By Jerry D. Porter
“There once was a rich man, … wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus … had been dumped on his doorstep… This poor man died, and … the rich man also died and was buried … He called out, ‘Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue …’ But Abraham said, ‘Child … there is a huge chasm set between us …’ The rich man said, ‘Then … send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers so he can warn them …’ Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets …’ ‘I know, Father Abraham, but they’re not listening.’ Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead’” (Luke 16:19–31 MSG).
Today there is mercy and grace for the penitent. Jesus taught, however, that there is a point of no return for the finally impenitent who sin against God, others, and themselves. In hell, the rich man became evangelistic. He wanted to commission Lazarus to go preach to his brothers.
We are as good as it gets. If we do not win our family and friends, even angels or resurrected witnesses would fail as well. We do not need an URGENT commissioning by a person in hell, because Jesus has already sent us. We must take responsibility for reaching our family and friends.
We yearn to keep in step with the Holy Spirit’s leading as we obey the Lord’s Great Commission, so the Board of General Superintendents is inviting every Nazarene leader to embrace VISION 2020 faith projections.
VISION 2020 is urgently needed because the eternal destiny of our generation is at stake!
Important statistics from the USA/Canada Region in 2014:
• 649,998 members
• 481,284 in worship attendance
• 381,538 in small group attendance
• 5,036 churches
During the last 10 years (2004–2014), the USA/Canada Region has:
• Gained 6,000 members
• Lost 43,500 in worship attendance
• Gained 17,000 in small group attendance
• Lost 100 churches
The global statistics from 2014 were:
• 2.3 million members
• 1.8 million discipleship groups and worship attendance
• 29,395 churches
The global VISION 2020 faith projections are:
• 3.5 million members
• 2.5 million in discipleship groups and worship attendance
• 50,000 churches
VISION 2020 is urgently needed because we are not satisfied with the evangelism, discipleship, and church planting results.
Luke records in Acts 6:7 that “the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem.” Later he records that “the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria … were multiplied” (Acts 9:31, NKJV). We are asking the Lord of the harvest to allow us to experience the multiplication of disciples and churches during the next five years.
Recently I spoke to 500 pastors during the Peru Nazarene Centennial celebration. We rejoiced to report 65,000 members. I reminded them that we have four options:
- Shrink the church
- Maintain the church
- Grow at the current rate
- Grow by multiplication
The overwhelming response of the Peruvian Nazarene leaders was to move from addition to multiplication. With God’s help, Nazarenes are embracing bold VISION 2020 faith projections to join the Holy Spirit’s saving and sanctifying activity around the world.
Pray with us for a mighty anointing of the Father on our global church that would allow us to welcome tens of thousands of new Christlike disciples into our fellowship. Amen!