At this point, you have probably heard people talking about the Five Hour Foundation. It was mentioned at the Crossroads Core Community meeting. Pastor Bill talked about it again on Sunday morning. You may be thinking to yourself, “What are they talking about?” “Is it some kind of special age-defying makeup for Christians?” Ha-ha! That is not exactly what we mean. I want to explain what it is, and why we think the Five Hour Foundation is so important.
But before we even begin, it is important to note that this is a suggestion, encouragement and challenge. This should not be viewed as a rule or a law. We are not under law but under grace. But we do want to encourage you to seek the Lord as to the type of foundation He would have you lay for your life of faith, and how you would encourage the same in the life of those you love.
A foundation is essential for healthy and sustained growth. What are some examples of this that we see in everyday life? Before a beautiful home can be built, a strong foundation needs to be laid. Or when we decide to run a marathon, we first need to build a foundation of both stretching and beginning to run shorter distances. This principle is even true when you get a suntan. Before you spend ten hours in the sun hoping to become golden brown, you first need a bit of a foundational tan. Or else you could end up with the dreaded sunburn, even in the Northwest! A foundation is something that you build upon.
The Bible speaks much and often about our lives, and how we choose to spend our time. The Apostle Paul exhorted the church in Ephesus by encouraging them to be “redeeming the time because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:17) It is oft quoted that you can tell what a person values by looking at their calendar, or how they spend their money. So we have been asking, “What would our week look like if we redeemed the time for Jesus? If he was really our first priority?” That gave rise to the Five Hour Foundation.
There are 168 hours in a week. Assuming that you sleep eight hours a night, you are left with 112 waking hours. It’s in those 112 waking hours that we choose how we will spend and live our lives. As you can imagine, those are 112 very important hours every week. We all hope to work forty of those hours to provide for ourselves, our families and to care for those around us as we live generous and self-sacrificial lives. Then we are left with 72 hours every week, which are disposable hours. We can choose to do whatever we want with those hours. We can help out around the house, go to the gym, or sift through our Facebook wall. In order to lay a strong foundation in our faith, it only takes 5 of those 72 hours. Don’t miss that five hours is only 7% of your waking, non-working hours. When you look at it that way, you realize God doesn’t ask a lot, especially when you consider all that he gives us in return!
The first hour and a half is being a part of our Sunday morning worship gathering as the Crossroads church body. As Christians in a local family of faith, this is our ‘family reunion’ time. We get together as one body and celebrate all that God is for us in Christ. We get to worship Him, study His word, serve and fellowship together in unity. And we celebrate all that God is doing in our lives during the week when we are apart from the family. And this isn’t a once-a-decade family reunion, this reunion happens every week! This time is special, and it’s why God tells us in Hebrews not to abandon the regular gathering of the church body.
The next hour and a half is to become involved in one of our smaller group ministries. Whether it’s men’s ministry, women’s ministry, home fellowship groups, or our upcoming midweek study, we would love to see everyone connected to a smaller group. These groups exist both for edification and deeper, more-relational fellowship. Small groups are the place where real fellowship happens, and support networks are created. It’s where we develop close, life-long relationships with people in our church family. It is an opportunity for all of us to be both blessed and a blessing!
At this point there are two hours left. One of these hours is used to pour into another believer for their growth in grace. At Crossroads, we are committed to seeing everyone pouring into someone. There will be a forthcoming blog post about this, which will explain our Paul, Barnabas and Timothy model of ministry. Jesus encouraged His disciples to ‘make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19). He wants us to be working in each other’s lives, to build each other up. He wants each one of us to be involved in this process, as we are all disciples. We are all designed to share the wisdom that God has given us. We need to share the richness of the blessing of knowing Jesus and walking with him. If you’ve been a believer for fifty years or fifty minutes, there are people who you can pour into within our family of faith.
Finally, the last hour of our Five Hour Foundation should be used to build intentional relationships with non-Christians to see them come to saving knowledge of, and personal relationship with Jesus. God has mightily and powerfully blessed the Crossroads family. But there are still thousands in our community who are without Christ and outside of His grace. All of us agree that we want to see them come to know Jesus. So as a church, we should all be mobilized to see the Gospel spread. Can you imagine the impact of every Crossroads member spending an hour each week seeking to see the lost saved? The potential is staggering! We’re not saying you have to be on a street corner with tracts and a sandwich board, announcing the end of the world is near. Not that you shouldn’t do that, but there are other ways to share Jesus with people. We just want to be intentional about it. As a church body, we are excited about bringing people to Christ, sharing our faith in practical ways, and building intentional relationships with non-believers in order to share the real Jesus with them, not the one they hear about on the news. And best of all, we bring them into fellowship with us on Sundays, and enjoy introducing them to the family.
So there it! Five hours a week. One and a half hours at a Sunday worship gathering and at one of our smaller group meetings. One hour devoted to mentoring someone and doing evangelism. Don’t forget, that still leaves you with sixty-seven waking hours left, that you are not working. Imagine if you doubled that commitment? Tripled it? There is no greater investment than you can make than in the kingdom of God. God’s economy is always in a bull market! As we are an integral part of God’s work through Crossroads, there is no doubt that, at the end of our days, we will hear those words that we all long to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord!” (Matthew 25:21).
God bless you all!