Missional Monday : National Night Out

nno2013Last August, Port Royal Baptist Church had the privilege to participate in a community event known as National Night Out. National Night Out is an initiative to develop and promote crime-prevention programs in neighborhoods involving watch groups, law enforcement agencies, churches, non-profit organizations, businesses, and individuals working toward one simple goal: safer and stronger communities. Our church had been seeking a way to gain entry into the multi-housing community that adjoins our property. We approached the property manager with this initiative and were welcomed with open arms.

This is how it works. A church, business, or non-profit organization identifies a neighborhood to “adopt”. Local law enforcement and fire departments are brought in to share the anti-crime and safety message. Through this initiative, foundational partnerships are formed that lead to future opportunities of ministry and involvement. Port Royal Baptist will host a block party (bounce house, popcorn, sno-cones, etc.) including a cookout. The property manager will provide the space, power, and internal promotion to more than 100 family units. Port Royal Police Department, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department, and Beaufort County Fire Department will provide staff and resources from their departments to communicate their anti-crime message, while showing a side of their work that most of the communities never get to see. On August 6th, 2013, we will all come together again to do our individual part in collectively making sure our community knows that we care about them.

Earlier I mentioned foundations for future involvement. From the church standpoint, we have had the privilege to minister in other ways. Because of a “non-church” event, we have been allowed to come back to host “church” events including those related to Easter and Vacation Bible School. I believe we were able to carry out the purpose of the church because we built trust and earned the right to minister. How did we do this? How can you do the same thing?

1. We took advantage of a secular event in order to lay the groundwork for ministry. Check your community calendars and involve your church in those events. I wrote about the importance of merging church and community calendars. You can read that post here.

2. We earnestly believe that our community is our responsibility, not someone else’s. Remember, missional is not about doing. It is all about being. Don’t allow someone else to be the missionary to your community.

3. We were not afraid to be told “no”. You should not be either. Pray, identify, and ask. We were told “no” in this particular multi-housing unit once before.

Missional Monday : MissionsFEST Atlanta

atlanta-skylineIn October of this year I, along with two other member of Port Royal Baptist Church (Joyce Bunton, Judy Greenlee), will take part in MissionsFEST Atlanta. This trip is the result of a partnership between South Carolina Baptist Convention Missions Mobilization, National WMU (Women’s Missionary Union), Georgia WMU, and the UACP (Urban Atlanta Church Planter’s) Network. The UACP is a cooperative effort to engage lostness through the planting of intentionally reproducing churches with the I-285 perimeter of Atlanta. Individuals and churches who participate in MissionsFEST work alongside church planters who active in reaching neighborhoods with the I-285 loop where over 100 different languages are spoken. Events and projects are designed to demonstrate the love of Christ in real and tangible ways that allow bridges to be built for future gospel conversations. Some of the week’s projects include block parties, service ministries, prayer walking, and light construction work.

We are looking at this trip as more than just an opportunity to help church planters with the enormous task of reaching their community. We are viewing this time in Atlanta as a vision trip for Port Royal Baptist Church. Every spring we sponsor a state-side mission trip for our congregation. As we seek the Lord’s guidance as to the coming year’s destination, we are praying He uses this week to open doors for future ministry. As in any trip, meeting, or conference I attend, certain hopes are always present. My hopes for this trip are as follows.

1. It is my hope that we will create partnerships for future service. As I mentioned above, we hope to be able to discern the needs of the church planters and determine if our congregation would be a fit in Atlanta.

2. It is my hope that I will be personally challenged. I believe that many of us minister within a bubble of safety. That is not always our fault, just a result of where we are. I hope to be stretched and challenged to do ministry that I never have and among people I never have.

3. It is my hope that we will learn new methods and practices for our own local ministry. Our church is very active and present in our community. I am hoping that some of what we experience in Atlanta will give us fresh ideas for reaching Port Royal.

Some Needed Structure

I enjoy writing. I enjoy sharing my experiences with others. Sharing what God is doing in my life as a pastor, husband, father, and student is the reason why I started The Road Less Traveled. Personally, I need structure. I need a schedule. I need something to keep me on track and focused. I guess that you could say that I need routine in my life. I don’t function well in its absence. Ask my wife. I order to be more disciplined in the craft that I love; writing, I am putting a sense of structure in place here. I hope to follow this “schedule”.

Monday. I will begin a new blog series entitled Missional Mondays. Each week I will share a story, church missions project, an article, a resource, or highlight some missions organization that is making a kingdom difference.

Tuesday. I am dedicating Tuesdays to book reviews. I enjoy reading immensely. I review books for several publishing companies (Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, Waterbrook Press, and Bethany House to name a few). To keep a sense of order and expectation, I’ll post my reviews on Tuesday unless the review calls for a certain date.

Wednesday. Throughout the course of my reading, both recreational and in sermon preparation, I come across words that are “worth repeating”. Wednesdays will be dedicated to this discovery.

Thursday. Random thoughts. Maybe.

Friday. I enjoy giving away books that I have been given to me. As I have the opportunity, I will continue Free Book Fridays. I will also continue my devotional thoughts as a part of Friday is for Scripture.

Saturday and Sunday. Random thoughts. Maybe.

It is my prayer that you will be encouraged, blessed, challenged, enlightened, or inspired by something you read here at The Road Less Traveled. Thanks for stopping by.

A Pastor’s Take on Vacation Bible School 2013

ccwColossal Coaster World Vacation Bible School has pulled into the station for the final time this year. Our theme park inspired adventure is complete. The screams and shouts of kids running through down the hallways and in the sanctuary are now a distant, but treasured memory. Decorations have come down and the once vibrant and colorful rooms, hallways, sanctuary, and common areas have now been returned to their traditional look. Sadly, it looks as if Vacation Bible School never happened. Vacation Bible School makes for a very long week around the church. If you take into account the weeks leading up to the actual teaching week, many long, long hours have been logged over the past three weeks. I am a huge fan of Vacation Bible School and am sold on its ministry value. As a pastor, I fully understand how important this week is in the life of the church. Now that Vacation Bible School 2013 is over, I have a few observations that I would like to offer here.

1. Attendance: For better or worse, this is often the criteria by which Vacation Bible School is judged as a success or a failure. I am not completely sold on this marker of success. Our average attendance for the week was approximately 115. As far as the numbers go, our attendance was down slightly from last year. I was encouraged by our attendance this summer. My reason for being encouraged is not so much about how many, but who was here. It is obvious that our people were active in inviting others this week. We did something different this year with our teenagers. Instead of Youth Vacation Bible School occurring the weeks before the children’s, our youth met the same week as everyone else. This was a success and we averaged 8 teenagers nightly. This does not count the high school students who were assisting in other areas. We had the expected students who were members of other churches. That is perfectly fine. We are happy to have them for a week. We also had students who were unchurched and not affiliated with a local church. This is one of the markers by which I judge success. We averaged 53 elementary aged children this year. I was further encouraged by our Adult Vacation Bible School class. We had an average this week of 30 adults. Our adult class was not only made up of our own church members. One of goals in Adult Vacation Bible School is to give parents who are not involved in a local church a place to go instead of dropping their children off and going home. We accomplished our goal here. Parents had the opportunity to interact and meet other people in a non-threatening manner and be exposed to the gospel message. I believe this was a success.

2. Volunteers: I am thankful to all of the volunteers who worked this week. As I mentioned earlier, it was a long week. It was also very hot. I am especially thankful and grateful to all of our teachers who worked full-time jobs who left work and came straight to church for five straight days. I want to especially mention and thank those who worked in the kitchen all week. During our Vacation Bible School, we skip the Snack Rotation. Instead, we choose to provide a meal for parents, children, and workers every night. Our kitchen workers came out early, set everything up, served the kids, and stayed until all was cleaned up. Thank you. I also want to thank the summer student missionaries who are a part of the Savannah River Baptist Association Low Country Ministries who came out and helped with our big kick-off event. To all those who worked so hard, your pastor wants you to know that you are appreciated.

3. Ministry: Any time you have kids on campus you have an opportunity to be engaged in real, one-on-one, life-changing ministry. I believe with all of my heart that is what happened this week. During our Worship Rally, our students take up an offering each night. There is anticipated and spirit-filled battle between boys and girls to see who can raise the most money for our designate ministry cause. This gives us an opportunity to further educate our students on the importance of missions. I am excited to report that this year we raised $510.00 for the Connie Maxwell Children’s Home. Vacation Bible School is intentionally evangelistic. We are diligent to make sure that we communicate the gospel message all week long, not just on the night of the “evangelistic” lesson. With that being said, we did not have any public professions of faith (to my knowledge) this week. I can’t explain it in human reasoning. For many who read this, the assumption will be that we failed as a church in Vacation Bible School. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are here to share a message and plant a seed, understanding that it is God who gives the increase. We trust God’s Word knowing that it will not return unto Him void. Real ministry takes place when you take time to listen, talk to, and show love toward a child in the name of Christ. This is what we did this week. If down the road a year or two or five, in God’s timing, a gospel presentation is given and a child responds because of something that was planted in their heart this week, then we were faithful to have done our part.

4. Sharing: Once again this year we had the opportunity to share and pass on the decorations and other resources we used to another church that was in need of them. The bulk of our props, supplies, and decorations will be utilized by at least two additional churches before the summer is over. I believe this is a stewardship issue. Lifeway Vacation Bible School material is not inexpensive. It does not make sense to spend all of that money and then store everything in a closet. I am pleased that we were able to help others in this way.

Overall, we had a great week and look forward to what comes out of the efforts of this week. Again I want to thank every teacher, worker, and parent who allowed their child to be a part of our Vacation Bible School. We are eagerly looking forward to Lifeway’s VBS 2014; “Agency D3: Discover. Decide. Defend.” After all, it is only 11 months away.

Location, Location, Location

Port Royal Baptist Church is uniquely situated for ministry opportunity. I believe the placement of our church has nothing to do with chance. I believe the placement of our church has nothing to do with luck. Instead, I believe that we are where we are for a reason. I believe that we have been planted and given a certain responsibility for the care of this community. If you’ve never been to Port Royal Baptist Church, allow me explain a little bit about our location.

Stepping out of the front door and looking to the left, there is a major highway connecting the town of Port Royal with the city of Beaufort. Across that highway are two apartment buildings. The first is a senior adult community that we have just recently been able to involve ourselves in. The other, next door to the first, is an apartment building with a mixture of singles, families, and seniors. Our church has had a presence here for over five years and continues to be active here to this day.  Stepping out the front door and looking to the right, there is Naval Hospital Beaufort. Aboard this military base you will find housing for both singles and families. At times in the past, our members who are in the military have lived here. Stepping out the front and looking directly to the front, you will see a park that is maintained by the town of Port Royal. There are two things worth mentioning about this park. First, a skate park was built here several years ago that gives  kids who enjoy skateboarding a place to go. There are always kids there. We are expecting a door to open to be able to reach them. Second, this park hosts a farmers market that runs year round.  Every Saturday morning vendors set up in the park and sell everything from vegetables to fresh shrimp, bread to plants and flowers, barbecue to olive oil. Our church has been able to be establish a presence here during the summer months giving away free cold water to both vendors and customers. This farmers market draws a large crowd every week.

The exciting part is that all of this takes place at our doorsteps. Literally. Our parking lot serves as parking for the market every Saturday. Directly behind the church is an apartment complex in which we have been praying for an opportunity to establish a presence and a witness of the gospel. Our prayers have been answered and we have been able to host a block party here recently and meet the residents and their families.  Also, within a half-mile of the church, there are at least three other multi-housing units. Port Royal Baptist Church is just over a mile from the front gate of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island. We are praying for an opportunity to open up to that would enable us to minister to the families aboard the depot.

I said all of that to say this. It’s all about placement. Boundless opportunity surrounds us. Our mission field is right here. I believe that God has uniquely positioned us here to significantly impact our community. If you have never been to Port Royal Baptist Church, I hope this helps you understand where we are. If you have been to Port Royal Baptist Church, have you noticed what is around you? When you drive to the church building for scheduled services, do you realize that you pass through a mission field on your way in? Do you notice the potential that the Lord has laid at our feet? We have a people to reach. I am excited about the potential. I am excited about the opportunity before us. I love this town. I love this church. I love these people. May God enable us to reach them.

DiscipleNow : Uncensored 2011

We had the opportunity this past weekend to host a DiscipleNow weekend at Port Royal Baptist Church. The theme for this year was “Uncensored”, calling on students to live a life uncensored for God and making personal purity a life priority. Over the course of the Friday-Sunday, there was an average of 80 students in attendance. Six churches came together to make this weekend possible; Port Royal Baptist, Shell Point Baptist, St Helena Baptist, Pine Level Baptist, Grays Hill Baptist, and Praise Assembly. We were blessed with the worship band “Soul” who led in worship the entire weekend and did a phenomenal job communicating the power and worth of God through music.

  

It was a blessing to see what unfolded over the weekend. As the students split into their small groups (middle school boys, middle school girls, high school boys, high school girls) leaders were able to share God’s desire for their purity on a level they could understand. Thank you small group leaders. Students went to the gym wall and put their prayer concerns in writing. Students laughed together, cried together, worshipped together, and prayed together. It truly was a moving experience.

  

I had the privilege as a pastor to spend some time with our students and student leaders over the weekend. As I watched individual student pastors work with their students and work with each other, it is clear they have a heart for the Lord and for students. I want to say how very proud I am of the student pastors that worked so hard for so many moths in order to make this weekend a reality. As I reflect on this weekend, a few thoughts come to mind.

1. Although teenagers may dress differently, speak differently, and worship differently than adults, those differences in no way diminish their heart and desire for God.

2. It speaks volumes to the power of the Holy Spirit when teenagers openly admit their sin before their peer group that is often their toughest critic.

3. I do not know who said that teenagers only think of themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth.

4. Student pastors are, in my book, both awesome and under-appreciated. I admire greatly those leaders who work full time and yet give full time love and commitment to their students.

To the best of our knowledge, four students made professions of faith in Christ over the weekend. For this, we rejoice. Many more made commitments to purity and to a closer walk with the Lord. In this, we rejoice. I want to thank every church and volunteer who had a part in this weekend’s event. From this pastor, I appreciate you. To the people of Port Royal Baptist Church, thank you for opening the doors and letting the students in.

Are We There Yet? Part #2

“Getting there”. In yesterday’s post, I began looking at the question that is being asked of all Southern Baptists during this Christmas season as we study about, pray for, and give to our missionaries through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. The question is “Are We There Yet?” The “there” is the lost world. The “there” is the culmination of our witness so that everyone has heard the name and gospel of Jesus Christ. Along the way, questions must be answered. The status quo has to be challenged. Priorities must be re-shuffled. Today, I want to offer two questions that surely will have to be dealt with before we can get “there”.

Question #1: Are we there yet in our willingness to place the funding of our missionaries as a top priority?

Our Southern Baptist missionaries are on the front-line in the battle over spiritual darkness and are funded solely by monies contributed through the Cooperative Program. This enables our missionaries to remain on the field engaged in training leaders, planting churches, building relationships with local people groups, and other gospel-proclaiming endeavors. The flip side of the issue is this. If churches decrease their giving, then less money will reach the mission field overall. If state conventions decide to keep for themselves larger and larger percentages of the CP dollar, then less money will reach the mission field.

It is a reality that ministry requires money. It is just the simple truth. Reaching the lost, and the nations for that matter, requires the individual believer, the individual church, the individual association, and the individual state conventions to give selflessly, in whatever manner is available to them in order for Christ to be proclaimed. Budgets reflect priority. It does not take an economist to tell that financially our county has been hurting for a few years, and continues today. I am also a firm believer that financial challenges further reveal priority.  When faced with financial challenges, churches can decide to either make missions and ministry a priority or play it safe and look within. At Port Royal Baptist Church, we have recently made decisions to further invest in what is fruitful and decrease what is not seen as fruitful. Associations, when faced with financial challenges, can either choose to cut ministries and play it safe or aggressively speak for the nations on behalf of the fellowship of churches. State conventions, when faced with financial challenges, can either decide that missions work beyond the state lines is as equally important and worthy of equal funding, or can allow the lobbying of the state agencies and entities to drown out the call for needed funding from overseas.

What makes me question whether or not the willingness is there or not comes from what I have seen over the past several months across the SBC. This willingness can be seen in several state conventions have voted to move their CP division to a 50/50 split, meaning the state retains 50% of funds sent to them from the churches and forwards the other 50% to the SBC. This is encouraging and exciting thing to see happen. It is at the very least a recognition that more funding is needed beyond the state in order keep already appointed missionaries where they are and fund the ones who are standing by. As I had mentioned in a earlier post, our state convention is South Carolina during it’s annual meeting voted to keep any excess funds beyond what is required to meet the operating budget within the state and divide the excess between the seven state entities, agencies, and schools. Do difficult financial times in our country give us a free pass on reaching the nations with the gospel? Absolutely not. Until we as Southern Baptists possess a willingness to make missionary funding a priority, “there” will remain just beyond our reach.

Question #2: Are we there yet in our realization that “business as usual” is no longer acceptable in our efforts to reach the lost?

 I believe this was the genesis for the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. Going back to the original motion in 2009, there has been a realization across the SBC that on present course we are, at best, treading water in our efforts to fulfill the Great Commission. This passion and desire to get our practice right as it relates to the Great Commission is real. It is just as real as the passion and desire was to get our theology right during the Conservative Resurgence of the mid-late 1980’s. From time to time it takes something to rattle us and wake us up from our slumber. I believe GCRTF has put before us as Southern Baptists the picture of lostness and legitimate recommendations that would enable us to fulfill the Great Commission. These recommendations, if implemented by the various agencies, will change the face of our denominational structure and how we do “business”. I was encouraged to read what Dr. Kevin Ezell, President of the North American Mission Board, said recently at a missionary appointment service. Dr. Ezell said “As we go through changes, absolutely every change we make and every reduction we make is to put more missionaries in the field.

 It is very easy to get settled into routines, schedules, ministries, programs, and structures; and as a result, place our trust in them. Any changes to the present structure will be questioned and difficult. Territorial spats are already occurring and changes have only been proposed. Recently, a group of directors of missions from Alabama wrote an open letter to the SBC encouraging a slow down on the Great Commission Resurgence. I’ll be writing a response to that letter in the near future. How do you hope to slow down a renewed desire and passion to fulfill the Great Commission? Better yet, how dare you ask such a thing? I sat in the convention hall of the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Orlando this past June, it was clear that Southern Baptists were saying “business as usual” is no longer acceptable. It is a willingness to let go of “business as usual” and set aside turf wars and territorialism that will determine our ability to get “there”.

A Month of Ministry

I love the community I which I live. I love the community in which our church has been planted. I believe with all of my heart that the best years are before us and that we are going to make a difference in our Jerusalem. God is giving us at Port Royal Baptist Church some new and creative opportunities to minister to the people of Port Royal. For this, I am thankful. Two such opportunities come our way in the month of October: the Festival of the Sea community festival in Port Royal and our annual Fall Festival and Trunk-or-Treat.

October 16th brought the Festival of the Sea in Port Royal. The purpose of this festival was to highlight and bring attention to the businesses located in the old village section of Port Royal. There was food, music, a car show, and local business vendors lining Paris Avenue. We had the opportunity to set up a booth and introduce our church to the people who stopped by. We gave away cold water and popcorn, along with information about our church and its ministries. Face painting and balloon animals were a big hit with the children. I am proud of the 27 volunteers from PRBC who gave their time during the five hours we were there. I want to also thank Larry Leming, Missions Ministries Director from the Savannah River Baptist Association, for spending the day ministering with us. It was a great day of meeting people, building relationships with people and businesses, and sharing the gospel as allowed. Below are a few pictures from the day.

   

   

  

   

October 31st brought our annual Fall Festival and Trunk-or-Treat. Halloween brings with it the carnival-type atmosphere of fall festivals and similar events. We wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to provide a safe alternative to trick-or-treating. With food, games, prizes, fellowship, and conversation, we were able to bridge the gap between entertainment and outreach. It was a real privilege to spend some time with the people of Port Royal. We had approximately 150 people on campus Sunday night. I want to thank all who made this year’s fall festival a success. You are appreciated and you labor was not in vain. Below are a few pictures from the night’s activities.

  

  

  

  

  

  

   

   

Should Church Calendars Take Into Account Community Calendars?

It has been said that if you want to know what a person values, check their calendar. They reflect what we feel is important and worthy of giving our time to. Calendars reflect priorities, whether they be personal or church business. Most churches have a master calendar that contains all events, reservations, service times, and ministries that are offered. Most often the church has a group of leaders (church council, leadership team, etc) that has the responsibility of coordinating all of the above. One important task in this planning is to ensure there is as little overlap as possible. The last thing we as a church wants is to schedule multiple ministry opportunities on the same day and cause our people to have to choose.

There is another calendar to think about that is often  overlooked. The community calendar. Every local community has a calendar that lists events, fellowship opportunities, news, festivals, and other functions that locally unique. Most often a town council or special events committee publishes this calendar far enough ahead so that their community can plan for participation.

Why does all of this matter? I believe that for far too long the church and community itself has been content to exist and function as if they don’t need each other. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If we as a church say that community matters then we should work together as often as possible. The church needs the community. The community is the place and the people into which God has planted the local church as light, ministers of grace, and portraits of love.  God has called His people to their community to flavor and influence. The community needs the church as well. Whether they acknowledge it or not does not negate the truth of it. The community needs the positive influence the local church brings to the table. The community needs the willingness and desire to serve and make a difference that is in the very DNA of the church.

I am not advocating allowing the secular community to determine what kinds of ministry the church engages in and when it is done. I don’t believe that would be wise on our part. I am fairly certain the community would not allow the church to determine their activity either. How then can we work together? Does the church have a responsibility to be involved in the life of their local community? Absolutely. Can both parties benefit when each are acknowledged? No doubt.

I have done a great deal of thinking on this subject and it has shaped my philosophy of ministry. When planning events and ministry opportunities for the church body, we should take into account what is going on in the community on that given day or weekend. Not for the simple matter of avoiding conflict, instead for the possibility that the church can take part in that event. Conversely, when there are special events in the community the church should seek ways to involve itself when possible. As the church involves itself in the everyday life of the community, over time trust is built and relationships are formed.

The goal for the church as it relates to the community is to be an agent of change and hope through the message of the gospel of Christ. When the community sees that the church cares about the people and their future, without strings attached, the church earns credibility in the eyes of the community. Now, does the community have to acknowledge the church for the church to be credible? Of course not. However, the old saying is true here, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” This credibility is the platform from which the gospel is made known. If we as a church believe in making a difference and permanent imprint on our community, then involvement is necessary. Why compete when we can cooperate?

Blind or Informed Cooperation?

One of the main reasons I choose to be a Southern Baptist is because of cooperation. I enjoy the cooperative spirit that sets Southern Baptists apart from other denominations, even from other Baptist denominations. The basis for our cooperation is a shared doctrinal belief as set forth in our Baptist Faith and Message. Cooperation exists between individual churches, churches and associations, churches and the state convention, and churches and the SBC. Cooperation is beneficial. One such benefit is the sharing of resources (financial, material, personnel, etc). Churches with small budgets can gain access to materials, training, and equipment for ministry from other churches, associations, and conventions that may not be readily available to them. On the other hand, the SBC, state conventions, associations have access to a pool of gifted, talented, and willing people from the local church to work and serve across various entities.  Another benefit of cooperation is simple, yet so powerfully true. We are able to accomplish more together for the kingdom than we can do alone. I believe this statement forms the basis for cooperation and has been the rallying cry across the SBC since its inception in 1845.

With that being said, I don’t believe that cooperation is automatic. Here is what I mean by that. There is a difference between what I like to call blind and informed cooperation. Blind cooperation is cooperating out of tradition, habit, or out of a sense of guilt. This would look something like this: “Give because you have always given.” “I don’t know why we do it; it’s just something we do.” Informed cooperation is committing time, talent, and finances after an evaluation of the goals and purposes of another organization so that there is a peace about joining them in the work. As a pastor, I have the responsibility to lead the church I pastor to put its time, resources, and finances into what will ultimately lead to the lost being saved and the saved growing closer to Christ.

I want to cooperate. I desire to cooperate with those who share the same conviction, desire, passion, vision, and purposes that I value as essential, based on kingdom benefit. This whole issue of cooperation is one that I have been giving a great of thought to recently. I struggle with questions such as these: What do you do when those you work with (individuals, churches, associations, state conventions, SBC) don’t seem to want to cooperate? What happens when their decisions, philosophies, actions, and plans indicate the intent to go in a direction that just can’t be followed? At what point does fruitfulness become the driving force of cooperation over tradition and guilt? As a church we can’t do everything. We don’t have unlimited resources. When it comes to the energies of our people, their talents, and financial resources, we must direct those to areas that will bear the most fruit for the kingdom.