Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3547

Jump Start # 3547

Acts 2:42 “And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

  We have often addressed the issues and troubles that face a dying congregation. The Laodicea and Sardis experiences are layered with lessons that we can learn from. Recently one of our readers asked me to address the opposite. How does a congregation deal with growing pains. New faces. New names in the eldership. The need to expand the building. Crowded classrooms. Influx of money every week well above the budget. Thing happening fast. How does a congregation stay on top of all of these moving parts?

  Several years ago we had a brain-storming session with the shepherds and preachers. Ideas were flowing from how to better evangelize, to developing more class teachers, to better ways to encourage. Post-it notes covered a wall with so many ideas. It was exciting and challenging. From all the ideas, we prioritized them in what we felt was most important for us. We then went through the list and picked out the “Top Five.” We were advised that starting too many new things at once, though very exciting, is too confusing, and often burdens the ones capable of overseeing such new projects. The “Top Five” is where we landed.

  Here are some things to keep in mind:

  First, one must never lose the focus of why we exist and what we are supposed to do. The minor projects can become the major projects if not careful. Honoring God and preparing people for Heaven must always be the central point of what we do. It is very easy for shepherds to turn their main job of shepherding the flock of God into building projects, picking out paint colors and carpet. These tasks can and ought to be given to dedicated and trusted people that we call deacons. Stay with the sheep is what the elders need to do.

  Second, having a five and ten year picture of the congregation helps with the choices for today. Realty is that in five or ten years some members may be on the other side. The leadership may change in five or ten years. Keeping that in mind, puts the idea of developing future leaders as a priority. Who will carry on? Who will have the understanding and vision that the current leaders have?

  Third, finances and personnel have a lot to do with projects. Adding on to the church building is expensive. And, doing that can side track other more important spiritual concerns. There are many congregations that are meeting in nice buildings but the atmosphere is that of Laodicea and Sardis. Getting the spiritual climate right is much more important than the landscaping around the building.

  With expanding finances, consideration ought to be made as to what the church is doing in that area to reach more people. Connecting to social media is a must in these times. Getting the tools to produce blogs, websites, podcasts and have a social media presence takes some finances.

  A congregation with the extra resources can have some special classes or meetings that will really help the people there. Rather than just holding a regular Gospel Meeting, bring in someone just for the teens or the college age group. Have a special session just the older Christians. Taking a Saturday morning to help others learn how to teach is powerful. Having the resources allows a congregation to do things like that.

  Fourth, as a congregation grows rapidly, it is important to help everyone feel connected. The new faces need to be a part of the congregation. The shepherds must work hard to see that this happens. With many conversions, special classes ought to be offered to help the new Christians grow.

  Growing pains –there are challenges, issues and things that need to be considered. It’s exciting to be a part of such a time. Keeping everyone on the same page takes some real effort, but it can be done.

  Imagine those first three thousand baptized in Jerusalem. Our verse gives us several key factors about a growing church. Keep teaching. Keep the people together. Keep going. Keep the focus upon the Lord. All of that takes energy, effort and leadership.