Hi Church, well Today’s Vision Sunday and it’s one of the most favourite Sundays of the Year for me and I’m super grateful that you’re with us today and so often on Vision Sunday I actually record a message so that it could be shared at every campus at the same time and it’s always the time when I release the scripture that I believe is the theme for our church so for us Vision Sunday is essentially prophetic in nature but it often defines what’s going to happen over the course of the year and this year I’m super excited about the verse that I want to share with you that’s actually found in Genesis chapter 49 at verse 22.
Genesis 49:22 NKJV “Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall.
Towards the end of last year this verse started really resonating with me and in some ways it not only depicts what our church is like it not only depicts what our church has been through but also actually declares what our church is going to do over the course of the next season and so today I want you to think think about three words that are actually described in this verse and I believe these are three words that actually describe us as a church the first one is this it’s the word fruitful.
He says Joseph is a fruitful bough and so what that means is that actually it’s a tree that it’s actually very healthy you can’t be fruitful without being healthy fruitfulness is actually excess life if you’re only in survival mode then you can’t actually breathe fruitful and our church is in an incredibly fruitful place when we first became the senior pastors back in 2018 our church was very much more in survival mode all our energies and all our focus was on just making sure that we make it through and continue on in the ministry but now five years later and we’re far beyond that over the course of the season as we got healthy we actually got incredibly fruitful fruitfulness means abundance it actually means excess and over the course of of the last five years our church has increased in every single area we’re two and a half times the size every Sunday than we were five years ago we have increased resources to be able to do so much more and that’s because we’re fruitful as a result of our health.
You know you’ve heard me tell the story about when we actually had got flooded in the 2011 floods you know back in Brisbane and our house before that out the back actually had a lemon tree and to be honest I don’t really want to call it a lemon tree uh it was more like a lemon shrub it was about this high and it was had the most pathetic little lemons I’ve ever seen in my life and so it used to frustrate me I’m not much of a gardener and so I would look at that lemon tree and there’d be times I felt like Jesus wanting to curse the Fig Tree you know grow lemons or die.
It was incredibly frustrating and then a year after actually purchasing that property the Brisbane floods came through and the floods actually went a meter and a half through the second story of our house and a completely enveloped and destroyed everything but also completely enveloped that lemon tree over the course of the next nine months my focus was on rebuilding the house so I spent very little time in the backyard in fact after a couple of weeks I never went in the backyard because the grass grew so long I didn’t want to go out there because I knew there’d be snakes out there and so I had other people actually mow my lawn so my whole focus was on rebuilding our house.
After about nine months Trish and I were actually on the second story in the back of our Queenslander and going in the back door and Trish said to me she said Ben check out the lemon tree and I turned around and looked at the lemon tree it had doubled in size and it was pumping out the biggest fattest lemons I’ve ever seen in my life and I couldn’t believe it it was so different and the reason was because of that water that came through and almost all the nutrients it was like fertilizer to that lemon tree the lemon tree got healthy and because it was healthy it produced an abundance of fruit it that’s what happens when you’re healthy.
As a church we’ve been so healthy over the last few years that we’ve seen an increase in every level we’ve seen expansion we’ve gone from two campuses to four we’ve seen many of our ministries that were barely surviving our care arm which was almost going to close back in 2018. Now as representation at four of our campuses our Cafe is now we’re about to start our third Cafe over at Pimpama which is incredible we’re about to start our fourth Kosh over at Saint George all these things are happening as a result of health and that’s why we’re fruitful and so the first word that I believe describes us and it’s actually part of our journey is actually fruitfulness.
The second word that I believe describes us is found here it says Joseph is a fruitful bough by a well his branches run over the wall so the tree is actually planted by the well so what that means is this it’s not dependent on external circumstances it’s not dependent upon rainfall in order for it to be healthy why because it’s planted by a well so the second word that describes us is actually thriving it’s thriving what that means is this you can thrive regardless of circumstances this is a verse that describes our church absolutely appropriately we really learned this during COVID19.
During COVID church was shut down for four and a half months churches all around Queensland were shut down and all around Australia and when churches came back they were significantly smaller than what they were before down by 30 percent down by 40 percent and I would talk to pastors and they would talk to me about how covert really affected them even now in 2023 three years later pastors are just saying they’re just recovering from COVID and to be honest I’ve always been a little bit embarrassed to tell them what happened to us in COVID because with us that’s not wasn’t our story we didn’t decrease by 30 percent we actually grew by 20 in the midst of COVID even now we’re nearly double what we were at the start of COVID.
The reason why is because I believe we’re a thriving church that is not dependent upon circumstances out in the world right now there’s a lot of bad news there’s a lot of things that are happening all around about us and there’s a lot of fear in the community but here at Kings we need to learn that we don’t need to be swayed by bad news that a thousand may fall at one side ten thousand at the other but it’s not going to come near us. God is going to take care of us there might be some bad news coming up on the financial front we’ve had bad news happen regarding a pandemic all these issues real estate there were people looking for houses all across the community but we were having testimonies from people all through our church about the miracles that they received and being able to get property in the midst of what was happening externally our church and our people were still thriving.
So that is a word that I believe aptly describes us that we are a church we’ve been here we are now 45 years of age we’ve been through every season we’ve been through every crisis and we are still here strong healthy and thriving and that is part of our past but it’s also part of our future as well and I want to prophesy and declare over every single person right now that you don’t need to be fearful of any news coming up this year if there’s no negative news that’s going to be out there amongst the community I would encourage you King’s Church that we can be confident in this that we are planted by our will and we are grounded in Christ our faith is in him and even in the midst of difficult times he will take care of his people.
The second word I want you to think about today and to remember is thriving but the third word is the one I really want to focus on today and it says once again in Genesis 49 verse 22 it says Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well his branches run over the wall now interestingly enough Genesis 49:22-26 is when Jacob Israel was prophesying over his son Joseph so he got his 12 sons in and he started prophesying over each one some of them were not actually very positive some of the things he said pronounced over his sons were actually very negative but over Joseph and some were very very short but over Joseph he actually declared this massive prophecy it continues on for three more verses this massive prophecy about his future so he was declaring about Joseph this is what’s going to happen to you it was a prophetic utterance and a prophetic declaration over the course of our church.
I’ve only just recently found out that this was a verse that was prophesied over our church many decades ago just a few weeks ago I was sharing we had our school middle management retreat I gave them a sneak peek to the verse I was thinking of sharing and I was telling them about Genesis 49:22 when I was talking to Brendon Blakemore you would know Brendan is one of our board members he’s the chairman of our school board and Brendon put me aside and he said Ben did you know that this verse was prophesied over our church many years ago that Kinder Greening was constantly referencing as our Pastor Emeritus through our longer serving Pastor Kinder would mention this verse all the time and I said no I had no idea and he said yes this Genesis 49:22 is a verse that has been declared over our church as a description of what Kings is.
I absolutely had no idea about this I did not realize it’s an obscure verse I did not realize this was an utterance that was spoken over our church so I believe that just like it was a prophetic declaration over Joseph this is more than just a word for this year this is a word an everlasting word that describes how the future and the destiny and the character of our church and so we’re fruitful and we’re thriving but notice this he says his branches run over the wall foreign so watch this if you’re fruitful and you’re thriving eventually you’re going to be able to reach into places that you couldn’t reach before.
You know that we purchased an apartment a couple of years ago and one of the main reasons I purchased an apartment is because I hate gardening one of the greatest joys I had was getting rid of all my gardening tools got rid of all of them got rid of all the shovels got rid of the lawnmower with a whipper snipper I hated the whipper snipper I got rid of all these tools so that I know because I was living in an apartment I didn’t need it the only grass that I had was Synthetic Turf and so all we needed was a gurney to wash down the tiles that’s all we needed.
But we’re on the ground floor and so below us is actually all these shrubs and all these trees and all these Vines and then I noticed that there was a Vine that had climbed up over the wall and was actually coming across our tiles so I got rid of all my tools so I had to go and buy at least one more and I went and bought a pair of secateurs so I bought the secateurs and I cut the edges off I cut those vines off and I threw them back in the garden and I thought right that’s it it’s not going to come in the garden a few months later I go back once again it’s reached over I cut it off and it was and once again I threw it back and I said right get rid of it and did a few months later kept coming back because by trimming the branches it couldn’t stop it because oh you need to actually uproot it because it was so healthy and it was so vital it couldn’t help but start reaching over the wall in the same way if you’re fruitful and you’re thriving it’s a natural byproduct that you would actually reach over into things you couldn’t reach before so the third word which I believe is the word for 2023 the third word is actually reach.
I believe because we’ve been fruitful and because we’ve proven that we’re thriving we’re going to see in 2023 we are going to see that we’re going to be reaching like never before and especially I believe in 2023 we are going to reach more unchurched people than we ever have over the last five years one of the pillars and values of our church is that we are a soul-winning church I travel all around Australia and whenever I travel and people know that I’m from Kings because we’re 45 years old there are people that come up to me all the time and say they got saved at Kings there’s something upon the life of Kings where people come to know Christ and over the last few years we have seen people come to know Christ but I believe we haven’t seen the Harvest that we’re now starting to that we are now going to be able to see that we’re going to start reaching lost people when you’re healthy or when you’re sick all you focus on is getting myself healthy you’ve got no energy for anything else that does not describe who we are as a church right now.
Right now we are a fruitful and thriving church we are going to be we are we cannot help but reaching and seeing more people come to know Christ we have a number of branches in our church that actually interact with non-church people significantly on a daily basis one of the things we do is our care arm. Our care arm feeds thousands of people every month many of them that are in trouble all of them in troubling times but many of them actually don’t have a relationship with Christ yet on a weekly basis we are reaching to them our staff is very overt in sharing their faith with actually praying for them and ministering to them so we have all these people that don’t know Christ touching one of our branches that’s not the only branch that we have our Care.
On another financial we have is our outside school hours care we actually have over at least 600 families every week have children come to be a part of our outside school hours care many of those are actually unchurched and because we’re a Christian organization they talk to them about with Christian curriculum they preach the gospel to them we have had families actually join our church as a result of coming through Kosh our Kosh is one of the branches that actually reach over the wall another thing that you may not realize that does that as well is actually our Cafe called King’s table King’s table service is based at each and every one of our schools and we have so many people families from the school come to King’s table.
The interesting thing is that at our schools we would probably have across the board less than 50 percent of the people actually church attenders so what that means is we have many many unchurched people coming into our cafes see in interacting we have our staff in our cafes interacting with people coming onto our premises every single week and so we have reaching out touching unchurched people literally thousands every week associated with our costs with our care arm and actually and also with our cafes not only that we do a number of specific outreaches we do a thing called Beyond Chapel where it’s targeting unchurched families in our school we don’t exist just for us as Christians to be blessed as Christians God has designed us that as we’re fruitful and healthy we would reach over the wall into into the lives of people that don’t actually know him just the other day at Reedy Creek we had a Beyond Chapel held on a Sunday it was an Outreach to families had 150 visitors on that day people who did not know Christ people who weren’t part of a local Church community we invested in that and people reached over the world another thing that we do is or not it’s an alternative to Halloween a lot of families don’t want their children out on the streets celebrating the devil even unchurched families non-Christian families don’t want their children doing that so what we do is on Halloween night we put on our event called Neon Night at each one of our campuses the last two years when we’ve done that with minimal investment with minimal advertising we’ve had two and a half thousand people come and come to those events where they actually are not celebrating the enemy but they’re having a great time and at each and every one of those the children and families many of which are unchurched are having the gospel preached to them Easter is a time when we have many people visitors come people who don’t know Christ our statistics indicate that most Australians are very happy to go to church at Easter and we see every year people who are unchurched come to Easter we do things like we give them Easter eggs we give them pancakes we do all those sorts of them we give them Easter we give them Easter buns in order to help to put those those events on and those are events where we’re not just focusing on ourselves but we’re reaching into the lives of people that don’t know him.
I believe God has spoken to me to say that over the course that starting this year we’re going to see a greater level of effectiveness and fruitfulness and reaching out into the community and seeing souls saved and reaching into the lives of people that don’t know him that is a natural byproduct because now so after the first couple of years in our tenure we can now declare ourselves to be healthy we’ve already proven that during the course of covert and during the course of all these things happening in the world that in spite of those we’re planted by a well that we are thriving the natural byproduct of that is that we would be reaching God has called us to reach into the lives of people that don’t know him and so I would encourage you church that even over the course of this year to be willing and we’re going to be doing some training around this as well to see how you could be used to reach into people’s lives as well so not just us as a church as an organization but also you as an individual every year I launch a vision Sunday some special offering we always take up some kind of offering.
I remember back in 2020 we received an expansion offering and the expansion offering was to go towards our new campuses because that year we took over Saint George and we planted Logan Village so that’s what that went to in 2021 it was called a rise and build offering and basically, that went towards facilities and we used that to purchase the land at St George we use it to fit out different things across our premises which was great last year because of all the disasters that were happening in the world the tsunami in Tonga the war in Ukraine we decided that we would take up an offering specifically to go towards supporting a mission in those areas and so that’s what we did last year.
This year I want to I’m today opening up over the course of the next couple of months an offering called a reach offering and this reach offering is going to go towards servicing these branches that we have that actually reach out to unreached people to reach out to unchurched people to reach out to people that don’t know Christ and so the proceeds of this offering will go towards completely go towards outreach it will go towards the furnishing of King’s table especially our new King’s table at Pimpama it will go towards upgrading our cost facilities and also helping us establish even more at St George it would go towards helping our care arm actually meet the needs of more people and it’s going to go towards some of these outreach events which are specifically targeted to reach unreached people I mean we had two and a half thousand people come to Neon night last year imagine what we could do if we invested more money in it imagine what we could do do if we invest in more into Easter and so this resource that we’re taking up and we’re opening up our guarantee and promise to you this will go towards reaching unreached people.
The Bible tells us in Genesis also that we are blessed to be a blessing and so evangelism and outreach actually needs resource to help make that happen and I believe as a prophetic declaration as an Act of Faith as we seed more into these areas we’re going to see this prophecy not just the word I felt God give me but actually a word that has been declared over our church for decades that Kings is actually a fruitful bough a bough planted by the well and our branches are going to reach over the world so this year I declare over the life of our church that we’re going to be reaching people like never before and so what I want to do is I want to pray I want to pray over you and I want to pray over the life of our church and declare that all of us will see more and more people come to know Christ through King’s church in 2023 so wherever you are right now whatever location or online as an Act of Faith what I’d love you to do right now is stand to your feet and I’m going to pray father in Jesus name I pray for every single person in our church and I declare over King’s church that in 2023 we are going over the wall that we are going to reach people like never before.
I thank you Lord God you’ve made us fruitful I thank you Lord God you have proven that we’re thriving but I know Lord that this year we’re going to be reaching people like never before I pray for even people in the life of our church that have never personally seen someone come to know I thank you Lord that this year even by the end of this year they’ll be able to look at across the room at whatever Church they’re a part of and they’ll see someone there that is there as a result of their interaction with them I thank you for that father I pray for increased blessing and favour upon all our outreach endeavours and I thank you for and declare it Lord in Jesus name amen God bless.