07 Nov Note from the Pastor (Nov 2018)
Church Growth is not a Program
One of the first questions pastors are often asked coming into a new church is “what is your plan for growing the church?” I was personally asked this question every time I was interviewed by a call committee for a senior pastor position. I do have a plan. It is foolproof. It is guaranteed to work. It doesn’t dip into the church budget; it doesn’t require extra staff, and it doesn’t require an extra night at the church. Sounds too good to be true? Are you asking your-self, “what’s the catch, pastor?” Well, here it is…
First off, I need to give a little disclaimer. It is not “my” program; I borrowed it. While it may seem too promising, its results are cer-tain, but there is a slight catch; it involves you. The program I am committed to is the plan God has used throughout the ages to build His church. He uses the voice of an-other to speak His Word of gospel into the ears of those who hear. Think about it, this is how God brought you into His family and His church. Someone spoke the Word of Christ to you, someone prayed for you, and God put someone into your life to teach you the very truth of His Word. You were gathered into His church by His Word and Spirit by means of another person; this is how God works and how he has always worked. This is the very means which God has used to build His church, and His method hasn’t changed.
Paul planted, Apollos watered and God caused the growth. Who were Paul and Apollos? They were men who had been richly forgiven in Jesus Christ, and they couldn’t help but share that good news to others. It’s not complicated, it’s not complex, it’s not limited in its usefulness by time period, culture, education, nationality, age or whatever other limits we try to put on God’s method of growth. The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few; that’s reality, but God uses people such as you and I to speak His good news to those who would otherwise never hear. How can anyone call on Christ if they don’t believe in Him? And how are they to believe in Him if they have never heard of Him? And how are they to hear without someone preaching the good news of Christ into their ears?
My friends, it is the good pleasure of God to use people like you and me, who have been washed in the blood of Christ and set free from bondage to live in the hope of heaven, to share with others what we have ourselves have received. This is evangelism by overflow. The gospel which is poured out upon you week in and week out simply now overflows to those around you. This is how God has built and always will build His church, through His Word and Spirit flowing into and out of us and into the lives of our neighbors. This is planting and wa-tering, and God will cause the growth – He promises. Let’s take Him at His Word, and let’s boldly and unselfishly share that Word with those whom God puts in our paths. This is God’s plan for the growth of His church; this is His plan for the growth here at Prince of Peace.
Are you in? I am.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.