14 November 2007

Processing Thoughts for Sunday

This weekend I am preaching on the theme of "does God want me to get bigger?" at Faith UMC and I am wondering if you had some thoughts on growth.

There is often resistance to church growth as a whole because the thought that when a church grows to a certain size then the members of that church get uncomfortable with the size that their church has become and then begin to work against further growth. Do you find that to be true? Have you seen this in your church?

There seems to be great need for true spiritual growth in our churches today - i.e. we need to grow spiritually "bigger" as a result of our Christian walk. I think some Christians use this growing bigger as an excuse/reason for looking down on other Christians (and others who may not even yet profess faith in Christ) in order to make themselves feel better. I don't think that is helpful, healthy, or Christian in any way, shape or form.

I believe that God created humans with the capacity for growth and that capacity transfers into his church so that the church that is made up of humans is called to grow bigger each and every day. I believe we are under a mandate from heaven to grow each and every church to the fullest extent of its potential. Church leaders must understand that growing larger is not to be done for self-promotion or self-aggrandizement, but must be done for the glory of God and for furthering the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.




Andrew said...

I agree. There was a point in my life, that I am not proud of, where I was getting frustrated with my church. I felt like I was getting "left out" because there were now more people, new people. My response was, "This does not feel like a small church anymore".

Unfortunately I think that the term "church" has become so affiliated a physical building, a physical place we go to on Sunday, that our perspective has really been messed up. I think that the problem with thinking of church too much in terms of physical space is that we stop thinking of ourselves as the church.

If I think of myself as (part of) the church, it puts a whole new spin on things. I am now noticing that as I grow spiritually, I feel pulled to help out, volunteer, etc. at my church. If I feel that church "just doesn't have that small church feel that I liked", well, I am the church! My volunteering, my seeking out the new people, etc. I think is now my obligation.

If everyone at a church made an effort to know everyone, I think it would really be amazing! It takes work and sacrifice to forge new relationships. I just like the mental image of a large church where everyone knows everyone.

See ya Dean! And thanks again for the Stars tickets!!!!


Rev_DeanL said...

You are right on in conceiving of the people who go to a particular house of worship as "the church" instead of the physical building because that is indeed what we are. Christ's body is not brick and mortar, but flesh and bone.