Churches built to last

MIDLAND - Churches, like the human body, have a natural life cycle. The average lifespan of a church is around 70 years, unless something supernatural happens to further its impact, according to David Lowrie, senior pastor of First Baptist Church El Paso.

Lowrie was one of two keynote speakers during the "Built to Last" Conference hosted by First Baptist Church in Midland Oct. 9-10. The conference was organized for church leaders around the state to come together to learn how to build a solid church foundation. Dr. Randel Everett, president of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative and former pastor of FBC Midland, also served as a keynote speaker on Thursday evening.

Modeled after best-selling author Jim Collin's book Built to Last, the weekend conference provided valuable tools for attendees interested in increasing the longevity of their churches. During his sermon Friday night, Lowrie explained how many principles used to lead Fortune 500 companies can be translated to the ministry.

Collins identified Level 5 leaders as those who have tremendous humility and incredible professionalism, being more concerned with the success of the company than themselves. Similarly, Lowrie stated, "people who truly change the world are the ones who humble themselves and serve others."

Great companies are also known to have "big, audacious, hairy goals." Lowrie shared that Jesus has the biggest goals in the world, as explained in the Great Commission.

"Church is not supposed to be about us, it is about the One who smiles above us," he said. "If we forget our churches worship and serve the King and that it's about Him, not us, then we aren't ready to be a church."

"Jesus said if you want to be great, you must be a servant," Lowrie continued. "Jesus never asked something of us He wasn't willing to do Himself. He took the towel before He took the crown."

Summarizing the leadership principles, Lowrie concluded, "If you want to lead a church, love them as much as Jesus loves you and together you can become a movement that will change the world."

During the two-day conference, workshops were offered on a variety of ministry topics from Education/Discipleship to Facilities, Missions/Benevolence to Media and Ministry Assistants.