The word “program” has become taboo in Baptist circles. Anything that looks like a program, to the younger leaders in particular, is immediately dismissed. For them, a program seems too structured, restrictive and divorced from the opportunity to personalize. I hear that Baptists of the past were “program driven.” Now we need to be “purpose driven.”
Frankly I find this kind of discussion misses the point. Our ministries in the local church should be well planned (a synonym for programmed) with a purpose. It seems to me we have “over thought” the whole thing. Baptist churches of the past impacted their world through programs purposed to reach and teach. Some of Baptists’ greatest impact on our culture and greatest growth came during the days of denominational “programs.”
I would propose that the most pressing need of the church is not a new program or purpose, but a determination to be missional. That new word simply describes a person or church that is focused on doing Kingdom business and engaging our world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It sets in concrete the purpose of our lives and church ministry. From the end of our nose to the ends of the Earth, missional believers find ways individually and cooperatively through the church to embrace their world with the love of Jesus.
Being missional is purposeful and often finds expression through organized, planned and focused ministry. We should not be fearful of utilizing “programs” that are missional in design.
A good example is the PowerUP Your World emphasis developed by Bob Mayfield at the BGCO. Over the last three years, he has challenged our churches and their members to take aggressive steps to be missional in living. Some would call PowerUP a program and thus immediately dismiss it. Statistics demonstrate that churches large and small that have utilized this emphasis have shown significant moves forward in attendance and baptisms. Programs that are purposeful and have Kingdom focus are worthy of our involvement.
PowerUP Your World challenges every Sunday School class or small group to find a missional project that will make a difference in its community. It is the church serving. Can you imagine the impact if every Sunday School class and small group in our Baptist churches found a way to serve their communities in the name of Jesus?
Disaster Relief has taught us that missional living and giving opens doors for the Gospel. It gives us credibility and pries open doors that have been shut for a witness. PowerUP uses the same approach. Every believer and every Sunday School class gives itself away in the community. God will open doors of witness as we serve. Besides, we are never more like Jesus than when we serve people.
So go ahead and allow yourself the freedom to be involved in a purposeful program (plan, agenda, course) like PowerUP Your World. Your church, Sunday School class and the community and world around you will be blessed.
P.S. Your pastor has received information about materials that will help you and your class to PowerUP Your World. Ask him if he has ordered a PowerUP kit for your church. Visit http://powerupyourworld.com/ to see the details.