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Vision Sunday

Mary Ellen Ermis August 27, 2023 sermons, cityrise, houston, Proverbs, Roger Patterson, West U Baptist,

The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Senior Pastor Dr. Roger Patterson on Sunday, August 27, 2023 at our West U Baptist campus. To view the sermon in full, check out the link below.

Happy New Year!!!! Or…Happy New School Year!

Have you made any new school year resolutions?

Maybe a better question is how are you doing with the resolutions you made this past New Year’s Day?

Statistics show that 48% of people make New Year’s resolutions. And of those 48%, only 8% of people actually keep their resolutions. I’m no statistician, but that’s a pretty poor success rate. It leads me to conclude that people don’t finish change well.

So, I want to give you 10 New School Year’s Resolutions we can ALL keep. We can all succeed at these:

  1. Stop Cooking—It might help your marriage.
  2. Gain Weight—nobody needs to wear skinny jeans anyway.
  3. Read less—Give your eyes a break.
  4. Drink less water—conservation starts with you.
  5. Be selfish with your time—you don’t get paid to volunteer.
  6. Stop Exercising—fitness is overrated.
  7. Run up the credit cards—help the economy.
  8. Find ways to add stress to your life—anxiety is good for you.
  9. Focus on the faults of others—it will make you feel better about yourself.
  10. Never make New Year’s Resolution—What’s the point?

Those are some resolutions that we can all keep and make this school year one like no other!!!!

The good news is that this message isn’t about making a resolution for change. It’s not even about inspiring you to make change.

Corporate Change: You know, back in 2018, we began to ask the question, “What will we look like when we turn 100 years of age in 2028?”

In 2018, I mentioned that this next decade we would live through, would see more change than all the change of history combined.

  • Since then, the world has seen a global pandemic and millions of lives were lost.
  • Politically, our nation is more divided now than ever and it is getting uglier by the day!
  • The arrival of Artificial Intelligence is threatening so much about how people work, and it is predicted to change the entire landscape of industries.

So, externally, there are a lot of changes going on…some good, and some not so good!

As a church, we launched our CityRise Missouri City Campus, began to develop our digital strategy and then we embarked on Deep and Wide: Extending our Roots to Broaden our Reach.

And you have heard some of the impact this morning. Let me just reiterate how thankful I am to you to walk this road of change with me and our team!

There are a few things to note of real significance that I am so excited about.

  • we have invested heavily for the digital age in which we live, launching a new app, building a production team, and writing and capturing transformational content.
  • We have done this while also renovating our education building at Crosspoint, as you have already given over $19 million of the anticipated and pledged $30 million dollars of the Deep and Wide Generosity Initiative.

Friends, we are making so much progress!

I want to take a moment to remind you of a few things and then talk to you about finishing.

Who are we?

We are a multi-site congregation called to our city and world by generously giving the gospel of Jesus Christ.

            We have a DNA of:

  • A commitment to reaching our local communities through the local church.
  • The simplicity and clarity of the gospel message.
  • Being a People on Mission.

Our DNA…

  • A commitment to reaching our local communities through the local church.
  • The simplicity and clarity of the gospel message.
  • Being a People on Mission.

When we turn 100 years of age in 2028, I pray we will be known for:

  • Loving our God
  • Loving our neighbor
  • Lifting our city and the world through the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But listen, this is more a half-time speech than a message to cast vision.

So, hear me say…this message isn’t about inspiring change, it’s about completing change. So much around us is changing, but we also are pushing forward for Kingdom Change right here in the heart of Houston, Texas.

As I have approached this message, I have asked this question:

“What are the components or ingredients to lead change to completion?”

Three Significant Ideas today on Leading Change to Completion:

Slide: Leading Change

  • A Strategy
  • A Structure
  • And Being Stretched to Strength.

I. Strategy – Strategy declares “How” we are going to get things done.  It involves critical thinking.

When you think of strategy, I want you to think “Wisdom.”

Look again at Proverbs 24:3a.

Proverbs 24:3a

By wisdom a house is built…

Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, or insight.  Utilizing wisdom is a technical skill.

Wisdom provides you with an ongoing strategy of “How to Live!”

The Scriptures declares that:

  • “Wisdom is Supreme. Though it costs all you have, get wisdom.”
  • And it begins with a fear of the Lord.
  • Wisdom…Leads to Life
  • Wisdom…Brings Prosperity
  • Wisdom Gives Security
  • Wisdom is Needed to Govern

By Wisdom a house is built!

The Second thing we need is Structure.

II.   Structure – The Structure establishes the priority of the Strategy!

If my objective is to be healthy…

My Strategy – will be diet and exercise that leads to weight loss.

            My Structure – will involve

  • A calendar
  • A workout plan
  • Do’s and don’ts of eating

So, when you think of a Structure, think of the word UNDERSTANDING.

Look again at Proverbs 24:3

Proverbs 24:3-4

By wisdom a house is built,

and by understanding it is established;

Do you see the structure?  “…by understanding it is established.”

Understanding is to grasp and help to establish something; it is to make it stand tall. It involves comprehension, skill, and insight.

We have good structure here. As you invest your resources here, know that there is a finance team, and personnel team, a missions team, an executive council, and a staff focused on great stewardship. That doesn’t mean we are perfect. No, we make mistakes. But we work hard to honor the gifts given. We have good structure and good process, and good checks and balances, all for the purpose of making our ministry stand tall.

We need Strategy, and we need structure. But we also need to finish.

So, the third thing we need is to be Stretched to Strength.  The third thing we need is to stretch until that which is difficult, becomes a strength.

Leading Change

  • A Strategy
  • A Structure
  • And Being Stretched to Strength.

III. Stretched to Strength

I remember one December holiday season when our kids were pretty young that we took our kids for an overnight stay at Great Wolf Lodge hotel and indoor water park.

It was a fun time in the water, going down water slides and getting wet in the wave pool instead of being out in the cold rain and wind.

Carson was 5 years old at the time. Carson and I were in the wave pool, she worked on her swimming.  The waves had subsided, and she would have me throw her a few feet away and then she would stand, turn, and swim to me.

Periodically, I would back up from her, trying to challenge her a bit to swim further.  She would pick up on it and tell me I wasn’t allowed to move.

I told her, “Carson, you can do it.  I want you to stretch yourself.  Push yourself a little bit.  You can do it.”

You know, like Carson and swimming, we naturally stick to that which makes us comfortable.

It isn’t until we are willing to be uncomfortable that we can grow.

The fixed mindset says, “I’ve done all the growing I am going to do.” But the Growth Mindset says, “Let’s keep stretching and let’s keep growing!”

Look again at Proverbs 24:3-4.

Proverbs 24:3-4

By wisdom a house is built,

and by understanding it is established;

   by knowledge the rooms are filled

with all precious and pleasant riches.

“…by knowledge…”

Knowledge is special insight and discernment.

When we gain more knowledge—about a relationship, a subject matter, a discipline – it stretches us until it becomes a strength.

Ask any medical student. Medical school is a continuous drink of knowledge that continuously challenges and stretches students until they master the material.

And that’s what we are doing as a church.

As we march to our 100th birthday, we are stretching to strength!

  • We are grouping together and growing. Be radically committed to your community group and the people there. Grow together! Have a growth mindset…there are people that God longs to use you to reach!
  • We are giving financially. God is blessing your gifts. Keep stretching and keep reaching!
  • And we are going with the good news of Jesus all over our city and all over the world.

I am so proud of this church.

Yet, we must remain diligent and faithful.

I want to forecast a few things to you as we continue toward our 100th birthday.

In the Next Year:

In the next year, I hope that we:

  • Finished with the Repairs at your campus at CityRise Missouri City.
  • Are finished with our renovations on campus at Crosspoint
  • Opening our second location of A Children’s Village Preschool at Crosspoint, as we aim for the 2024-2025 school year. This will allow us to engage with and reach more young families.
  • We will have finished our 2 Year Deep and Wide Campaign and I hope and pray we will have exceeded our $30million in receipts.
  • Are continuing to grow on our campuses…at CityRise Missouri City, at Crosspoint Church – Bellaire, and here at our West U Campus.
  • I pray that we will grow our DIGITAL REACH, and see more and more people engage with our message far and wide.
  • We will continue to grow our influence with our ministry partners here in the city with the CityRise Network, and with our mission partners around the globe.

When we celebrate our 100th birthday:

When we celebrate our 100th birthday in February of 2028, I pray that:

  • There is more life and ministry happening in our church than there has ever been.
  • Growth…Both Inner Loop Campuses have grown significantly…CityRise Missouri City will have doubled.
  • That we will be finished with the renovations that we have planned on our inner loop campuses.
  • That our digital impact continues, and digital ministry will be fully integrated into the life of our church.
  • That churches are being planted and lives are being lifted through our CityRise Family…across our city and through our mission partners.
  • And that we will look back on the previous 10 years and say, “Look at all God did. Lives were changed. Marriages were restored. Thousands were saved! And God was really stretching us!”

May our homes, personally and corporately be filled with precious and pleasant treasures!