I think every pastor, from time to time, sits in his/ her office and wonder what they can do better to grow their church. It is frustrating at times to work hard and to visibly see people losing interest in what you are doing. Pastors…let’s be honest…we feel that growing our church (whatever that means) is solely our responsibility. We try to come up with creative ideas that will get more butts into seats, manufacture excitement, and give people a great show to talk about for the rest of the week. I am more and more convinced that we are missing the point entirely.
I pastor a fairly small church in Fishers, IN called Fishers Point Community Church. We are a slowly growing church plant that has a ton of children and is overall very family-oriented. I love that worship community. As the Lead Pastor of this church, the first paragraph at one point described me perfectly. I felt responsible for everyone’s happiness and the steady growth of the church. Granted, I am responsible for strategic leadership, but growth requires more than what I listed…
One day, I sat in my office and had such a burden for my church. I began to feel as if there was something missing from what we were doing. I looked at our mission statement and it looked good…I thought about our music and it was great quality…I even critically analyzed my own preaching. Everything seemed great! Why were people coming into our worship services so tired and checking their watches during worship? It occurred to me that our church had never really taken any risks and had not selflessly served the community. I thought we did…I mean we had a great worship service to come to that anyone was invited to participate in…We were not actually serving people for the purpose of simply serving.
When we started targeting people to serve in our community we began to see testimonies regularly and people seeing God moving in their lives! And…most importantly we serve making sure that we do not do so just to get people to come to our church. We make sure that we just simply serve.
The most recent example was a project that we did for a single mother of 2 boys. We painted her house…It was so simple, but through this project the people that participated were changed. This woman was so gracious to humbly let us serve her. She seemed so appreciative. The next morning, in our worship service, we saw spontaneous testimonies, and God took over to the point that I had to surrender my sermon to God’s control. I didn’t preach what I intended. What happend that day can’t fully be described.
We have seen our local church invigorated because children and adults are involved in sacrificially giving their time, money, and energy to make sure that Christ is seen through us. People not only need to hear the word they need to see it. My vision for this church is to mobilze an army of sacrifically serving individuals to reflect Christ’s love around the community.
I have found that churches and individuals will grow and become passionate about their faith when they take the gospel message they are hearing and translate it to the animation of their hands and hearts.
It is transforming our church…It’s what God wants.