Our Church is Growing—Here’s What You Need to Know
October 02, 2015
In a growing church, new ministry opportunities present themselves all the time. You've heard the analogy that a big ship with a small rudder turns very slowly. While it's true that we are a large organization and we do not make hasty decisions, we also need to be nimble enough to respond to new ministry opportunities that God brings our way. One factor we always evaluate when considering changes is how it will affect our congregation. Will they embrace this or will they dig in their heels? That may mean we pass up an opportunity because we don't feel like our congregation is ready for it yet. One way you can be a part of a growing church is by being flexible and ready for change when those new opportunities come along.
Words matter. What we say and how we say it can have a profound impact on others. People are listening to you, and you may have more influence than you know. James 3 compares our words to an open flame and observes that an entire forest is set on fire by a single spark. When change happens, old and new press against each other. That friction can sometimes result in sparks. Whether or not those sparks erupt into a deadly fire depends on how you respond. When you hear someone complaining about the church or about a particular decision, will you come with a bucket of gasoline to ignite the flames? Or will you come with a bucket of water to extinguish them? You don't have to completely understand or even agree with a decision in order to still be an encouragement to those who made it. One way you can be a part of a growing church is by being supportive of those who have to make the tough decisions as they lead.
By definition, a growing church is one that does not stay the same. Anything that is living is also changing. It's only natural to find comfort and enjoyment in seeing the same people every Sunday, meeting in the same classroom, or parking in the same spot. But experience tells us that things will not stay the same forever. We should feel a healthy tension between our own desire for what is familiar and God's tendency to stretch our faith into new, uncharted places. God has a special role for you to play in the life of our church, but what that role is might end up surprising you. Whether He calls you to worship in a different pew or worship at a different campus, you can commit right now in advance to say, "yes." One way you can be a part of a growing church is to be prepared to obey when God invades your comfort zone.
Nobody likes a know-it-all, but nobody likes admitting when they don't know something, either. The same is true of your church leaders. Sometimes it's hard to get up in front of the congregation and acknowledge we are still figuring some things out. A leader is supposed to see things before everyone else, and leading a growing church means those things are coming at us pretty fast. While we don't always know the outcome of a particular decision, we do know that God is faithful to show us the way forward. Our church leaders must keep one eye on the ground to see what's below our feet and one eye on the horizon to see what's next. One way you can be a part of a growing church is to be praying for your leaders as they wisely seek where God would have us go and how to best get us there.
Have you ever arrived a few minutes late to the airport and missed your flight? Or have you passed up a social event only to discover later that the people there had a great time? Everyone hates that sinking feeling you get when you realize you missed out on something. Missing a party is one thing, but you don't want to miss an opportunity to be a part of something God is doing in our church. The primary reason God gave you gifts, passions, and abilities was not to be a success in the workplace or to pursue hobbies, but to make a difference for eternity. There is no shortage of opportunities here to do just that. Don't miss out on what God is doing because you decided to stand on the sidelines instead. One way you can be a part of a growing church is to get involved so that God can use you to accomplish something great for His Kingdom.