ call to follow Him. Finally, Mark 12:28-31 reminds us how we should go about fulfilling this call: it is not enough to speak the truth if it is not accompanied by godly love. The truth is that God receives the sinner, but He is not willing to leave us in our sin. We believe the truth that God’s grace is sufficient; and God’s grace is informed by the truth of God’s Word.

What does it mean to follow Jesus? Following Jesus means relying on and honoring God in every area of our lives. It means being devoted in our worship, being directed by His Word, being dependent through prayer, and being deliberate in loving God and others. Following Jesus starts with believing He is who He says He is and trusting in what He has done on your behalf. But following Jesus also means growing to become more like Him and fulfilling the mission He has given us.

What does it mean to lead others to Him? Leading others to Jesus is a faithful, obedient effort on our part to do what God has called us to do. Living lives that are a witness to the grace of God, being intentional about communicating the Gospel, and inviting others to trust in Jesus are at the heart of it. While God is the one who draws us to Jesus (John 6:44), we are expected to fulfill His call to make disciples.

OUR MINISTRY

Exalting Worship // Embracing Body Life

Enriching Growth // Expanding Impact

Our ministry flows from our mission. As we follow Jesus and lead others to Him, we want nothing less than to grow in these practices… to make them habits of our hearts. We want to worship God, function together as the Body, grow through God’s Word, and serve and share the Gospel with those in our everyday lives.

Exalting Worship

Isaiah 46:5, 9

The Lord asks, “To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike?... for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.” We worship this God! His first priority is His own glory, and we exalt His name in worship, in lives reflecting His goodness, and in service to the world. This exaltation is Word-driven, Christ-focused, and authentic. It is our privilege to boast in the person and work of Jesus in every area of our lives.

We celebrate creatively and with grateful hearts remembering the work of the Triune God and anticipating His continued faithfulness. We are unafraid to try new ways to express our love for the Savior and to involve as many as possible in worshiping God as a unified body of believers. Our music has a contemporary flavor; although, we don’t limit ourselves to music written in our lifetimes. We make full use of great music from other periods of history, but the sound is present-day so that it engages our ears, as well as our hearts. We invite the unbeliever to witness true, Christian worship.

Embracing Body Life

Ephesians 2:21-22; 4:7-16

Biblical community enables us to spur one another on in our everyday lives. It helps us deal with the sin that so easily entangles us, ruins our relationships, and separates us from God. It means growing together, loving one another in real, tangible ways, and learning to be the people God is calling us to be. True fellowship is grace-centered and reflects the unity and diversity of the Church. It is our privilege to live the life of Christ together, admonishing and loving one another, sharing the burdens and celebrating the joys of life together.

We want to impact the world through our unity in Christ. We desire to complement our Bible study with practical opportunities to explore the truth of Scripture and grow and live in Christ-likeness together. We want to be challenged to examine the sin in our lives and encouraged in a closer relationship with the Lord. In biblical community no sin is elevated above another, but together we tackle that which separates us from God and grow together to become who God wants us to be. We want to provide intimate, grace-centered environments for people to be real –where life’s journey is shared in light of the abundant life that Christ has secured on our behalf. Truth is spoken in love, and love is lived out in service to others. We invite the unbeliever to experience true, Christian community.

Enriching Growth

Matthew 22:37-40

We want to love God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our mind and strength. We want to grow and be made whole in every area of our lives so that we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. It is our desire to be transformed into the image of Jesus from the inside out.

We are a church known for strong biblical preaching and teaching. Our church seeks to equip people to do the work of ministry in their circle of relationships. We are serious about transforming lives and giving opportunities for practical training that helps people build God-honoring thoughts and habits. Studies in classrooms are combined with real-life experience so that we learn not only the ‘what’ but also the ‘how.’ Our desire is that no one’s head is bigger than his or her heart. Preaching seeks to inspire, direct, and provide vision, while study in the classroom provides opportunities to ask tough questions and wrestle with the mysteries of the faith. We invite the unbeliever to discover true, Christian doctrine.

Expanding Impact

Matthew 20:28; 28:19-20

We are a church serious about reaching the world for Christ. This commitment finds expression in person-to-person evangelism, overseas missions, community-based service and, in due course, church planting. We want to take the Gospel to our neighbors, to our families, to our workplaces, and to our world. It is our privilege to make use of all of our God-given resources to change the world by bringing the Gospel to those we encounter in every sphere of influence.

We want to be a church who works hard to win people to Christ, and we rejoice when even one enters the Kingdom. We desire to be intentional about working with one another, and with other churches, for the cause of Christ in the world. We are deliberate about following Jesus and leading others to Him. We invite the unbeliever to follow the true, living God.

STRATEGIC VALUES

These values set us apart in how we do ministry. These are the values we will employ to make more healthy disciples.

Our strategic values highlight the relational context of our ministry (intergenerational), direct us to our ultimate goal (bold with the Gospel), and show us the means by which we achieve our vision (service minded).

Intentionally Intergenerational

The nature of the church as the Body of Christ suggests that it grows through its ability to learn and work together (Ephesians 4:11-16). Knowing that our church was reaching youth from its very start, and recognizing the increasing evidence that multiple relationships within the body are necessary to help people of each generation stick with their faith, we will work to be as intentionally intergenerational in every aspect of church life as possible. We see the intergenerational nature of the church as a strength and want to build upon it as we worship, learn, and serve together across the generations (Psalm 145:4; 1 Timothy 5:1-3).

Service Minded

Jesus embodies what being service minded really is. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Service is a means to build bridges into people’s lives, leading to opportunities to share the Gospel. It is an extension of God’s mercy through us. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8) and believe that doing good works is in keeping with our new life in Christ.

Bold with the Gospel

The first followers of Jesus show us what being bold with the Gospel really is. Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, "Which is right in God's eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:18-20). We want to grow in this area by encouraging one another to know, live, and share the Good News of Jesus.

As we grow in and remain faithful in being bold with the Gospel, we anticipate growing engagement, deeper discipleship, and more baptisms! We want to be a people who start with the Gospel, go with the Gospel, and grow in the Gospel because we recognize that it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

OUR FUTURE

By the grace of God, we will become a disciple-making force across all generations in Barrington and beyond.

Conservatively, over 5,000 churches close their doors every year in the United States. The latest stats say that 65% of churches in North America are declining or plateaued.

Right here in Barrington, our church is the only evangelical church for a town of over 16,000 people. God has put us here for one simple reason: to live in such a way that the people of Barrington know that God is real. For us, Barrington is where it all starts, but it extends to every town we call home. Barrington is our Jerusalem; the springboard from which our ministry is launched in our own backyards and around the world.

God’s vision of us is far greater than we can imagine! We know that He will do far above all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

As we ready ourselves for our platinum anniversary in 2022, our eyes are squarely on Jesus and the opportunity He has for us to join Him in building His kingdom. He is shaping us to become a disciple-making force in Barrington and beyond the likes of which have never been seen. Our part is to leverage every blessing we have been given to ensure that generation after generation is left with no excuse for not following Jesus.

Churches are dying today because they are not doing anything at which the world would look and say, “God is real!”

Imagine letting our light so shine before others that they see our good deeds and give glory to our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Churches are dying today because they are not concerned with the welfare of the very world for which Jesus died.

Imagine becoming a church of servants on mission to do good to all men so people are moved to glorify our Father in heaven (Galatians 6:10).

Churches are dying today because they see gathering together as optional.

Imagine becoming a church that makes a priority of gathering to worship, learn, and serve together (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Churches are dying today because they have forgotten the transforming power of God’s Word.

Imagine becoming a church that is thoroughly equipped for every good work because we have been trained by the faithful study of God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16).

Churches are dying today because they fail to see themselves as a family.

Imagine becoming a church who invests in each and every member of the family, commending the mighty works of God to the next generation (Psalm 145:4).

Churches are dying today because they fail to use their spiritual gifts.

Imagine becoming a church that not only knows the gifts God has given them, but puts them to work to build up the church (Ephesians 4:12).

Churches are dying today because they have not experienced the joy of extravagant giving.

Imagine becoming a church that is generous on every occasion resulting in thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:11).

What are we up against?

In a very real way, we are up against a culture that says that if you are educated enough, if you are wealthy enough, if you are pretty enough, then you have it made. There is a veil of pride that covers the deeper needs of the people God is calling us to reach. It is the same veil which can cover our hearts and prevent us from moving beyond church-as-usual.

God has blessed Barrington Baptist Church: a beautiful church building, eight acres of manicured lawns, a parking lot any church would envy, and Gospel partners such as Barrington Christian Academy and Charis Counseling. Ours is a rich history of being blessed and being a blessing.

But now is not the time to rest on these laurels. Now is not the time to simply enjoy, or take pride in, what we’ve been given. Now is the time to leverage all that we have to take as many people with us to heaven while we still can.

This is about building God’s kingdom not ours. This is about using our blessings not just for ourselves but for those we have yet to reach. This is about doing all that we can with all that we have so that as many people as possible will come to know and follow Jesus!

What does it mean? It means sacrifice: of comfort, of preference, of “me.” And it means we must use every bit of the fruit of the Spirit knowing that we won’t run short of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control (Gal 5:22-23).

OUR PLAN TO GET THERE

Much of our plan is underway. Our near-term focus has been the health and effectiveness of our ministry. Our long-range focus will be strengthening our Gospel-impact, deepening our spiritual growth, and providing relevant biblical resources for life at all stages.

In the near-term, we are connecting every ministry with our mission. As we equip individuals, we are aiming at issues of the heart… moving us from simply knowing the Word to doing the Word. We are creating opportunities for the church to serve our surrounding community so that it becomes unmistakable that God is at work in us and through us. We are leveraging the creative talents of our church family and encouraging all of us to think and act to impact the multitudes around us who are not yet walking with Jesus. We are seeking to build a new reputation as a place and a people who love without bounds. We will address changes in the use of our facility and campus to better serve this vision.

As we serve across all generations, our eyes are taken off of “me/us,” and the focus is placed on the mission God has given us. Our energies, talents, and focus become less about maintaining a country club and more about mobilizing disciples to make a Gospel-impact. The short-range is about building up this body, focusing on our identity in Jesus and His call in our lives.

Our long-range focus will be on effective ways to impact our neighbors with the Gospel. To do that, we will invest in our spiritual growth and training so that we are growing in faith and taking the Gospel everywhere we go.

We will implement changes to our facility so that it is warm, inviting, easy to find our way around, and functions in a way where both staff and guests are served by the facility rather than the other way around. We will shoot for recreating a facility that enables us to minister no matter their age – build on our strength in biblical teaching – and maximize space for resources and ongoing equipping. The long-range is about impact.

Let's Get Started

This is where the rubber hits the road! This is where we show we are serious about following Jesus and leading others to Him.

Right now there are people in your life who are not following Jesus. You have prayed for them. You have reached out to them. Imagine the day they come to faith in Jesus. Imagine the moment they are plunged under the water in baptism. Imagine when they stand and give testimony to God’s grace and forgiveness.

Can you imagine that? Would you be willing to step out of your comfort zone to invite them to place their faith in Jesus?

Between now and the end of 2018 our church family will embark on a journey of faith. We have a goal to reach 12 people who are not currently a part of our church with the good news of Jesus and invite them to follow Jesus in the waters of baptism.

We understand from Scripture that it is the Lord who directs our steps; yet, He expects us to diligently plan. The truth is that every goal comes with risk, but true ministry is measured according to God’s Word and by God’s promises (Isaiah 55:8-11; 2 Timothy 4:5-7). We are believing God to accomplish far more than we could ask for or think (Ephesians 3:20-21; Hebrews 11:1-40). By setting a specific goal, we run the risk of disappointment if we do not achieve it. BUT, if we don’t take the risk, we won’t fully learn what it is to depend upon God to accomplish His purpose through us (Romans 1:9-13). This is our chance to see it up close and personal. This is the time to put our faith into action (James 2:17)!

This is a big goal. It is one that will impact all of our ministries. However, it is a goal that won’t likely be achieved through “organized” ministries alone. This will require a church-wide effort of people, young and old, praying for and being personally bold with the Gospel in interactions with friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, and relatives. Personal relationships and personal witness – rather than “programs” – will be essential to achieving our goal.

Let me be clear: this is not about putting a lot of pressure on Christians who join our church family over the next year or so to declare their faith publicly through baptism. The goal is not aimed at talking Christians into being baptized. Our goal is aimed at making disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).

Credits:

Created with images by soej24 - "reed stepping stone ishibashi" • nidan - "web boardwalk reed" • DavidSpinks - "Above the clouds"

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