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This past week two of my spiritual mentors died on the same day. I had the privilege of preaching one of their funeral services. One of them led me to Christ and taught me how to preach, the other taught me how to live a genuine Christian life.

Both of these men’s influence will continue into eternity because of the investment they had in the lives of people. I am one of those  in whom they invested.

One man was my Pastor and the other served as my Sunday School teacher and discipler. I can truly say I am a product of a church that simply functioned like a church was supposed to. They did the basics, those things that might seem mundane or elementary to some.

Here are “Five Ways the Church Can Be the Church” – things that I learned from my own church:

  1. Be Gospel Centered.

Getting the Gospel out to the world was a priority. My Pastor kept this before us consistently. He took me with him to share the Gospel, sent me with church leaders, and provided opportunities for me to share my faith.

  1. Focus on Personal Growth.

Growing in your personal walk with Christ was considered the normal Christian life. This was not something reserved for super Christians. There was a plan for helping people grow in their faith.

  1. Invest in Youth.

The adults invested in youth. The church did not only run a youth ministry but individuals personally invested in the lives of youth. When I could not afford to go to youth camp, the man whose funeral I just preached paid my way. By the way, it was at that camp I surrendered my life to ministry.

  1. Identify Young Leadership.

The leadership of the church identified young leaders and spent time investing in their lives. A variety of men spent time with me helping me learn to live as a believer. They each taught me something unique about my personal walk with Christ.

  1. Be Authentic.

The people genuinely cared for one another, which manifested itself at church and through their everyday lives. This established a safe place for people of all ages who were searching. The members and their relationship with each other attracted others to our church.

I was reminded, as I helped celebrate a life well lived and worthy of influence, how blessed I was to be a part of a church like Ridgecrest Baptist. A church who acts like the church is a powerful force in every culture.

Tell me about your experience!

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2 Comments

  1. Great post Mike. Sounds like Ridgecrest got it right too.

  2. Thankful for you Mike and your work for the Kingdom. I’m taking this Bro Shelly passed & thinking back to those days that impacted our lives for eternity. I’m not sure who your Sunday School teacher was but then there were some wonderful godly men that cross my mind.
    For Mom’s service, I asked they sing “Thank You for giving to the Lord.” There were a good many people from our growing up years there that I can truly say we could celebrate and sing that song for.
    God bless you and Betsi as you continue serving Him
    Love, Ruth

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