Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ministry Musings: Growth

One of the things that was expressed by a number of people at the cottage meetings was they would like to see the congregation grow to the point of bursting at the seams. Once again I have to ask, why? Is it so that we can feel good about ourselves? Is it because we know people who haven’t heard the promise of the saving Grace of God and we desperately want them to hear this Good News? What if, instead of those who have not heard the good news coming to us, we took this message to them? Would we be accomplishing the spirit of this goal/dream if we were tell every household in Rome about Jesus and our relationship with Him, but saw virtually no increase in our Sunday morning attendance? What is more important? How does that reframe our goals/dreams?

What if, our dream started coming true and we started growing in attendance and participation in leaps and bounds (something I think could very realistically happen)? Do you realize that’s probably going to mean making changes and you needing to make some sacrifices? It might mean a change in the style of how we worship. It might mean needing to sing different hymns/songs than what we’re comfortable with on Sunday morning. It might mean needing to welcome somebody different into your pew, or finding a new one all together. It might mean needing build a whole new facility, which will cost us a lot of money.

It most certainly will mean needing to pay more money to adequately staff the programs and activities a larger amount of people will necessitate. In fact, studies show that if we are going to grow we will need to increase our staff. According to the Alban Institute a congregation needs one full-time program minister (i.e. pastor, youth director, etc.) for every 100 people worshiping on a weekly basis just to maintain their programming. That means we are currently staffed to decrease, to maintain we should have a half time program minister, to grow we would need to add a full-time minister. That doesn’t include the support staff (i.e. secretaries, janitors, etc.) needed to go along with them…Are you ready to grow?


The Prophet said...


" And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.
Them said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach."(Nehemiah 2.13 and 17 )

The global financial crisis that is hitting many countries, and breaking down a large commercial institutions, financial, industrial, etc., is hitting hard also to institutions and churches.
Many of these churches had their origin in the northern hemisphere countries, where rampant consumerism of the capitalist system, especially in the U.S. (now suffering from an acute recession), are now facing major economic problems which required them to discontinue support programs to reduce their budgets, cut staff, cut salaries, etc..
It is a time where many churches that had a high economic status, will now have to adjust the belt for a while. Perhaps God is allowing this situation, with the purpose of the church to reflect on his license, careless about his life and about where your real basis: the money or Mamon, or the faith of Christ.
However, it is also a time when the church will have to review their structures, and initiate changes. You'll need a re-make in all areas: in its form of government, in its doctrines, in their meetings and worship in their temples and places in his pastoral leadership, as do the scriptures, and so on.
The Berlin Wall that the names have been built around the church, which has been divided for many decades the churches of Christ, which will now be demolished so that an aperture is greater unity in the body of Christ.
It is likely that many churches try to maintain their structures, but to do so will have to adapt to the new order of things that emerges after this crisis, with the consequence of becoming apostate. But the churches to leave their old structures, probably adptaran the structure of the primitive church, to maintain their spirituality.
If Nehemiah saw the spiritual reality of the church today, probably cry as it did with Jerusalem destroyed.
So to paraphrase the words of Nehemiah, I would say to the church today: "You see the evil that we, the church is spiritually desolate and its gates burned by sin. Stand up and us build the spiritual walls of the church and most are not in shame. "


"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not beleft here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."(Matthew 24,1-2)

When the disciples were surprised to hear this answer from the Lord. The place that had for centuries been the center of religious worship for the Jews would be destroyed. But what the Lord wanted to show his disciples that the structure was never the same as human spiritual and therefore such structures were not in place.
Religiosity is that structure that will soon disappear, but to survive is trying to take new forms, one of them is called denominationalism. The denominationalism is an evil that exists in churches and that, instead of uniting the divided people of God and the Church of Christ.
Unfortunately there are many Christian denominations that based on systems, doctrines, forms of government, rites and human, are setting up an authority far beyond the biblical teaching. Such "Christian denominations are the temple looked astonished disciples, because these names give (the man willing to receive God) pleasant and enjoyable ways to have an encounter with God "but they are just mere religiosity.
Expanded site with good sound, many people effusive, comfortable seats, and anything profound teachings are the names of the keynote today.
I personally think that just as the Lord proclaimed the end of the Jewish religious representation in the Temple of Jerusalem, so also the religion of these names and collapse came to an end. What will be the sign of the destruction of these churches or denominations? The discontent of the Christians have sus'propias denominations.
Perhaps this will soon emerge a more spiritual and more freedom, without a human structure, a unit where the Lord Jesus Christ is our only Shepherd and the Holy Spirit our Temple

Keli Melcher said...

I lost a close colleague a few years ago to a sudden heart attack. He was a good man; he stated he did not believe in the grace of God and Jesus as well as organized religion. The night before he died we prayed for him in the bible study I was involved in. Maybe a little too little too late. I feel everyone should feel that they should do anything they can to share the loving of grace before it's too late!

pb said...


I am with you here...and I would add that I think one of the messages of grace is that it's never "too late". Only time will tell how those prayers were ultimately answered.