As the clock is about to chime 3:00 am here I sit with my journal. My family rests soundly upstairs underneath blankets on a cool morning. My eyes have been opening and shutting throughout the night while my mind races about building a strong congregation by bottling up the oldest formula for church growth. The oldest formula has been the truest and the most stable throughout all generations. While men shuffle to find the newest program, the old formula continues to work. When congregations explode in growth, the old formula holds its weight of pricelessness. Hundreds of thousands of people have experienced this old formula, but still some try to place it on a shelf.
Though all the church growth books a preacher could muster have been placed on a shelf, this formula has stood the test of time. It has outlasted the gospel meeting crowds of the 40’s and 50’s, the bus ministries of the late 70’s and even the direct mailing ministry of the 21st century. I am sure if it can outlast those it will outlast the movements to come. I believe placing our faith into a man made program has taken away our emphasis on the old formula. The creation of ministry motivated and approved seminars have refocused our eyes on the first formula of church growth – YOU!
You are the key factor in church growth! The old formula is You and Christ! Without Christ there is no light to shine and without you letting Him shine, the Father is not glorified (Matthew 5.14-16). While you think it sounds so simple, I am here to tell you it really is. Forget looking at everyone else and consider yourself. Do you make it easy for others to see Christ? Or do we mask him behind a program instead of opening our hearts so He can shine forth in our lives?
I believe Paul understood this powerful formula in Ephesians 4.16…
“…from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (ESV)
Notice Paul’s words about the body, “…when each part is working properly..”; that part is YOU! You are a part of a body which depends on your to fulfill your part (Romans 12.3-8; 1 Corinthians 12.12-31; 1 Peter 4.10-11). The body needs you to fill your role so the body can grow. Notice what happened in the early church when the members found their role in serving – see Acts 6.1-8! When every member filled their role notice the results…
“And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6.7; ESV)
Are you ready to find your role and strengthen the body?
Just some thoughts,