Vision Sunday: Part 1

Vision Sunday
Part 1
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
February 18th, 2015
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at

Listen to full sermon here.

Click here to Download an audio file of the sermon.

What is Vision Sunday?
This is a day when I do a little less preaching and a little more talking about where we have come from and where we are headed, and the vision we have for getting there.  This week, we look at what all has happened over the last year and what we expect to happen in the upcoming year.  And next week we will talk about our Mission and Vision.

Why is vision Sunday important? 
I Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.”

We are all a part of the Body of Christ and that means we need and want to work together.  It’s not very helpful if the foot is trying to go swimming when the hand is trying to play tennis…(which is what it looks like when I try to play tennis).   And so, we as one church body, want to work together.

But we can’t work together if we don’t share a common vision.  And so that is what this week and next week is all about, it is about sharing that vision with the entire body, so that we can work together to accomplish God’s will in this Church.

What has happened in the year since our last vision Sunday?

Well, quite frankly a lot has happened.

1. Attendance 
Our average weekly attendance is up by about 10%.  2 years ago, in February, we would expect attendance to be mid 30’s, last year, we would have expected mid 40’s and this year we would expect low to mid 50’s (This Sunday we had 57 people in attendance).  And our base of regulars is up by 20%.  We have around 70 people who I would call regulars who attend at least once a month.  This means we are headed in the right direction!

2. Giving is UP but then again so was our spending – Last year we spent more money than we have in a long time but we also gave more this past year. I won’t talk specifics here but the point is, we stepped out on faith to accomplish a lot of stuff last year, and God met our needs through our giving.

     So what did we spend money on this year? 
          A. Church Improvements – 
      1. Copier
      2. LED Parking lot lights
      3. Fresh coat paint
      4. Drainage (repaired a burst water line)
      5. Replaced an AC unit

           B. We met some huge financial needs of some of our families

           C. We prepared and gave away more foodboxes (125) than ever at Christmas.

3. We had some great programs and special events this past year.  Our Music festival was a huge success (it was one of our largest attended events around 90-100 people in attendance). And this year we are working even harder (and earlier) to make our events even better.

4. Our Flame is growing.  A few years ago, it could be said the fire in this church was dwindling, but now I believe the fire is growing.  Not only is the fire growing but the feeling of family in this church is growing and prayer and concern for one another is high.

So needless to say, this church of about 50 to 60  people…has done a lot this year, or rather should we say, God has done an incredible amount through us this past year.

But as we learned a few weeks ago…
Luke 10:20 “However, don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

And what that means for us…is that we do not rejoice in these accomplishments (which is really hard not to do)…But instead we rejoice that our names are written in heaven, that God has breathed an breath of fresh air in this church, and that he has begun revitalization and is reaching more people through His work here. We rejoice…that we are part of His church!

So that is a little bit of the year in review…

Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about the year ahead of us…

I believe this is going to be an exciting year (but then again I always think that)!  I think we will see more people come through our doors than ever before (and I think that will continue in the next few years!) And I believe that we will see more people than ever, not just because of the growth in the area, but because I really feel we are a church that is ready to do God’s will and God is ready to work through us…

1. Improvements
A) New Storage building - If you have seen my office, or the church office,  or any nook or cranny in this building, you already know that we have stuffed this church as full as we can.  And that is after several of our people have worked very hard to clean out and gotten rid of as much stuff as we can… We need some storage space!!

B) New Carpet  - Last year we experienced some significant burns in our carpet. And we are close to getting settled with the insurance company so that we can move forward with installing something new (and hopefully better).  I expect in the next few months, we will be installing new carpet.

C) TV Screens – In the original message to the church, I explained we were just trying out some tv screens to see if it was something we wanted to pursue.  But after we tried them for 1 week, there was such an overwhelming positive response to them, I’m guessing we will probably move forward with bringing as new business, adding some TV monitors to our stage for song lyrics and notes.

These improvements of course will cost money.  So if you would like to donate to help us get these things done, feel free to send a check to Covenant Baptist Church, 8201 McCrory Lane, Nashville, TN 37221 or email me at to let me know you are interested.

2. Area Development
Biltmore ridge – This is the development project that surrounds the church and is  planning on bringing 1400 new single family homes to the area as well as business and retail.  Currently the developers are hoping to start building homes in the spring, on the property that is behind the church.  We continue to expect more people moving to our area.

Stephen’s Valley – Stephen’s Valley is an area located just at the end of McCrory lane across from the loveless cafĂ©.  Plans are in the works (although this is not a done deal just yet) to develop 850 acres with business and 1400 new homes (400,000-5million dollars) over the next 2 .   The first homes are expected to be built next summer.

3. Growth 
Growth is one of the those “rock and hard places” for a church like us…  Because what makes us special and different from other churches is that we are a small church and when you come here, it feels like family.  We know each other, we know when someone is out, or sick and we can help in big ways when they have financial needs.  We write cards, and call.  We can look around and know who everyone is…but part of the reason we can do all of this, and part of what makes us special and different than many of the churches that surround us, is because we aren’t a large church.

If we were a 200 person, 500 person, or 1000 person church or even if we were a 100 person church it becomes difficult to have the type of relationships and accountability that we have here.

And so as we grow we start to lose that feeling of family that is what part of our strength.  And Yet... We still want to grow and want to reach more people.  We want to be an Acts Chapter 2 church…

Acts 2:46-47
Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.

We want to grow, but the reason that so many of you are here are because it isn’t a big church…

So how do we balance the two?

Over the last few months Sarah and I have started to feel led to start new church service here.  It would be a completely separate service…one that grows its own family and has its own feel and personality.  We would all still be part of the same church, but each service would have its own feel.

So, I started doing a little research on this method of growing a church is a brand new and very effective model of growing churches.  I read an article that talked about a church in California that has an average of 43 people in weekly attendance, and yet over the past 6 years they have helped establish 20 new worship services…of which 15 of them account for 2000 people. Wow!!!  That’s huge…here they are reaching over 2000 people, and yet they haven’t lost the ability to have a service of 43 people.

Part of the reason, this article states, that this method is successful is that NEW churches have a life and vitality that attract an unchurched person.  Furthermore, New church services with different appeals are able to reach and attract people that just 1 service cannot. (the same thought process of adding more restaurants to an area encourages more people to eat out…as opposed to having just 1 restaurant). Additionally, this article states that Small churches averaging 51 people in attendance were 16 times more effective in winning new converts to Christ that Mega churches…

Now of course there are some downsides to having multiple services.  For one, there will be people you never meet that may be coming to a different service.  But then again, even at 100 people or 200 people, there will be people you wouldn’t know either.  There are some other difficulties as well, like how you manage business between the two groups.  It also  means that the pastor now has two groups to pastor instead of just 1.

But we believe that the good outweighs the difficult in this situation and I really think that this model fits who we are.  It will allow us to not only preserve the family feel of the church but it will allow us to capitalize on what makes us different than other churches…all the while it will allow us to grow.

So at this point, we are looking at starting a new service, trying to reach a new people group starting May 1st.

If you would like to be notified when we have more information about this service or if you would like to help fund this project, please message me at

So that is a little bit about where we have come from and where we are headed, and next week, we will talk about our Mission and our Vision!  Until then we ask that you pray for:

Pray for the upcoming Year.
Pray for each other.
Pray for our Pastor and wife.
Pray for the visitors who will come.

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