In Acts 17, Paul and Silas brought the gospel to Thessalonica. “And some of [the Jews] were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women” (v. 4). The movement of God in that city was so great that the opponents of the gospel accused Paul and Silas of “turning the world upside down.” Wouldn’t it be amazing if the church today could have that kind of impact. What if we could turn the world upside down?
Before we can turn the world upside down, we must first turn the church inside out. Let me explain. In 1906 a group of fifteen men and women began meeting together with a vision of turning the world upside down for Jesus. Two years later Huffman Baptist Church was officially organized and constituted as a Southern Baptist church. And for the next 100 years, the church grew. Huffman grew because it worked from the outside in. There was an outward focus. A clear commitment to outreach and evangelism.
Over the past twenty years, like many similarly situated churches, HBC began to decline. And over the past five years that decline has accelerated. Slowly but surely, we stopped working from the outside in. But as I shared with you in July before you called me to be your pastor, there is hope. Jesus has a plan for Huffman Baptist. He is in the midst of his church. He is not finished with us. But his plan for his church is that we go and make disciples. His plan is that once again we work from the outside in.
At our quarterly family meeting, the finance team presented the church with a proposed 2020 budget to fund the ministries of Huffman Baptist Church for the coming year. As has been the trend, this budget reflects an anticipated decrease in tithes and offerings. But this budget also reflects an effort to change the trajectory of the church. This budget reflects a subtle shift of turning the church inside out so that we can work from the outside in.
As I explained during the family meeting, our current budgeting and staffing plans were designed to help us maintain an orderly decline. And if our vision for Huffman Baptist Church is to die a slow death, then by all means we can keep doing what we’ve been doing. But if our vision is to fulfill Jesus’ purpose for his bride, then we must become outwardly focused. We must change the trajectory. We must be committed to evangelism and missions.
The proposed 2020 budget will provide funding to begin moving us from the inside out so that we can work from the outside in. I appreciate the work of our staff and our personnel, facilities and finance teams in putting this budget together. It has truly been a team effort.
Please continue to pray for the Lord’s leadership along this journey. Pray for me as I pray for you. And let’s come together on November 3rd at the conclusion of our morning worship service to approve this financial plan for ministry. Let’s work from the outside in so that we can turn the world upside down.