Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Ministry can be discouraging.  At times preaching colleagues at other churches would say to me from envy, I wish I could preach for a church that wanted to grow. 

A couple of things confused me regarding such a statement.  When the comments were made, I was just beginning at MD.  Such a location wasn't as easy as the commentors assumed.  Too, I pondered that surely their congregations did want to grow.

I'm not naive.  I know somewhat their intent when saying such.  Yet truth be known, all churches want to grow.  Basically, none of us know how to go about it.  We think by organizationally connecting the right dots increase is bound to happen.  May be.

Here's how I see it.  From front to back and top to bottom we are clueless.  Count on it.  From Richland Hills' success to Po Dunks' misery we are all fundamentally the same; if God doesn't cause it and do it, it ain't gonna happen.

I should know.  I tried hundreds of ideas and concepts.  I read books and attended seminars.  I went to Christian and secular meetings trying to find the secrets to this and the keys to that.  I remained stranded...as well as frustrated. 

I spent about 18 years at Memorial wishing I was somebody else and wishing Memorial was like some other church.  I spent about five years wondering why we existed as a church or if we should divvy up the members and move off into other congregations.

When I reached the conclusion I was clueless and God was not, things began to dramatically change.  The church wanted to grow; it hadn't known how.  As one of her leaders I was too self-conscious, too judgmental, and too brash to contribute.  This had to go....and it didn't/wouldn't go without a fight within myself for I was also highly defensive.

Yet by the grace of God it seemed cluelessness was a valuable admissional tool.  Once He heard me confess it there seemed to be a snow-balling effect where others in leadership reached a similar personal conclusion simultaneously.

All churches want to grow.  Many are clueless as to how this could be.  A secret for others may be what is now the theme of our elders as well as the staff.  It is not Lead, follow, or get out of the way...as we once paraded.  No.  Our goal now is more fine-tuned.  We now know for the church to grow we as leaders must get out of the way.


Stoogelover said...

This being true, Long Beach should have exploded in growth!!

Vasca said...

Growth is wonderful...keeps things alive. Some congregations take steps forward and along comes something to push it back. It takes much commitment...lots of commitment and much too often we face the unpleasant reality that many don't know the meaning of the word. It's much easier to come and go w/o any effort.

A few days ago someone asked, "Why would anyone want to be a leader? Who in the world would want that job?"

The church is exciting...it's freah air and wonderful. I must put myself into it and hope it's contagious...how great it would be if all of us got excited at the same time....woohoo!

Anonymous said...

The book Switch by the Heath brothers talks about change and why we often fail. Good read.