Our Church’s Bottom Line

Mark 16:15
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature.”

1. Purifies Our Purpose.
The purpose for all we do is established and singular.
Helps us weed out activities that do not contribute to our “bottom line.”

2. Directs Our Decision Making.
We measure every decision by our “bottom line.”

3. Simplifies Our Assessments.
We are able to determine the necessity/effectiveness of what we are doing.

4. Unifies Our Focus.
Everyone focused and working toward the same goal/purpose.

5. Firmly Establishes our Future
Our church will be tomorrow what we are working towards today.

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The following are 12 reasons I love Mountain Lake Independent Baptist Church.

  1. Our Founder Is Right – The Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the founder of the church, no man or organization.
  2. Our Foundation Is Right – The Word of God. The Word of God is our sole authority for faith and practice.  Every lesson and sermon
  3. Our Focus Is Right – The Lord Jesus Christ. We are continuing to learn that we must look to our Lord Jesus for direction in ministry and to supply our needs.  We have taken Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” to be our motto.
  4. Our Fervency Is Right – Getting The Gospel Into All The World. (Mark 16:15)  World missions has been the heart beat of MLIBC since it’s inception back in 1962 and we continue to have a passion to get the Gospel to those who have never heard.
  5. Our Fellowship Is Right – Those Of “Like-Faith.” There is a lot that goes on in the name of “Christianity” that is not Bible based nor soul conscious.  Without being Pharisaic or self-righteous, we seek to keep our distance from unscriptural fellowships and to be loyal to those of “like-faith” and true to our understanding of God’s Word.
  6. Our Feelings Are Right – Submissive To Biblical Facts. There is a tendency to place our feelings before the facts of Scripture and then to place our faith in our feelings.  It is often expressed like this, “I know what I feel/felt,” or “I know what I experienced!”  Our faith must be placed squarely upon the facts of God’s Word and then the feelings will follow.  Our experiences and feelings must be interpreted in light of God’s Word, not vise-versa.
  7. Our Friendship Is Right – Sinners And The Needy. MLIBC has proven herself (at least in my mind) to be a friend to the unsaved and spiritually needy.  Each year, thousands in Oakland and surrounding areas are provided with opportunities for find answers and direction from God’s Word through the ministries of MLIBC.
  8. Our Follow Up Is Right – Discipleship. Although I would be the first to admit that we have room for improvement here, MLIBC works hard at discipling those who make professions of faith, helping them follow the Lord in baptism, getting them involved in Sunday School and discipleship classes and then seeking to get them involved in the church family and our ministries.
  9. Our Framework Is Right – Biblical Standards. MLIBC seeks to operate within the framework of Biblical principles.  Our conduct, appearance, associations, entertainment, and every area of life are all to be subject to God’s instructions given in His Word.
  10. Our Friendliness Is Right – Kind. With very few exceptions, we hear from visitors all year long, “MLIBC is a friendly church.”  This is something we must continually work at.  I say often that God’s people should be the friendliest in town.
  11. Our Formula Is Right – A Program For The Entire Family. From the Sunday School to the “Super Seniors” program, we endeavor to be a blessing and have a ministry to all people of all ages from all walks of life.
  12. Our “Forecast” Is Right – Anticipating God’s Blessing & Christ’s Return. MLIBC sincerely believes that God’s Word will not return void, but will have a powerful effect on individuals in particular and society as a whole.  We are listening for the “trump of God” and eagerly awaiting the rapture of the church.  Until that day, we want to be found faithful to our Lord and His people.

Of course, we have not arrived, nor are we all that we can be for the Lord, but I believe we are on the right track and that our church members have a genuine love for the Lord and earnestly desire to please Him with our lives and ministries.

The Urgency Of Missions

Mark 13:10, “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.”

In 1987, a young child, who became known as “Baby Jessica,” fell 22 feet down into an abandoned well.  Man power and resources from around the world were rushed to Midland, TX to rescue this little toddler.  For two and a half days, thousands focused their efforts and prayer on here well-being.  No expenses were spared, not resources were withheld & because of theses urgent and diligent efforts of so many, her life was spared and today, we are told, she is a happily married mother of her own two small children.

Here is the question that comes to my mind, what if the same effort had been put toward rescuing “Baby Jessica” as the average church puts toward world missions?  Would she be alive today?  Would anyone even know of her plight?

Another question comes to mind, what if the Bible preaching churches would put for the effort, sacrifice and urgency toward world missions that the folks put toward the rescue of this dear child?  Would we still have entire nations unreached with the Gospel?

In Mark 13, our Lord is explaining to His disciples what the world conditions will be prior to His second advent.  He states that there will be worldwide deception, false religions will be rampant, there will be wars, famine, and turmoil throughout the world.

Then in verse 10 He states that, in light of the world’s circumstances, the Gospel must FIRST be preached in all nations.  As we approach the end of the age and as world conditions deteriorate, the worldwide preaching of the Gospel must take greater priority.  More important than our buildings, budgets, and “belly busting” fellowships, is our obedience to the great commission of world evangelization.

We must be urgent about world missions because…

  1. WE MUST BE URGENT ABOUT WORLD MISSIONS BECAUSE OF THE COMMAND OF GOD…

    Along with Mark 13:10, Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:14-15; & Acts 1:8 all have an “urgency” about this final command of our Lord.

    This Command Is A Proclamation.  In other words, it is a command given with omnipotent authority.  This is not a suggestion, but a requirement.  Fellowships, Bible studies, social works, and music programs all have their place, but God has commanded us and requires that we preach the Gospel in all nations.

    This Command Is A Priority. The world “first” here has a two-fold meaning, first in chronology and first in value.  The first thing believers must focus upon when dealing with the unsaved, is preaching the Gospel to them, and the most important thing when dealing with the unsaved is preaching the Gospel to them.

    This Command Is Plain.  There is nothing complicated about our responsibility in this matter.  It is simply to declare the simple Gospel message to every man, woman, and child throughout the entire world.  Wisdom may be needed in the implementation of this endeavor, but the concept is simple.  Every believer can declare to the unsaved how to be saved. Children, uneducated, highly educated, backwoods believers and uptown Christians can tell others the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    This Command Is Compassionate.  It is a message of the Love of God, a love so great that God gave His only begotten Son to die a violent death, to suffer the eternal judgment of all mankind’s sin, then to rise again and offer the gift of eternal salvation to whosoever will receive it by faith.  God loves mankind!

  2. WE MUST BE URGENT ABOUT WORLD MISSIONS BECAUSE OF THE CONDITION OF MAN…

    With Out The Gospel, Man Lives Life Without God!  Some of the saddest words in all of Scripture are found in our Lord’s prayer recorded in John 17:25, “Oh righteous Father, the world hath not known thee.”  The word “know” means to “have a relationship with.”  Much of mankind knows “OF” God, sings “ABOUT” God, talks about God, and even prays TO God, but without the Gospel, man cannot KNOW God!  (Ephesians 2:12, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”)

    With Out The Gospel, Man Spends Eternity Without God!  Luke 16:19-31 gives us a frightening look at what happens to a person when they die “in their sins,” with having trusted Jesus Christ as personal Savior.

    What if the same effort had been put toward rescuing “Baby Jessica” as the average church puts toward world missions? Would she be alive today? Let’s give ourselves fully to taking the Gospel to every unsaved person in our immediate communities, our country and to every nation on this planet!

An Effective Soul Winner

To be a consistent and effective personal soul winner requires a continual effort.  We have found that the most effective soul winners are constantly studying and learning how to be better at this important ministry.
  • An Effective Soul Winner Must Be Assured Of Their Own Salvation. It is very difficult, if not impossible to convince others that they can know for sure that their sins are forgiven and that they are on their way to Heaven if I do not have that assurance.  An assurance of my own salvation gives great confidence in sharing the Gospel with others.
  • An Effective Soul Winner Must Be Convinced Of The urgency Of Man’s Condition.  John 3:18 & 36 (along with many other passages) state clearly that mankind is currently under the condemnation and wrath of God.  Unsaved man will not “some day” be condemn, but is “condemned already.”  The urgency of getting the soul saving Gospel to every man, woman, & child in our community and around the world must grip our hearts if we’re to be effective personal soul winners.
  • An Effective Soul Winner Must Know The Message of the Gospel Thoroughly.   The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important truth ever known.  Though a person can be an effective witness for the Lord without having been “trained” in sharing the Gospel (illustration: woman at the well), nevertheless, a consistently effective soul winner must have a thorough, working knowledge of the Gospel. This powerful message must be a life-long study.
  • An Effective Soul Winner Must Be Convinced That People Will Be Saved.  Effective soul winners anticipate results.  Of course, not everyone will be saved, but we must be confident that the Gospel IS the power of God unto salvation and will bear fruit. (Psalm 126:6, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”; Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;”)
  • An Effective Soul Winner Must Be Filled With The Holy Spirit.  Our clever approaches and scripted presentations are not what brings conviction or saves a soul, rather, it is the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.  It is important that we know what we’re talking about and that we have a tactful approach, but it is far more important that we are filled with the Holy Spirit.  As much effort must be put into having the power of the Holy Spirit as there is put into having an effective approach.  (Acts 4:31, “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”; Ephesians 5:18,  “… be filled with the Spirit;”)
  • An Effective Soul Winner Must Be A Fervent Prayer Warrior.  Two actions by the early church in the book of Acts stand out, the preaching of the Gospel and the prayers of the church.  A prayer-less soul winner is an ineffective soul winner.  There was as much praying going on in the NT church as there was preaching, and this must be true for today’s soul winners!  Perhaps this is the cause behind so little results in so much of our efforts.
  • An Effective Soul Winner Must Have Scheduled Times For Personal Soul Winning.  Of course, witnessing and winning souls must be a part of our everyday life, but to be effective and thorough in reaching our communities, there must be an organized and scheduled time for a taking the Gospel into our neighborhoods.  Note: do not neglect the back alleys and apartments over top of downtown businesses.  Look for the “out of the way” dwellings, these are often the homes of folks who are most receptive.
  • An Effective Soul Winner Must Set Challenging, But Reachable Goals.  We share the message and leave the results up to God (1 Corinthians 3:7), but this does not mean we cannot set goals for ourselves.  For instance, I have set a goal to share the Gospel with 5 people a day, in a six day week, that comes to 30 people a week, which equals 120 a month which totals 1440 people a year.  This is a realistic challenge and has a profound effect on quite a number of people.

In our “sin saturated” society, the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is needed now, more than ever. Let’s give ourselves fully to winning souls.

The Pastor & The Guest Speaker

When a Pastor invites an evangelist, missionary or any other guest speaker, he assumes some responsibilities to that guest.  The following list may be helpful to ensure that our guest speakers are taken care of and the meeting is a success.

  1. Communicate early and often with one another.  The pastor should make it clear to the speaker what kind of meeting it is, if there is a theme, when the meetings begin and end and any other pertinent information.
  2. Send a letter to confirm the dates and times of the meetings as soon as you schedule the meeting.  It is important that the guest speaker has the dates in writing on paper.  That way there is not question about scheduling.
  3. Determine early in the scheduling process how the guest will travel to the church (airplane or driving.)
  4. The pastor should contact the guest speaker at least one week before the meeting and go over the schedule one more time. Confirm the guest’s mode of transportation (if flying, establish the pick up times from the airport) and answer any questions the speaker may have.
  5. Be sure to cover all the guest speaker’s travel expenses.  I have always felt that it should not cost the guest anything to come and be with me.  If he is driving, be sure to cover gas and food expenses both to and from the meeting.  If he is flying, it is often best to send a check covering his ticket expense before he travels.  Usually the evangelist and missionaries like to have their travel expenses taken care of with a separate check (for tax purposes), so check with him about this.
  6. Make sure you have the nicest accommodations possible for your guest speaker.  If you have a “prophet’s chamber,” please make sure it is clean, neat, and well stocked with goodies.  If at all possible, there should be internet connection and television.  If he is staying in a motel, use the best motel you can afford; one that is neat and clean and not too far from the church.  It is nice if there is a restaurant attached or nearby for the speaker’s convenience.  It is best not to have guest speakers stay in the homes of church folks.  Though this has been done in years gone by and may seem more economical, it presents difficulties for the guest.  For instance, privacy is a major concern along with propriety concerning family members at night and during daytime hours when the husband is at work.  House pets and allergies become a concern for the speaker also.
  7. It is not necessary to spend every moment with the evangelist.  No doubt he has his work to do (study, correspondence, etc.) and needs time for himself.  On the other hand, do not abandon him either.  All men are different and some like to fellowship with the pastor more than others.  Of course, if he has his family with him, he’ll require more time alone with his wife and kids.
  8. Do not drag the poor guy around with you on all your daily chores.  He is not interested in sitting in your car while you’re in the post office or tagging along with you while you go grocery shopping.
  9. Plan an afternoon to do some sight-seeing or visit a local museum or something.  Give him a diversion, especially in week-long meetings.
  10. Determine if he likes to get together for a meal before or after the service and schedule your week accordingly.
  11. Take advantage of his experience and ask him questions.  Learn from him. Glean ways to improve your meetings.  Again, moderation is important here – don’t drive him crazy by badgering him all through the meeting.
  12. At the end of the meeting, give him a very generous love offering.  Evangelists and missionaries are God-called gifts to the church and should be compensated as such.  It is very difficult to give too much to a man of God.  We have found that God blesses our church when we give generously to the men He sends our way.  Keep in mind that many missionaries and evangelists have no regular weekly income and must rely on the love offerings to pay their bills and meet their needs.  Along with this, remember that many times they have blank weeks with no meeting or income, so your generosity helps make up for these “down” times.
  13. After the meeting is over, immediately send a thank you letter to your guest speaker.  Express your gratitude for his ministry and report on any additional decisions or blessings you received as a result of his ministry.
  14. Treat your speaker as an honored guest.  Whether a nationally renowned preacher or a young missionary family on deputation right out of Bible college, they should be treated with respect and dignity and given the best accommodations possible.  My thought is that it is better to have less meetings and treat the guests right than to have meetings every other week and not be able to afford to take good care of the men you bring it.

There is much, much more that could be said and there are other preachers with much more experience than I that could add more to this list, but I trust that this will help.  Over the years, we have heard horror stories as to how missionaries and evangelists have been treated by pastors and churches.  Though the bad experiences are the exception and not the rule, (and of course, our Lord takes care of His servants), nevertheless, we can all work at improving how we treat our guests.  If you would like to contact me about ideas on caring for guest speakers, please do not hesitate to email me at mlibc@juno.com.

The Bus Ministry

Back in the 1990’s, God led our church to begin running buses on Sunday mornings to bring in children & families who wanted to come to church but did not have transportation. For over 15 years, God has blessed this ministry with hundreds (actually, more like thousands) riding the bus and many, many coming to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
Individuals and families have been powerfully impacted by this important ministry. You are probably aware that the bus ministry requires a lot of time, energy, and finances to be effective. MLIBC has a handful of people who have worked faithfully and diligently over the years to reach people with the Gospel. Others have given generously to keep the buses rolling.
Following are some reasons for having a bus ministry…
  1. God has commanded us to go into the “highways and hedges” and compel folks to come in to His house. The bus ministry is a very effective way to do this.
  2. There are hundreds of children in our communities that can and will come to Sunday School if only someone will go get them.
  3. There are families and individual adults who have no or limited transportation that will come to church if someone will go get them.
  4. The evangelistic bus ministry is an effective means of getting unsaved folks into our services and under the preaching of God’s Word.
  5. The evangelistic bus ministry is an effective means of getting new believers into Sunday School where they can be taught the Word of God and discipled.
  6. The ride to and from the church provides added time to teach memory verses and Bible lessons.
  7. The evangelistic bus ministry provides an effective training ground for future church workers and leaders.
  8. The evangelistic bus ministry is an effective means of involving our teens in ministry and leadership training and experience.
  9. The evangelistic bus ministry is an effective means of giving your church a visible presence in your community.
  10. The bus ministry provides a way to give children from dysfunctional homes the love, acceptance, and direction they do not receive anywhere else.
  11. The bus ministry provides an avenue to folks who are not comfortable teaching, yet want to serve the Lord.
  12. The bus ministry helps the church maintain a humble attitude about itself.
    Unkept bus kids running around our halls help our church folks understand God’s compassion on the needy.
We must keep in mind that the bus ministry requires tremendous amounts of time, energy, and resources.  It is not an easy or cheap ministry by any standards, and if we are not willing to invest that which is needed, the bus ministry will be ineffective.
Also, we must understand that the bus ministry is not an end in and of itself.  It is a means to an end and that is to win people to Christ and disciple them.  Simply running buses for the sake of running buses is unacceptable.  Our end goal must be to use the bus ministry as a tool for reaching families for Christ.
As far as I am concerned, the bus ministry is worth every minute, dollar and ounce of energy we put into it.  I “cut my teeth” preaching on buses in Chattanooga, TN, our assistant here at MLIBC and his family were reached by our bus ministry.
Please pray, give and get involved in the bus ministry.  The rewards are “out of this world!”