bits from bob....
We are thinking about growth--training, planning, developing more leaders. All of that is good! Part of any effective planning project is evaluating the past. Are we growing? That may be the most commonly asked question at preachers' luncheons, lectureships, workshops. Is the church growing? Everyone wants to answer affirmatively. We want to grow. We are constantly reminded that the early church grew [by 1000s!, no less].
As a brotherhood, we have not caught on. Individual churches just don't get it. Individual Christians just don't get it. Do you get it? Real church growth has a single source. It is not magic. We seek growth without the most essential element. Such "growth" is artificial and usually dwindles.
Real church growth is not in programs--new ideas, people flocking to our doors, instant growth! We run here and there looking for "the" idea that will get the church off dead-center. Real church growth is not based on excitement. Some claim to be growing, but are not. They don't know why--there's a difference between swelling and growing. In the physical body, the former can be deadly. Also in the spiritual body. We just don't get it!
Real church growth is not in people or personnel. Most churches fall into the trap: if we could get the right preacher, the right elders.... We just don't get it! The preacher is already working 70+ hours a week. No church staff can build a church without hard work. Office personnel are donating time--there's not enough budgeted money. Key people surpass the "tithe," give 10-15-20 hours beyond the normal assembly time. The leaders are committed, working, driven.
Real church growth does not come through changing policies or procedures, through adjusting the way things are done. God's kind of growth is not in some fancy new method of teaching, or preaching, or worship.
Real church growth exacts a price. Unless the cost is counted and the price is paid, real lasting growth is impossible. The church's life will be a flurry of "ups and downs."
Here it is, laid out where we can "get it." Real church growth requires your life. Persistence, perseverance, passion! Dedication and sacrifice. Real church growth comes the old fashioned way--work. Playing church won't build a church.
Perception--Purpose--Passion! Preachers must want to grow and be willing to pay the price. Leaders must see the dream, focus the dream, passionately pursue the dream. That is not all! The pew must follow! Christians must "get it." The issue is passion.
Even when it is pointed out, some won't get it, because they do not want to get it. Christianity is not their life here--it may not be their life there! What you go after here determines where you go hereafter!
Let us focus the real issue! Let's get it! It is not plans, programs, personnel, procedures and processes. It is one basic question, "Do you want the church to grow?"
Do you have the vision? Can you see? How is your PERCEPTION?
Do you have a mission? Is Jesus' mission your mission? What is your PURPOSE?
Do you have the PASSION? Here the "rubber meets the road." Are we growing? Will we? Only you know!
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