It is a simple way to remember our theme and stands for - "Acts 2 Devotion."
Acts 2 Devotion is a three year spiritual growth campaign. It is not about money. (This will be much harder than just giving money.) However, it will be more impactful now and for what our church will become in the years to come. They are focus points that must come to define us. They must be at the core of our church DNA.
Every disciple of Jesus Christ and every church that follows Christ has a next step.
Next steps are significant in individual lives, but the impact of next steps is multiplied when a church takes a next step together.
Over the years our church family has seen God-sized things take place when we move forward in faith together in acts of daring devotion. Our worship center came from a bold church step. More recently, our new children’s building and all that came with our Generation to Generation campaign expanded our capacity and effectiveness for ministry for years to come. We grew in our faith in God and faithfulness to His calling and mission.
Over the last ten years we have taken tremendous steps in missions as we have prayed and given and participated in missions here, near and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). We have trained leaders, strengthened struggling churches, started new churches, given generously and seen thousands come to faith in Christ. All of these things have come to be because of our next steps together.
Now, in challenging spiritual times and in an increasingly secular world, Acts 2 Devotion will anchor us and grow us and challenge us to carry out our God-given mission with a renewed commitment and courage. Our prayer is that we would be a church that would not be ashamed to stand with Peter and Paul; that we would be a church that would be found faithful in our generation when we stand before our Savior.
In Acts 2 we find this description:
"So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved" (Acts 2:41-47, ESV).
Think what a local church would look like if its people were radically devoted to Christ, irrevocably committed to each other, and relentlessly dedicated to reaching those outside God’s family with the gospel of Christ. That is what we mean by an "Acts 2 Church."
Those early disciples displayed a radical, daring, sacrificial, undiluted devotion in three key areas:
• Devoted to the Savior
• Devoted to the Fellowship
• Devoted to the Mission
Under those three major areas there are some clear points of growth for our church. Over the next three years we will explore God’s will for our church in devotion to Jesus Christ, His people the church family, and to His mission in this world.
We will seek to provide biblical instruction as well as personal and group application opportunities in the three areas of devotion to the Savior, devotion to the fellowship, and devotion to the mission.
Our goal is to move people to full, daring, radical devotion to Jesus, our church family, and the mission of making disciples. Through A2D, it would be our goal to be a church that would not look out of place in the book of Acts and to be Christ-followers who would not look out of place in the book of Acts.
God’s call in His people is unchanging, yet, knowing what we should do and doing it are two different things. Acts 2 Devotion describes what should be the "normal" Christian life. Radical, daring, undiluted devotion should be normal for a follower of Christ. Through A2D we will seek to closely align ourselves with devotion to the Savior, the Fellowship, and the Mission in such a way as to make those priorities characteristic of our church.
Where do we need to grow in our devotion to Jesus our Savior?
The Acts 2 church lived out a radical devotion to worship, God’s word and prayer. Jesus clearly showed that worship is meant to be the way we live, not simply an hour on Sunday. Jesus repeatedly demonstrated His knowledge and use of scripture throughout His earthly ministry as a powerful model for us. Jesus’ prayers, rather than being a list of requests to God, showed a living, vibrant relationship with the Father. Jesus’ prayer life, His devotion to God’s word and His life of worship are our models. The Acts 2 church followed the Savior’s example in these foundational disciplines and so must we.
Where do we need to grow in our devotion to the fellowship of our church?
Jesus taught that the way people outside the church would know that people inside the church were His disciples would be measured by their love for one another – for other believers (John 13:35). Too often, we know faces and maybe some names but we don’t know much about hearts. We need to grow in our fellowship as we live out the "one anothers" of the Bible. People are messy but we need to be willing to get our hands dirty. We need to strengthen new member assimilation, inreach and caring for adults who serve in our ministries to students, children and preschoolers on Sunday mornings.
Where do we need to grow in our devotion to the mission God has entrusted to our church?
The Lord has entrusted to us the mission of making disciples. We are to reach the unreached in our community, nation and to the ends of earth. Knowing we should do these things and doing them is not the same thing. We need to grow in our engagement with the spiritually lost and unchurched people in our circles of influence. Most of our people have never invited someone else to church and certainly never led someone to make a commitment to Christ. We need to engage others in the Good News of Jesus Christ both inside and beyond the walls of our church.
Scripture gives insight that God is pleased when we as a body are united in Christ. But each of us should be seeking His will personally. God has an individual, specific plan for each one of us, available only by individual prayers and participation. This is your opportunity to be a part of a corporate effort to develop a radical, daring devotion to the Savior, the fellowship and the mission. Unique blessings are reserved for those who discover God’s will in this effort, and take that faith step to participate. God’s will for First Baptist Church Allen can be accomplished if all of us take this step together.
Our first step was participating in 40 Days in the Word for six weeks, February-March. We know that a devotion to the Savior requires a passion for God’s word, the Bible. If we are going to have an Acts 2 Devotion, we needed to get the ball rolling with God’s word. This didn't get us there all by itself but it’s a good vehicle to get us started. 40 Days in the Word has several layers to it and it is biblically solid. When we take these spiritual growth journeys together, all of us pulling in the same direction, we have experienced the greatest seasons of growth in our history as a church. I believe this will be such a time.
We overestimate what we can do in one day and we underestimate what we can do in three years. There are misconceptions about the three key initiatives that must be overcome. There is teaching that needs to take place. There is also much application and practice we need to live out together. You can grow a mushroom in a day. A good-sized tree takes a while longer.
This is not a pre-packaged plan. It will take much more than leadership involvement by church staff. We need teams of leaders focusing on these key initiatives in our ministry – looking out over the next three years to explore God’s will for our church in devotion to Jesus, His people the church family, and to His mission in this world. The key to A2D is found in participation and applications of the three core initiatives.
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