When the future King David was running from Saul, God sent hundreds of thousands of men to help him. All of the men were chosen for battle for a reason. Some for their fighting ability. Others for their expertise with special weapons. And still others were chosen for their character, courage or loyalty. But perhaps the most important men in the entire army were the 200 “men of Issachar.” They were the strategists who developed the master plan of battle. And they were chosen for their insight and foresight—their ability to look beyond the details of day-to-day life, discern the underlying issues, and chart an accurate course into the future.
That’s the Issachar factor—the ability to understand the times and know what to do. That ability—or the lack of it—will determine your church’s future. With it, the future holds the promise of vibrant growth and effective service. Without it, the future leads to stagnation and decline.
“Social scientists have identified three distinct ages which serve as a brief outline of history: the agricultural age, the industrial age, and the information age.” (Page 8)
“they communicate what needs to be done and establish standards. ‘People want to know what is expected of them” (Page 68)
“A third category of men understood the times and knew what Israel should do. They were the strategists who developed the master plan for the battle. We today need to be like men of Issachar. We need to be people who understand our times, know what we should do, and have the courage to do it.” (Page 12)
“no longer effective in reaching people for Christ.” (Page 8)
“People are coming and going in my community so fast that I feel like I’m preaching to a parade.” (Page 8)
Dr. Glen Martin is senior pastor of Community Baptist Church in Manhattan Beach, California and adjunct professor at Talbot School of Theology. He is an active seminar leader and consultant on leadership, small groups, evangelism, and assimilation.
Dr. Gary McIntosh is director of the Doctor of Ministry Program and associate professor of Practical Theology at Talbot School of Theology. He is a nationally known seminary leader and an experienced church consultant who has analyzed more than five hundred churches from fifty-two denominations throughout the United States and Canada.