by Jerry Branch

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Looking Ahead - What Will Make Us a Great Church?
Jerry Branch
Acts 2:1-13
Oct 4, 1998

In Proverbs 29:18, we find that, "Where there is no vision, the people perish. But will having a vision make anyone great? No, it takes more than just having a focus. It takes more than just having a dream. At the same time, though, having a vision is important, understanding the purpose of church is important, but most critical, is knowing the direction, that God wants His church to go. So in the next weeks and months, we'll be praying, talking, and working together, seeking God's direction for us here at Bethany for the years ahead.

This all came about as I was asking the Lord to show me what He wanted me to preach this morning, and He showed me, that the first thing we need to do, is to look at what characteristics are found in great churches. And where is the best place to find this out? It's in the Bible. So, we're going to start by examining the New Testament Church in the Book of Acts.

So, then, what would make a Church Great? Well, I'll tell you one thing, it takes a lot more than having a big crowd. It's a lot more than having every conceivable program. It's a lot more than having great meals. It's a lot more than having some great Bible studies each week. Maybe that's why there are so few really great churches today.

To illustrate one of the problems most churches face, I want to share something I read some weeks back in one of the journals I subscribe to. I read this illustrative story about three pastors who were having lunch together. And as pastors usually do, they were all talking about some of their problems at church. As these three pastors were talking they found out something interesting - they all had exactly the same problem at their churches. And, no, it wasn't fighting and feuding. All three churches had bats in the attic. Now, one of the pastors said he had tried to solve the problem with a shotgun, but that didn't work. He just made hol ...

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