The following is Pastor John’s direction and guide for how he believes the Lord desires our church should be run. This guide is referred to as “The Vision” (also known as “The Four W’s”) and has been taught several times over the years, most recently in 2017.
Scroll down below the audio recordings to read a summary in text.
(The Four W's)
Whether it be an individual Christian or a church body, it is absolutely necessary to be guided by a GOD-given vision.
Proverbs 29:18a Where there is no vision, the people perish…(KJV)
One of the darkest time periods for the nation of Israel was during the days of the Judges, when there was no vision from GOD.
Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
They ignored GOD’s commands and instead, followed their hearts, right into the worship of false gods that catered to the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Because they rejected GOD, GOD responded by a lack of response.
1 Samuel 3:1b …And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.
If a person won’t listen to GOD, GOD will wait patiently and silently until they are ready to listen. And because Israel refused to listen, GOD remained silent, and the people did what was right in their own eyes. Which, by the way, never ends well!
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
As the days of the Judges drew to a close, GOD raised up Samuel who fulfilled three roles: Judge, prophet, and priest. GOD began speaking through Samuel HIS vision to the nation, calling them to repentance and obedience to the WORD of GOD, which would lead them out of oppression and death and into the pathway of blessing and life. King Solomon wrote of the necessity of needing vision.
Proverbs 29:18a Where there is no vision,
No clearly defined, GODly path.
18b the people perish:
Destroyed by doing what is right in their own eyes.
18c but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Notice how GOD’s vision is tied to GOD’s WORD. Which brings us to the first of the four “W”’s of GOD’s vision for us:
The WORD of GOD, the Bible. GOD’s WORD is most important to GOD.
Psalm 138:2b For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
Therefore, GOD’s WORD should be most important to us. Because GOD’s WORD is all about JESUS!
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Bible says In the last days there would be a famine- not a lack of physical food, but of spiritual food.
Amos 8:11,12 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD, “that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. 12 They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, but shall not find it.
Some 24 years ago we were told that not many churches in this area were teaching though the Bible. So in January of 1995 we felt led of the HOLY SPIRIT to come here to start a church and teach through the Bible. The primary responsibility of a Pastor is to teach the Bible.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Therefore, it is my GOD-given responsibility to faithfully teach the WORD of GOD; all of it, because it’s all GOD’s WORD! And it’s the WORD of GOD that prepares and equips the body of CHRIST to serve the LORD and HIS people.
Ephesians 4:11-13 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
So the first and foremost part of the vision is to study the Bible, the WORD of GOD, so that we can better know GOD the WORD. But what then do we do with the knowledge of the WORD? That brings us to the next “W”:
John 4:23-24 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Knowledge of GOD’s WORD is vital, but a person with knowledge alone can become prideful.
1 Corinthians 8:1b … Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.
But when we take the knowledge of GOD’s WORD and then add to it our love for the LORD, we then enter into worship. The original Greek word for “worship” is proskyneō; Toward, kiss. To crouch or bow down, to prostrate oneself in homage, do reverence to, to adore. To kiss, like a dog licking his master; not like a cat ignoring its owner. Again according to John 4, we worship GOD in spirit and truth. In SPIRIT as we are led by the HOLY SPIRIT in expressing our love for GOD. And in truth as the LORD directs us in HIS WORD, the Bible. Worshipping the LORD involves much more than just music and singing, but music and singing are a big part in our worship experience at Calvary Chapel Bartlett. I realize that not everyone will identify with our style of music. But that’s why GOD has provided many different styles of churches. And apparently GOD enjoys many different styles of worship because HE created many different styles of people. But something every believer agrees with is that the words of the songs must be Biblically correct and focused on glorifying the LORD. I pray often that we provide a worship experience that allows you to worship the LORD in Spirit and in truth. And if we can do it with a Southern Rock Blues flavor, with “more cowbell,” all the better! Also, if we’re to reach the next generation, we older folks are going to have to adapt to a little louder, more visual, and more modern. Because the youth of today do not identify with soft and old, and one thing we should all be committed to is passing on the mantle of church leadership to the next generation!
1 Timothy 2:2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
So up to this point GOD’s vision for Calvary Chapel Bartlett is the WORD, Worship, and now, the third “W”:
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
This, along with Matthew 28:18-20, is called “The Great Commission”: sharing our faith with the purpose of leading others to faith in JESUS CHRIST. The Great Commission is not an option: it is a command. But it’s a command coupled with a promise of power!
Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
GOD could stick HIS head out of the clouds and say, “I’m GOD. Worship ME or else!” But HE has chosen to reveal HIMSELF through us, the church.
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
And the message, the Gospel, the good news, is that we were born dead in our sins and trespasses. But GOD’s only begotten SON, JESUS CHRIST, became a man, lived a sinless life, and took our place in judgment on the cross. Three days later HE rose from the dead, proving that whoever believes in HIM will not perish but have everlasting life. GOD has strategically placed us in our neighborhoods, at work, at school, in our kids sports and clubs, for the main purpose of witnessing for JESUS CHRIST. Some have said, “Be a witness; and use words if necessary.” Yes, it is so important to live it out, to not be hypocrites. But if we don’t say anything, we are not witnessing.
Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
So, in addition to the WORD and worship, we are called to witness for JESUS, in how we live and with the words we speak. And now we come to the fourth “W” in GOD’s vision for us:
Luke 12:35-40 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
So the LORD JESUS is coming back at a time we don’t know – And HE expects us to be watching for HIM as if HE could come for us at any moment. And promises blessings for those who are watching for HIM.
Luke 12:39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Therefore JESUS expects us to be watching with expectation, and excitement!
Revelation 22:12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”
Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
So that’s the vision I believe GOD put on my heart for this fellowship: we study the WORD of GOD, we Worship GOD, we Witness to others, and we are Watching for JESUS. And whatever we say or do, we must always do so within the parameters of GOD’s WORD, the Bible. And if it’s not Biblical, then we are simply not interested. But if it is Biblical, then may we pursue those things with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And by so doing we will fulfill JESUS’ commandments:
Matthew 12:30,31 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”