Any organization, local church or otherwise, who seeks to grow and advance in their mission, does well to clarify an envisioned future.  In doing so, we are honest about where things are currently and recognize how things ought to be.  While we hold to an unchangeable purpose and unchanging values, the pursuit of a defined vision works to deepen our commitment and faithfulness to those ideals which are most important to us.

What would happen if every member of Ninth & O Baptist Church increased in faithfulness and intentionality in their commitment to community at church and bold witness to the gospel?

Imagine your neighbor across the street who currently doesn’t attend church experiencing the joy, support, and friendships you enjoy at Ninth & O, all because you invited them to come.

Imagine your unbelieving co-worker hearing about the gospel for the first time through your faithful witness and realizing that it’s for her, too, and that all of her deepest longings are met in Jesus.

Imagine your lost brother-in-law coming to faith in Jesus Christ, joining the church, and becoming a faithful, growing, and contributing member of the body.

Imagine expanding our church facilities to accommodate the increasing numbers of people visiting and joining our church.

Imagine your kids being excited to come to church every Wednesday and Sunday because they’ve developed meaningful friendships as a result of your family’s consistent, faithful church attendance.

Jesus’ love for us calls and compels us to deepen our faithfulness to His church.  We want to see these things, and many more like them, begin to happen with such frequency that they seem common place at Ninth & O.  How amazing would it be to see the number of guests double or even triple?  How wonderful would it be to come to church each week knowing that there will be a baptism because God is saving the lost through the effective witness of faithful members of our church?  How marvelous would it be to know that our children are seeing a pattern of faithful attendance, service, and giving not only by their parents, but by all who are members of our church–a pattern by which they can set the trajectory of their own lives.

In 2017, our desire is to grow together in intentional community and witness.  We’re calling this vision Pressing In and Reaching Out.  We are articulating a fresh clarification of our purpose, values, and vision as a church.  We have adopted a new church logo that embodies these values.  We have launched this redesigned website that will be of value for our members and non-members alike.  But all of these things are simply an aid to us as a church to keep our focus on the primary responsibilities we have.  These are not new things.  Indeed, all Christians are called to be faithful members of the covenant community we call the church.  And all Christians are called to be faithful witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our desire for 2017 is that we as a church would develop habits of commitment to both of these priorities, and in doing so, to see Ninth & O grow in faithfulness and fruitfulness for the glory of the Father.

It has been said that if we want something we’ve never had, then we must do something we’ve never done.  Perhaps this year will mark a turning point for us as a church.  But more specifically, our prayer is that this year would mark a turning point for each individual member of the church.  We pray that God would use us individually and corporately in Louisville through our faithfulness to His mission.

So let’s Press In and Reach Out together, empowered by the Holy Spirit, preaching the hope of Jesus to the praise of our Father’s glory and grace.

For 2017, we are working toward fulfilling a vision of greater intentionality in our membership and witness.  There are two key components in our 2017 Vision:  Pressing In and Reaching Out.

Pressing In

Pressing In represents an effort toward deepening our commitment and intentionality as members of the church.  This is represented in three primary areas:

  1. Presence
    The first component of Pressing In is our ministry of presence.  To be intentional as a community requires that we all make extra effort to be together.  Certainly this includes our times of corporate worship, as the author of Hebrews reminds us, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25).  It also comes as we invest ourselves in one another in community by sharing a cup of coffee with a new friend from church, having another family from your BFG over for dinner, meeting with a brother from church for spiritual accountability, or meeting a church member from another generation for lunch.  We want to press in to our faith family by being present with one another.
  1. Service
    The second component of Pressing In is service.  Paul writes, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” (Romans 12:4-6a).  We use our gifts for the benefit of one another when we serve on the nursery rotation, arrange chairs for our BFG, help a single mom move to a new apartment, or run sound in the worship service.  We want to press in by serving one another with the unique gifts God has given each of us individually.
  1. Giving
    The third component of Pressing In is giving.  Jesus Himself promised, “…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).  We want to press in through the sacrificial financial gifts given as our tithes and offerings, the Great Commission Offering (GCO), and other opportunities–all to advance the kingdom, knowing that “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Reaching Out

Reaching Out represents an effort toward deepening our commitment and intentionality as witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is represented in three primary areas:

  1. Intercede
    The first component of Reaching Out is intercession–prayer for specific lost individuals to whom we desire to witness.   The Apostle Paul requested these prayers for His ministry as an example to us.  He writes in Colossians 4:2-4, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”  We must pray with faith and expectancy that God will open to us a door for the word.  As we do so, we will find multiplied opportunities to share the hope of Jesus Christ.
  1. Invest
    The second component of Reaching Out is to invest.  Hebrews 13:2 reminds us, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers…”  A faithful witness involves investing in relationships with unbelievers.  It has been said that the process of evangelism is really quite simple:  Make a friend, be a friend, and bring your friend to Jesus.  We invest in unbelievers and earn their trust by having them into our home to watch the game, offering to care for their dog when they go out of town, helping to shovel snow in their driveway, or wishing them a happy birthday.  In these simply ways of investing, we demonstrate the love of Jesus and open up opportunities for invitation.
  1. Invite
    The third component of Reaching Out is invitation.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “…we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.  We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”  Sometimes the invitation to our friend is to an upcoming church service or event.  Sometimes the invitation comes at the end of a gospel presentation.  We desire to deepen our faithfulness as a church by Reaching Out in our invitations to church and to belief in Jesus.