This is a very long post.... but worth the read.
Conquer & dominate. These are words you typically don’t hear associated with Christianity, church life, or church people. Instead you usually hear words like comfort, nurture, share, embrace, sensitivity, study, and "my feelings." Manly men gag on that kind of religion. It’s like angel food cake – soft, spongy, and unsatisfying.
Even though (the above) are Biblical terms, the list is incomplete. Missing are words like, risk, challenge, sacrifice, count the cost, conflict, lay down your life, change, dangerous, reward, battle, subdue, conquer, dominate, sword, shield, fight the good fight, contend for the faith, and be a good soldier. These too are Biblical words – and it’s the language of men!
Church is too nice. Too soft. Too sissy. It has become “Victorian.” Christians are supposed to be nice, touchy-feely, and gushing. Passive. Not active. Submissive. Asleep. Idle. Inert.
But read the Bible and you often find a militant, combative aspect associated with the Christian life. You see believers battling persecutors of the church, the powers of darkness, messengers of Satan, engaging in spiritual warfare, wrestling with their own the carnal nature, and targeting the religious establishment for exposure. They pulled no punches, gave no quarters, neither did they ask for any. They were not interested in peaceful co-existence with the devil. They came to route the devil from his territory and take over for God!
What did the church in the Bible do? Lay down and take it like a whipped dog? Not on your life. They “filled Jerusalem with their doctrine” and didn’t care what anyone had to say about it. The Romans tried to stop them, and what happened to Rome? Not “all roads lead to Rome” anymore – do they? The early church dominated their city, culture, and all the known world.
Today, certain super-spiritual types say that churches should not be so aggressive in spreading the gospel, and doing outreach into the community. But I think it has become an excuse to be lazy. Instead, it’s much easier to huddle behind the bolted doors of the church and talk about nurturing, sharing, and "my feelings". Oh yea, don’t forget the guitar so we can all hold hands around the camp fire and sing “Kum By Ya.”
We understand the concept of domination when it comes to sports. We want our football team to kick the pants off the other team. We admire Tiger Woods for dominating golf. Yet, church-people have a mindset against this, both in life and in church-mission. Why? Because they are lazy sissies, that’s why.
When I say the church should dominate, I not only mean all churches, or the universal Church – I mean OUR church. God has not placed PCC here for such a time as this to simply play patty-cake religion and do laps each Sunday. He has placed us here to have an impact on this community unlike anyone has ever seen!
The Bible never teaches Christians not to be ambitious. It’s selfish ambition that we are to avoid. That’s the desire to get ahead so we can draw attention to ourselves. We’re not out to make a name for ourselves in this church thing…we’re out to make His Name famous. We don’t want to dominate for our sake, we want to dominate for the sake of the mission.
I’ve said many times that PCC is not here to take people away from other churches. Our mission is not to grow by transfer-growth (er, I mean sheep stealing). We want to find people who are far from God, lead them to Christ, and then provide them with the tools that lead to spiritual maturity. That’s been our mission from day-one.
But can I be honest about something? Let’s look at the other side of the coin. What is the point of a genuine believer wasting away in some lame church that is doing nothing? A church that never challenges him/her? A church that never reaches people? A church that simply exists so people can show up each Sunday and hear another sermon, or attend (yet) another Bible class? Where is all of that leading to?
You wouldn’t leave your kids in a lame school with a lame teacher – would you? So why would you go to a lame church? Why would you be content with something that doesn’t make you a better Christian? Why would you continue attending a place that doesn’t challenge you and press you into service? Why would you stick it out or suck it up, month after month and year after year, only to have your faith whither away?
If your church stinks, you should find a better one.
If your house was on fire, burning to the ground, would you wait for the fireman to show up and command you to leave before you escaped? What are you waiting for? If your church stinks, find a better one.
What are we striving for at PCC?
- I want PCC to be the best we can possibly be
- I want our children’s ministry to be one of the best in the area
- I want our teen ministry to be one of the best in the area
- I want out small groups to be better than some dried up Sunday School class
- I want our music to be heart-stirring, soul-moving, and of good quality
- I want our campus grounds to look like they have been taken care of
- I want our church to make a positive first impression on our guests every single week
I don’t want PCC to be average. Average is half-way to the bottom. Average means you are in the lower 50 percentile.
Do you want average kids, making average grades, who grow up to marry an average guy/girl? Of course not. You want them to excel. Do you want an average job, making average wages? You get the idea.
So why go to an average church? Why go to a lame-duck church? You are just swimming in circles, going nowhere (like a lame duck does).
Like the early Christians we read about in the book of Acts, we need to do whatever it takes to reach people, disciple people, lead people to Jesus and help people be better Christians.
Have you ever watched Michael Jordan take over a basketball game? Sure, there was a team and a coach and a General Manager, whose "feelings" needed to be considered... up to a point. But in the 4th quarter with the game on the line, Jordan takes over and feelings don't matter! Maybe his teammates got mad, but then again, they probably liked winning all those championships too. It’s the 4th quarter in Santa Rosa & Escambia County, and PCC needs to take over. If other churches are not going to go after people, then we are. If other churches are not going to serve this community, than we will.
I have this conviction: It’s should be impossible for people to ignore us. People should have to run and hide in order to escape our reach.
We should be everywhere. Every week, or every day, people should be bumping into PCC’ers wearing t-shirts. Every week, they should have someone hand them an invite card. Every week, they should overhear someone at the grocery store talking about something that’s happening at PCC. We should be at every community festival, barbeque, block party and school board meeting. If the school board wants to roll over and give up the ghost in the face of the ACLU, then PEOPLE from PACE COMMUNITY CHURCH should RUN for SCHOOL BOARD and unseat the incumbents.
We will get out there and meet needs, and focus our attention on dominating some community problems. There shouldn’t be a person in Pace Florida who hasn’t heard of us. Like an explorer claiming land for the mother country, I’m claiming this community. We’re taking over this town.
- We will be visiting nursing homes, laying hands on the sick, and delivering gift baskets to the poor.
- We will serve single mothers
- We will direct mail into 20,000 homes
- We will attract singles
- We will reach the divorced and formerly married
- We will minister to couples who are having major marriage problems
- We will hold the hand of those terminally ill
- We will make room for the handicapped
- We will welcome minorities
- Run for the school board, county commission, and any other political office that needs righteousness
- We will “go out and compel” them to come in so that God’s house “may be full”
God said in the book of Acts: “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace…. For I have much people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10).
We’re going to dominate by making our church environments the best they can be. Excellence is not just a cute core value that we hang on the wall. Our music, our signs, our handouts, our messages… everything will be excellent. People that come to PCC are going to walk out thinking, “I didn’t know church could be that…good.”
We’re going to dominate by serving. It’s not about “serve us” – it’s about “service.”
Christianity is not a hobby; it’s a lifestyle. Leading a church is not a job; it’s a calling.
Church, prepare yourself to dominate.