There’s a story about a teacher who took a glass jar into his class and filled it with big rocks. He asked the class if they thought the jar was full. They said yes. He said no, it isn’t. He then poured some small pebbles into the jar around the big rocks. Then he asked the class, is the jar full now? They said yes. He said no, it isn’t. Then he poured some sand into the jar. Then he asked the class, is the jar full now? The class said yes. He said no, it isn’t. He then poured some water into the jar. He asked the class if the jar was full now. They said yes. He asked them, what is the moral of this story? One student said, “No matter how full your life is, you can always squeeze more things into it.” He said no. The moral of the story is: if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in.
The point is that we have to make sure we have the most important things in our lives first. It’s easy to get busy doing so many good things, that we don’t have time and space in our lives for the most important things. If we don’t get the most important things right, we won’t get the rest of our lives. What are the Big Rocks for the Christian Church? What are the most important things for us to focus on?
We believe that our Big Rocks are the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The Great Commandment is found in Matthew 20:37-40, where Jesus says Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. The Great Commission is found in Matthew 28:19-20, where Jesus says Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you, for lo, I will be with you always, even to the ends of the earth.
When we put the Great Commandment and the Great Commission together, we see that our Big Rocks are Loving God, Loving our Neighbor, and Loving our Neighborhoods. These are the three big areas of focus for our ministry. We want to help people come to Believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior for the first time and then to spend a lifetime growing deeper in their knowledge of God. We want to help people Belong to a community and a purpose that is bigger than all of us. Loneliness and isolation are the great social dysfunctions of our time. We were all created with a sense of belonging. And we want to help people Bless their neighborhoods and serve the community where we live. We have been saved to serve. We have been Blessed to be a Blessing. We call these three Big Rocks: Believing, Belonging, and Blessing
These are our Big Rocks – Believing (spiritual growth), Belonging (relational growth), and Blessing (missional growth). Some people think that the Big Rock is numerical growth. But, churches that make numerical growth their Biggest Rock, often do not grow spiritually, relationally, and missionally. However, churches that focus on spiritual growth, relational growth, and missional growth, often discover that God is causing some numerical growth to happen as a result. We do want to reach more people for Christ. But, numerical growth typically follows spiritual, relational, and missional growth – not the other way around.
This month marks the beginning of a new school year here in Terre Haute. It also marks the beginning of my second year “back home” as a pastor in this community we love. Kim and I are delighted to back in the Wabash Valley again and we are grateful that God has led us to be a part of this community. I have a lot of hope for this coming year. I believe that God is doing something in our churches and in this community. I believe that if we keep our eyes open, we will see many opportunities for ministry and new doors that will open for us to make a difference in people’s lives and in our community.
I want to invite you to join us for another important year of ministry. I don’t know what God is going to do, but I believe He is going to do some significant things, and I want us to be a part of His mission on earth.
These are our Big Rocks – Loving God, Loving our Neighbor, and Loving our Neighborhoods. We call these three rocks Believing, Belonging, and Blessing. We want to help people grow spiritually, relationally, and missionally. Please pray for me. Please pray for our church. Please pray for our community. Pray that we can stay focused on what is most important – our Big Rocks. And pray that we will be open to all the ministry opportunities God brings our way.