"Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
"For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is know by multitude of words."
"The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord."
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:"
NOW, I'm not sure if I fall into the young men seeing visions category or the old men dreaming dreams category - but one thing I know for sure - I HAVE A VISION AND A
Years ago, I put down my dreams and visions
for this church.
I also began to think of five men - Billy Melton, Ben Young, Cecil Willis, Bill Cannon, and W.D. Roberson.
These men stepped out by faith some 35 years ago and with their faith and money, they sacrificed to build this church.
I believe they had a vision.
I they had a dream.
I narrowed down my thinking to three of those men: Bill Melton, Ben Young, and Cecil Willis.
Those three men passed away before seeing the record attendances and record offerings and expansion.
I then thought of Bro. Melton and Bro. Sikes, the two leaders of the church when I arrived in August 1986.
I remember when I preached a message entitled, "BEHOLD A DREAMER COMETH" on September 14, 1986 and shared a dream and vision for this church.
I had been only a month but I vividly remember when those two men walked the aisle and took my hand and said, "Preacher, we believe in you and we want to see those dreams come true."
Bro. Billy Melton passed away just over two months after I preached that message and never had the opportunity to see some of those dreams come true.
I have to believe that on October 11, 1987 when we had 211 and shattered all records that Bro. Billy Melton was in heaven shouting to everyone around that his dreams were being fulfilled.
Or what about in the last few months when the Fellowship Hall was started and is nearing completion - I have to believe he is shouting in heaven.
I think of October 11, 1987 when Bro. Sikes walked slowly to the front carrying a small piece of paper with the figure of 211 written on it.
He said, "Preacher, WE made it!"
I missed that the next year when we again broke the record. I wanted so much for Bro. Sikes to come down the aisle, rambling slowly as was his manner, and hand me the
good news once again.
I have to believe that Bro. Sikes and Bro. Melton were doing high five's in heaven that Sunday in October, 1987, when we had 213 on a cold, rainy, miserable day.
Then in 1989 when we had 343,
Then in 1991 when we had 365,
Then in 1993 when we had 397,
On all those occasions when we had great crowds, I know that all those men would have been proud to see their dreams come true.
I never had the opportunity to meet Ben Young, but I know Mrs. Young, and I know her dreams and visions for this church and I'm sure her and her husband must have shared a dream or two.
If Ben Young was half as faithful and good as Mrs. Young, he must have been a great guy.
BUT, we need more men like Billy Melton and Boyd Sikes - men who were faithful and loyal.
NO, they weren't perfect, but neither are we - but we need more men like those men who believed in their pastor.
I will never forget Sherry Sicking when she said, "Daddy said you would be the one who pulls the church up."
I'm glad that he believed in me and supported me.
I'm glad that Bro. Sikes, as we were slowly watching the church grow, would put his arm around my shoulder and always have a word of encouragment.
I miss that. I miss that tall, lanky, slow talking man who always had a good word for me.
We need more men like those men. Men who put their money where their mouth was. Men who would visit and stand for their church.
I know those those men had a dream for this church.
We need more men who aren't afraid to dream.
We need more men to be faithful, stand up and be counted in our community.
NOW, we are not the first church to dream dreams and have visions for our church.
I think of my friend, Dr. David Bouler, who started with just 35 people in 1974 and in November, 1988, had a record high of over 3,500.
Did it happen by accident? NOT ON YOUR LIFE!
It happened because a pastor had a dream and a vision for his church and the people rallied behind the pastor and they saw those dreams fulfilled.
I think of my pastor when I accepted Christ as Saviour many years ago, Dr. Johnny Ramsey, Jr., who as a young man in his 20's had a dream for the Rolling Hills Baptist Church in Ft. Worth. He had a dream to build a great
church for the Lord in the city of Ft. Worth.
I remember way back in 1962 when we had over 2,200 in Sunday School, an almost unheard of number in those days.
Did it happen by accident? NOT ON YOUR LIFE! It happened because a pastor had a dream and a vision for his church and the people grabbed that same dream and they built a great church for the Lord.
We are not the first church to dream.
We are not the first church to have a vision.
It’s been done in Indiana.
It's been done in Alabama.
It's been done in Texas.
It’s been done all over America.
IT CAN BE DONE IN GAINESVILLE, TEXAS!
But it won't happen by accident.
It won't happen with just two or three people.
Remember the verse we read in ECC. 5:3
"For a dream cometh through the multitude of
Simply put, it is going to take a lot of work and I mean hard work - hard work and sacrifice.
Like I said a few minutes ago, the kind of hard work where people put their money where their mouth is!
What kind of hard work?
What kind of sacrifice?
Well, I'm glad you asked.
I want to go on record and say that if this church wants to grow to the next level - it will take an aggressive visitation and outreach program.
I also want to go on record and say that without a good, aggressive Outreach Program - this church will never grow.
A ministry that visits week in and week out - good weather and bad weather - summer and winter.
Sunday School Teachers,
Inviting people to church,
Telling people about Christ,
Winning souls to Christ,
All the dreams are useless.
All the visions are useless.
Unless the people are willing to go out and get their friends and neighbors in church.
WE WILL ONLY GROW IF WE GO!
We will never, I repeat, never grow if more people are not more faithful.
Faithful to church before Boys Club,
Faithful to church before Girl Scouts,
Faithful to church before fishing,
Faithful to church before OVERTIME,
Faithful to church before football games,
Faithful to church before Christmas programs,
One time when I was a sophomore in high school, starting for the JV football team, we had a revival scheduled at the end of the season.
I was in church on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and I expected to play football Thursday. BUT, my dad said that church and revival was more important than a football game.
Did my dad love me? YES, of course.
Why didn't he let me play? BECAUSE he knew that God and church were more important than some dumb football game that has absolutely nothing to do with eternity.
Did I learn something? YES, I learned my dad believed in God and believe in faithfulness to the church, and wasn't afraid to stand up for it!
FAITHFULNESS IS THE KEY!
There is not a church in the world that will grow unless the members decide to be faithful.
Churches will not grow:
If PTA is more important than the church,
If the Rotary Club & Jaycees are more important than the church,
If jobs & overtime & extra jobs are more important than the church,
If athletics are more important than the church,
If school programs are more important than the church,
IF ANYTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE CHURCH!
And the list goes on and on.
NOW LISTEN CAREFULLY :
These things are not wrong and they have their place in our lives, so don't leave here and say that I said that they were wrong - they are not wrong.
They are not wrong UNLESS they take priority over the church - then they are wrong.
FAITHFULNESS IS THE KEY!
I define faithfulness as when “virtually nothing keeps you out of church.”
The only thing that should keep you away from church is an emergency.
3. SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS
Yes, Sunday School teachers are important to the growth of this church and any other church.
Sunday School teachers who are faithful,
Sunday School teachers who really care,
Sunday School teachers who study,
Sunday School teachers who VISIT,
Sunday School teachers who are dedicated,
Sunday School teachers who are separated,
Sunday School teachers who tithe,
Sunday School teachers who give to missions and Vision Unlimited.
Without good Sunday School teachers, we cannot grow and maintain growth, I repeat, without good Sunday School teachers, we cannot and will not grow.
Now, I'm going to get serious,
Our Sunday School teachers haven't been visiting like they should.
They haven't been faithful like they should.
They haven't been studying like they should.
They haven't been tithing like they should.
They haven't been separated like they should.
Slidding closer to the back rows.
Not getting involved in projects.
And that's why we have set new guidelines for any new Sunday School teachers because we want good teachers who will help our church grow.
4. GOOD, FAITHFUL, DEDICATED MEN
I’ve been teaching a series of lessons on Wednesday nights called “Faithful Men.” We have covered many subjects and looked at hundreds of verses of Scripture.
Without some good, faithful, dedicated men - this church will never grow. I mentioned the names of a few good men from the past history of this church.
Men who were faithful,
Men who were good,
Men who were dedicated,
We have a good foundation of men here now - but we need more men.
We need some leaders,
We need some "go getters"
We need some dreamers,
We need some men with a vision,
We need some men who believe this pastor,
We need some men who will take a stand,
We need some men who will put their money where their mouth is.
5. KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE
I’m afraid many folks have let their dreams die.
Those who used to be excited about serving the Lord are no longer excited.
Those who used to think about God calling their kids into full-time Christian service no longer have that desire.
Those bus workers who used to dream of having 75-80 kids on their route from week to week no longer have that dream.
The Sunday School teacher who used to dream of a class full of boys and girls getting saved and baptized no longer has a dream.
The church member who used to dream of a new auditorium and a new church building no longer has that dream.
The church member who used to dream of record crowds and having a packed auditorium no longer has that dream.
A lot of people let their dreams fade away.
Therefore, when their dreams faded away, they stopped working and giving.
When the dreams fade, the effort fades right along with it.
We must keep the dream alive.
We must keep working.
We must keep up the good effort.
We must keep on keeping on.
I’m asking you this morning to dream again with your preacher.
I’m asking you to once again share my dreams and visions like you once did.
I’m asking you to help me and work with me like you used to.
I’m asking you to help me keep the dream alive.
I need you.
The battle has gotten hard.
The devil has fought with a vengeance.
Will you dream with your preacher once again?
What will it take to make this church great?
3. Sunday School Teachers
4. Good, Faithful, Dedicated Men
5. Keep the Dream Alive
WHERE DO YOU FIT IN?