*editor note: Bring Me 70 is temporarily down do to a server problem 😦
In a moment of jest with God, early yesterday afternoon, I once again suddenly realized I had no ideas for this post. (Fresh content, served daily @ Bring Me 70!!)
As if playing, poker, I realized my fate and folded. “I got nothing, God. What do you got?”
Suddenly, I was reminded of the Friday night poker game, from an episode of my favorite political drama. Staffers enjoying some down time after work, discussing a situation and one staffers’ “faith in humanity”. The other players have all folded during this hand, it’s come to two staffers.
As they close out this particular discussion, the one shows his cards.
“I’ve got ace high flush. Give me your money.”
To which, the other staffer replies:
“I’ve got tens full of queens. Give me yours.”
Then, my light-bulb moment. Forecasting. Even your certainty is uncertain.
As we’ve prayed a couple of times the past few weeks, regarding pastors, in transition, it’s official… a pastor friend is moving “up” if you will… from leading youth, to leading a church, as senior pastor. I’m excited for him and the family and know they will do well. In reality, he has his work cut out for him.
The church currently runs 120 or so in attendance. A strong base to start from. Many small churches would love to see 120.
The challenge… the 900 seat sanctuary. Forecasting.
I have no idea the backstory of this church. ZERO. ZILCH. NADA. That said, I see two possible scenarios (and both could be wrong, for all I know!)
1) They at one time, thought they could or were growing at a rate to need that much capacity and never got there.
2) They came pretty close, until something transpired; and the 120 is the remnant that remains, or perhaps with some growth mixed in.
How do you account and plan for such things? Corporate is different. People by and large, make decisions driven by brand loyalty. Gas. Groceries. Clothing. Cars. Anyone on their 6th iPhone?
Planning for church growth, though? Number of new salvations; growth from personal invitations, growth from events in the community; job changes, growth in the community itself…plus, people leave for various reasons; people switch churches, depending on life changes or ministry changes… 120 to 900 or vice versa, however and whatever occurred is a huge swing!
Again, perhaps I’m wrong and something else happened. But in this day and age when people are more faithful to their brand than the church, you can’t help but wonder what is going on.
Who recommends a great church? Where are the great churches? We stand in long lines for the newest dining experience, latest movie release and the next big thing on stage. Not that those aren’t fun and great and have their place, but in light of eternity, the only reason a church building should be empty is if its’ congregation is on the streets, compelling others to come in!
For Christ to come and offer life and life more abundantly, how it must destroy His spirit, to see churches on the verge of closing shop and pastors exhausted to the point of turning in the keys to the building.
The forecast may be bleak today, but the promise for tomorrow is bright. So we pray…
On this #deaconThursday, for churches facing the challenges of church operations, keeping the doors open, reaching the community, strengthening the faith of it’s congregation and so much more… God grant to them discernment and wisdom as they continue to plan and pray for direction, in fulfilling the calling in the communities where they serve. May God strengthen the collaborative efforts of pastors, staff, volunteers and church boards, to reflect the power of God in their midst; that they would indeed compel the community to seek God for themselves.
Expand the tent-stakes, for the harvest is ready. May the gatherers be many…
For the cause of Jesus Christ; the glory of God and the edification of the church-at-large.