As a congregation, we have wonderful, incredible diversity. No where is our
diversity more evident than in the occupational and professional backgrounds
represented in this congregation.
As an important part of the team, what are your goals.
Several different school systems are represented. We have members who are
teacher's aids, teachers, teaching specialists, and administrators.
Several different hospitals and clinics are represented. We have technicians,
nurses, doctors, and those in administration.
Every level of industrial manufacturing is represented. The communication and
technology industries are represented. The freight industry is represented. Numerous
private businesses are represented.
This diversity is a real blessing. It enables us to accept an important truth.
- Every form of professional, business, or industrial organization must deal with
a combination of needs, problems, opportunities, and demands.
- That is not a matter of choice; it is a matter of necessity.
- Every business exists in the highly complex environment of law, need,
opportunity, and competition.
- The business that succeeds is the business that effectively manages the
demands created by law, need, opportunity, and competition.
- Even small business organizations are dependent on forming an effective,
- Look at the obvious.
- That team must have people who can care for accounting, banking,
inventory, purchasing, personnel supervision, product or service
development, advertising and promotion, and the distribution of product or
- There is only one way any organization can do that: build a responsible,
- What if an organization does not develop a responsible, effective team?
- At some point, demands will exceed the ability, strength, and time of "the
- When "the leader" burns out, the organization crashes.
- God used a team to produce the most important reality that exists--salvation.
- Evil entered human existence by human decision and choice.
- We made an incredible mess of life and relationships.
- The mess we made was too complicated for us to correct.
- God did what we could not do; He rescued us from the mess we created.
- God did it through team work.
- God created the plan; made the promise to rescue us; implemented the plan;
and persevered until forgiveness and salvation were realities.
- With frustration that we cannot comprehend, God worked through the
nation of Israel.
- Their failures and faithlessness constantly frustrated God's purposes.
- Israel often made it impossible for God to keep His promises.
- But God never quit, never changed His mind, never altered His plans.
- In Israel's worst failures, God repeatedly declared of Himself, "The Lord,
the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and
abounding in loving kindness and truth" (Exodus 34:6).
- God sent His Son as a true human to live the human existence.
- Jesus used the last years of his life in a ministry that focused exclusively
on God's purposes.
- He died by crucifixion to serve as God's sacrificial lamb and create
atonement for sin.
- He was raised from the dead by the power of God, made Lord and Christ,
and provided everyone the opportunity for forgiveness.
- When the resurrected Jesus ascended back into heaven to sit on God's right
hand, God sent the Holy Spirit.
- He guided the twelve apostles into a complete knowledge and
understanding of the truth about what God did and was doing in Jesus
Christ (John 14:26).
- He gave them a perfect remembrance of everything Jesus did and taught.
- He worked in doing many things in the lives of those who entered Christ.
- He makes each of us who enter Christ the temple of God.
- The Holy Spirit is the living presence of God at work in the life of those
who belong to Jesus Christ.
- We have salvation, the forgiveness of sins, and life in Christ because God,
Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit worked together.
- I deeply enjoy being a part of you for many reasons.
- One of those reasons is that the elders and staff work together as a team.
- We clearly understand that the only way that this congregation can meet the
challenge of its potential is through effective team work.
- Serving God's purposes as Christ's church in today's world is a challenge
- When our renovations and Family Life Center are complete, our property
and facilities should have a value that exceeds five million dollars.
- This year contributed funding in weekly contributions, buildings funds,
mission funds, and benevolent funds will easily exceed $800,000 and will
possibly approach the $1 million level.
- Our current commitments include:
- Significant mission commitments in at least three other nations.
- Developing a growing, effective spiritual education program for adults
- Equipping our families to build better marriages and better homes.
- Assisting both individuals and families in crisis.
- Continuing an effective youth work.
- Sustaining an effective program from 60 + members.
- Developing an effective support and involvement system for new
comers and visitors.
- Sustaining a visitation, support, and outreach work with those who are
sick or shut-ins.
- Continuing to develop an inner city outreach.
- Sustaining extensive benevolent programs.
- Sustaining an active jail ministry.
- Expanding the work of CURE (The Compassionate Utilization of
Resources)--a unique disaster relief and medical missions program
that is reaching out to many countries.
- There are more than twenty-five active ministries that are a part of the life
and work of this congregation, and we have other major needs that we
have not begun to address.
- The only possible way that we can address our needs and accept the
challenge of our opportunities is to build an increasingly effective team.
- The leadership and staff are constantly learning how to be a better, more
- First, I want to remind you of the people who are on the team.
- We have two secretaries on staff.
- Myra Flippo has worked as secretary for this congregation from the
day it came into existence. She is conscientious, systematic, and she
has a talent for caring for important details.
- Debbie Belote has been secretary for this congregation for eleven
years. Debbie, too, is conscientious, committed, and an excellent
- As of last week, we have four ministers on staff.
- Roy Dunavin has served as a minister for 22 years in this area. He
was an evangelism minister in one of the congregations that merged,
and has served this congregation from day one of its existence. He
works with hospital visitation, one on one teaching, and mission trips.
- Brad Pistole is completing his eighth year as youth director, and this is
his home congregation. The work he does with our teens is better
than excellent. He cares about them deeply, and they know it.
- In November, I will have been with you for two years.
- Presently, we have five elders who are part of the team.
- If I understand correctly, Mat Griffin has served as an elder the
longest. God blessed Mat with the gift of compassion, and it touches
everything he does.
- Sam Roberts retired from years of work as a personnel manager. He
has an excellent ability to talk to people one on one.
- Earl Flood has served this congregation as an elder on two different
occasions. Earl loves to help people, and Earl helps people.
- Bob Null has worked many years in upper management. He has
incredible communication skills. He is gifted in communicating with
- If I remember correctly, Bill Dickey is "the new kid on the block" among
our elders. Bill is steady, quiet, observant, and relates to almost
- Each one of them bring something unique and valuable to the team.
- The second thing I want to do is introduce you to the newest member of the
team. His name is Ted Edwards, and Ted has given me permission to share
these things with you.
- Ted came to help work with two enormous opportunities that we have:
- To help our over-all spiritual education program grow to new levels of
service and effectiveness.
- To help us meet the enormous need of better member involvement.
- The elders have asked Ted focus his time and energy on our education
program for the immediate future.
- Ted was attracted to West-Ark because of our positive spirit and attitude,
and because we are looking toward the future.
- He brings to the team a different background and life experience.
- Ted's father and mother divorced when he was in the first grade.
- He lived with his mother until he finished junior high, and lived with his
father while in senior high.
- His childhood and his teen years were difficult years.
- In his late teens and early 20's he completely left God.
- He recommitted himself to God in 1984 and immediately began to share
what God was doing for him with his friends.
- Some of them did more than listen: they were converted.
- Because of his effectiveness, the Iowa congregation he attended paid
him to quit one of his jobs and do one on one teaching.
- He began correspondence work at Sunset School of Preaching.
- Finally, they supported him to complete his studies and degree.
- When he graduated, they hired him as second man.
- For many reasons I am glad Ted is a member of the team.
- He has no desire to "take over" anything; he came to work with others.
- He loves to serve, and he enjoys working in the background.
- He has a good reputation as a teacher, a hard worker, and a "people
- When I asked what should people know to understand him, he read
Colossians 1:28 because it reflects his ministry goal--to help people
mature in Christ, to help each person grow to a new level.
"David, as a member of the team, what are your goals?" Goal one: every
sermon I preach, every class I teach, I want to deepen your faith and your
understanding. Goal two: I want to help you grow closer to God and live life fully in
Christ. Goal three: I want deepen our desire to be godly people. Goal four: I want to
increase our willingness to trust God--with our minds, our hearts, our souls, our sins,
our failures, our fears, or worries, and our abilities.
I want to let God work through me to bless you.
We are living in a complex, misguided age. It is taking a terrible toll. It has
never been more important that we be successfully. Would you feel that we were
successful if we averaged 1800 in Sunday morning worship, a thousand Sunday
evening, and a 1000 Wednesday evening?
"David, would you?" No. "What would you consider success?" Success is
helping Christ change people's lives. "What do you mean?" To me, success is Christ
helping husbands and wives in distressed marriages; Christ helping teenagers in crisis;
Christ helping people who are drowning in stress and anxiety; Christ helping people
discover the meaning of life; Christ helping people escape emptiness, loneliness, fear,
"Why is that success?" The less focused we are on God, the more impossible
our lives become. Learn to let the team work in your life. Let God, Christ, and the Holy
Spirit give you life and teach you how to live it.
Are you alive in Jesus Christ?
Do you know how to live life in Jesus?
Does evil have control or does God have control of your life?
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 30 August 1998
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