What is one of the absolute essentials for your church to grow? Belief! If you the church members don’t believe your church can grow, I will give you I believe a safe guarantee: IT WILL NEVER GROW! Why? Because when we don’t believe that our church can grow, we don’t invite people to come to church, we don’t hold evangelistic events that will encourage people to become a part of our church. If we don’t believe our church can grow we see non-members that come to our church not as guests, but as visitors. There is a big difference between a guest and a visitor. A guest we expect to return one day, a visitor, well they are just passing through and will probably never be back. A guest we say, “we hope you come again.” A visitor we say, “thanks for stopping by.” A guest is a potential friend, a visitor is a tourist. When we don’t believe our church can grow we don’t put a lot of thought into our services and so they become stale. These stale services often include last minute back room planning: “so who will do the scripture reading today? And who is going to do prayer. Okay great we’re ready.” REALLY? Come on y’all, all y’all know that is truth. This is what happens when we don’t believe. When we don’t believe these stale services are also distracting services for anyone that hasn’t fallen asleep. Mic’s don’t work because no one checked them or someone forgot to put batteries in them. Each participant is unsure when they are going to go up and so there is a lot of dead time and people looking around at each other, “am I up now? Is it me?” When we don’t believe we can grow, we don’t place greeters at the doors, but instead we leave the bulletins, if we even have one, on a table in the foyer. When we don’t believe we can grow…I could go on, but I won’t. The point is a lot of bad things happen when we don’t believe our church can grow…but probably the worst of all, when we don’t believe we can grow we stop praying for growth and when we stop praying for growth we lose all power because Jesus won’t force anything upon us against our will. Our prayer every Sabbath should be, “Lord grow our church today through Your power and for Your glory!” But churches that don’t believe they can grow don’t pray this prayer, and if they do…they don’t really believe it and Jesus knows whats true and what isn’t!
I’m going to speak specifically of the United States because that is my mission field now, but wherever you live just insert the name of your country in my next sentence: I believe that every church in every community in the United States can grow. In fact I believe that even in communities where there are currently no churches that if a church was put there it could grow. I don’t even know what cities I am speaking of, but I believe that when Jesus told Peter that on the truth that He is the Messiah the Son of the Living God He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against any church built on that truth (Matthew 16:16-18) that Jesus really meant it! Even the church in your city that has been dying a slow death for so many years. There may be a ton of problems in your church and a lot of things that need to take place to see growth begin again in your church, but I guarantee you it will never happen if you first don’t believe!
When I drive I get lost sometimes on purpose, sometimes on accident. Often on these excursions if my wife is in the car with me I will say to her, “that would be a great place to build a church!” Sometimes I get on my phone and I search the internet to see if there is an Adventist church in town, if there is not I’ll say to my Christina (my wife again), “maybe we should move here and plant a church.” I say this if the city is 5 people or 5 million people. God has put it in my heart to believe that the church can grow anywhere even in Buford, Wyoming! Many years ago I was passing through Wyoming with a group of guys in the band Catch 77. We pulled off to get gas in Buford, Wyoming. As we headed into this thriving metropolis we saw a sign, “pop. 8” the gas station wasn’t open…a sign on the door told us to go to the trailer behind the gas station if we needed help. So we did, the gentlemen came out and turned on the pumps for us so we could get gas. While we were filling up our trusty 12 passenger van we asked him about the town, he told us the sign needed to be changed because they were down to a population of 6. I believe that if someone chose to plant a church in Buford, Wyoming they could reach at least one person in that town and the church would grow.
I know that in my ministry a portion of the success has been the faith that if Jesus reached me surely He can reach someone else, and with that truth, that faith ever in my heart I believe every church can grow!
Start believing y’all!