Open the Door
• Today we kick of a series…or better yet today we kick off a season called “Open the Door.” This theme is based a metaphor the apostle Paul used often to describe the ministry opportunities that God have him. When he would relay to the churches he was reporting to stories of ministry success or new opportunities he would often uses the mental picture of an open door to describe the readiness of a moment for ministry. For example: o Acts 14:27 At the end of the first missionary journey with Barnabas, Paul reports to the church in Antioch in about what God had done: “ On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.
o 1 Corinthians 16:8–9 Paul explains his itinerary like this: "I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries."
o In 2 Corinthians 2:12 Paul says, " Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me
• Another place this Open Door language is used is in a passage in Colossians 4. It a missionary dialogue between Paul and a church body. The whole book is dedicated to the Supremacy of Jesus Christ above all things and the fullness of life that is found in him. At the end of the book in chapter 4, Paul turns his attention to the urgency the church must have toward sharing that fullness that is found in Christ with the world.
o Col 4:2-5 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open the door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:2-5 More than any other, this passage is the foundation of this next ministry season for us as a church. I love this text because:
• It emphasizes bold evangelistic prayer that God loves to answer!
o Paul didn’t ask for God to save people. He asked for open doors to share the gospel. He knows God’s will is that all be saved. And that God is always at work and drawing people to himself.
o Paul is boldy inserting himself in the story! o Prayer for Paul wasn’t just an act of presenting your personal wishes before God. He taught that prayer was a way for believers to participate in the unfolding of God’s redemptive plan in history.
o Paul did not ask for the prison doors to be opened, but that doors of ministry might be opened
• It highlights the urgency of the mission in light of limited time
o Pauls opens this text by saying: “Be watchful” = Be alert Same language and even door metaphor found in a parable of Jesus in Matthew 25.
• Parable that illustrates the return of Christ
• 10 Virgins. Wise and Foolish.
• Door was shut to those who were not ready.
• They Pleaded for it to be opened. But it was too late.
o That why in Colossians 4 Paul urges the church to “Make the most of every opportunity”
• Greek exagorazomai “to buy out” or “buy up”.
• This is a commercial term and pictures the Christian as a faithful steward who knows an opportunity when he sees one. Believers are to buy up the time like determined bargain hunters, otherwise the opportunity slips away.
• Its focus is the hope that is only found in Jesus
o Mystery of Christ, which is Christ in you the hope of glory
o Christ in You
• Clothed w Christ
• New Purpose All that said…Colossians 4 has given language to connect a burden of our heart to reach our neighbors for Christ and an opportunity to do so.
• We are asking God to OPEN THE DOOR of evangelism in our community like never before
• We must seize opportunities to OPEN THE DOOR of the church to a world that is changing
• We can OPEN THE DOOR to life in Jesus through the expansion of relational environments
• We want to OPEN THE DOOR of our facility and gift it to our community 7 days a week
• We must OPEN THE DOOR for others so they can take their next step with God
• We will OPEN THE DOOR to a conversation with God about generosity so we can become more like Him.
• We are inviting God to OPEN THE DOOR of our hearts in a way that makes us more generous than ever and impacts eternity with the resources we give up
• We believe that God will OPEN THE DOOR to people’s hearts as we share his love For 50 Years Northview has had a vibrant ministry on Sunday. OTD is about establishing a vibrant Ministry on Monday (and Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat!)
• American Church Realities:
• Between 4,000 and 7,000 churches close their doors every year
o Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, predicts the annual rate of church closings will continue to soar to 10,000 churches in the years ahead.
• The percentage of self-professed Christians in US is down 13 percent over two decades.
• Less than 20 percent of Americans regularly attend church.
• In 2050, the percentage of the US population attending church will be almost half of what it was in 1990 • Implications? Don’t curse the darkness! The Glass is half full!
o The Harvest is greater than ever!
o The opportunities for the church to rise are everywhere!
o We must adapt to reach more people! Holding the door open just on Sundays isn’t enough
• What if we could multiply the opportunities we have to share Christ with the community by connecting to them every day of the week?
• Our Mission is to Help People take their next step. This is about meeting people where they are. Loving them tangibly. And building credibility to share the hope that we have in Christ. Church in a Community Center Model is working in locations all around the country
• This isn’t a completely original idea. We have met with leaders from churches of many different sizes in many different communities who are employing a similar approach. o Churches in Michigan, Maine, Georgia just to name a few.
• Hundreds of People in the building during the week = hundreds more people in church on the weekend. Which = Hundreds more people in Heaven!
• Their testimony: A big tangible gift to the community has opened up doors for ministry engagement like nothing they had before.
•Open the Door Goals
• Primary Goal: 100% Engagement. First and foremost, Open the Door is a discipleship initiative. It’s about shaping the heart of a Christ follower in how we give of ourselves. And the evangelistic ministry that happens when we do. Our primary goal during this initiative is that everyone who calls Northview home will Open the Door to a fresh conversation on kingdom generosity. Whether you’ve never given anything before, or you are a consistent giver, there is always a next step God is asking you to take in the area of generosity. We are asking that you sincerely pray about this and allow God to lead you through a faith stretching experience.
• Secondary Goal $4.3 Million There are two components to the Secondary Goal:
Devoted and Thankful Open the Door will include ongoing commitments to all the existing ministries of the church. This is two years of our regular general budget which sustains and supports all of our ministries, missions, staffing, administration, and facility maintenance. We are so thankful for the people and mission God has given us and will continue to devote ourselves to Helping People take their next step with God. The total is $1.8 Million
Openings and Opportunities
The total scope of Phase 1 of this project we estimate to be $4.5M, and we are planning on the Open The Door initiative providing $2.5 Million of the funds for this project. We are prepared to finance the remainder of that balance if we need to. We would love for this initiative to be able to cover more than $2.5M! But we are being realistic about what is possible – and aggressive to be honest! – and what we need to be prepared to finance if need be. The total is $2.5 Million Total $4.3 Million over 2 years Open the Door is a 2-year Generosity Initiative that will encompass every aspect of ministry at Northview.
• In most churches Initiatives like this are done via a capital campaign that has two funds: The general fund and the New Fund (building, land etc). People are asked to give to the general fund and an above and beyond gift to the building fund.
• OTD is a ONE FUND initiative. Not general fund and a building fund. ONE FUND.
• Its simpler and less confusing
• Allows us to cast vision for entire mission—including the “general” or existing budget and the new opportunity that we see God directing us to. Land Back on Primary Goal: 100% Engagement
• Attendance, LG participation
• Commitment Card
• Engagement means wrestling in prayer through the emotions that initiatives like this cause:
o Shame § Comparisons
o Apathy § Checked out
o Anxious § Filled with the “what about’s”
• The market
• The referendum
§ Why this why now? How does it all add up?
§ Wish my church would ________ instead
§ Past pain
§ Never accomplish this. Too big
• Paul wrote Colossians in a Jail cell. He had been repeatedly imprisoned for proclaiming his faith. If you were to take a poll and ask what would be the ideal atmosphere to lead a revolution from…I don’t think prison would be the first choice! He had a lot of reasons to believe his ministry opportunities were shut down but instead he was praying for Open Doors wherever he was.
• He learned through experience that the process of becoming who God made him to be was one that would require wrestling through all the negative emotions that are always present and letting those take a backseat to the call of God on his life.
• Rather than cave in to the negative emotions he did three things throughout his ministry that helped him see and seize open door opportunities regularly. I think these same practices will serve us all well as we consider what God is calling us to.
Open Door Invitations:
1. Refuse to let your Past Define You
2. Believe Beyond what you can See
3. Devote yourself to Following Jesus Fully (nothing shapes your legacy more!) As I have said many times already, I believe this is a moment for our church to make the most of the time that we find ourselves living in. It’s a time to find new ways to reach those around us with the hope of Christ. God has given us an incredible opportunity to help more people take their next step with God. Our prayer is that together we would seize the opportunity and make an eternal difference! For any of this to happen and for our impact to reach beyond where it does now, its going to take each one of us opening the doors of our hearts for God to move in a huge way, perhaps causing steps of generosity in us that we have never taken before. This isn’t a 10 family initiative. Like the Colossian church did, we ALL have to rally together toward kingdom action. We need every committed to praying and engaging this conversation with God wholeheartedly. Sitting in front of us is an opportunity to be a blessing to our family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers. The impact from this moment is going to spill over into the next decades…even into eternity!
• We are going to continue with an intentional time of worship and engagement for the OTD initiative. Our hope is that our response to the good news of Jesus would be that it compels us to be a more generous people, a more committed people, a more selfless people; that we would become more like HIM. That we would do whatever it takes to Open the Door for ONE MORE to find life in Jesus.