Over the next several weeks the leaders of Walnut Hill Church will engage in a number of discussions concerning our health and direction. Those discussions will cover a wide range of considerations.
Walnut Hill is already a healthy church in many ways. And if we compare ourselves with the majority of churches around the country, we are, without a doubt, doing quite well. But we know that comparative health is not our aim. Instead we want to be faithful to all that Our Lord calls us to be and to do.
Toward that end…
Our Elders will be going to Birmingham, AL in a few weeks to participate in the Embers to Flame Conference, which I expect will provide some common ground for our discussions. The key concepts emphasized by the Embers Conference will then serve as a sort of “scaffolding” as we labor to strengthen and build and our various ministries.
We will continue our process of moving from a church that prays toward becoming a House of Prayer for all Nations. Already Walnut Hill displays a priority of prayer that is very encouraging to me as the pastor. But we want to explore how we can still grow in this area. (I’ll compose several posts that I hope will clarify some of the distinctions between a Praying Church and a House of Prayer.)
We will explore the Gospel, and its various aspects. And we will consider how the Gospel applies to us each day as followers of Christ, and is not just a plan of salvation to be explained to those who do not believe. (See Colossians 2:6, Galatians 3:1-3, and 2 Peter 3:18)
We will reflect on the Core Values, or the DNA, of our church, so we can build on those things that make Walnut Hill unique and blessed. And we anticipate developing a clear and comprehensive philosophy of ministry – which we will put in writing. Much of this is already in place, but still needs to be clearly articulated so we can communicate it to those who are joining us.
And we will consider how we may express our faith in love; how we may love our neighbors and the Nations, being a blessing to them, as Our Lord has told us we should and will be. (See Galatians 5:6; Genesis 12:1-3; Jeremiah 29:7; and Proverbs 11:10)
These are a few of the things that we will be undertaking, and obviously only a broad sketch. But I wanted to share it with you so you will know how to pray for us. And I also wanted to provide an open door for you to consider some of these same things along with us.
As part of our discussion I will also post a series of articles by Dr. James M. Boice from his series: How to Have a Healthy Church. While these are not exhaustive, I find these insights to be very helpful, and as I look at Walnut Hill, encouraging.
Dr. Boice suggests there are 6 Marks, which will be published in six subsequent posts:
First Mark – Joy
Second Mark – Holiness
Third Mark – Truth
Fourth Mark – Mission
Fifth Mark – Unity
Sixth Mark – Love
I invite you to reflect on these marks, and consider to what extent they are evident at Walnut Hill (or whatever church you are a part of), corporately – and in you and me, personally.
To any degree you find us lacking, please pray that by God’s grace these marks would become increasingly evident in and among us.