Our Sunday attendance has been pegged at 200 since 2008. To be honest that is tantamount to stagnation. I am tempted to worry about this. In fact, I am tempted to worry about my reputation as a leader. Am I a good leader? How come the church is not growing?
Should I really be worried about growth? God is the One who makes all things grow. Jesus was never worried about growth. The apostle Paul was never worried about growth. There’s nothing in Scripture that says that I should be worried about growth, or non-growth for that matter. Growth or non-growth happens by God’s sovereignty. It’s not about strategies; it’s about God’s grace and choice. To some He entrusts ten talents. To some He only entrusts five or two. Should I complain or should I just trust in His infinite wisdom?
As I reflect upon the totality of God’s revelation, I believe that as a church we should only worry about three things. First, are we leading people to faith in Christ? Second, are we loving God and each other as God’s people? And third, are we doing good to glorify our Father in heaven? To worry does not mean to fret, whine or complain. To worry is to think about such things, to evaluate, and to be seriously concerned if such things are not happening. In other words, to worry is to care. We ought to really care about those things. In fact, if those things are not really happening in our church, we should really be worried!
So this is what I am concerned about. This is my real worry. Are we leading more and more people to Christ? Are we just playing church each Sunday and not seeing people come to faith in Christ? Is the Great Commission still the Great Passion of RLCC? This last quarter we did not have our Freedom Day. That is a big worry for me. This must not happen again.
Are we learning to love God and each other more and more? Are we growing in holiness? Are we hating sin more and more? Do we, as God’s people, care for each other as brothers and sisters? Are we showing it by our actions? Is real communityship happening in our communities? Are we becoming the people of God that we are meant to be?
Are we doing good to our neighbors? Are we becoming rich in good works? Are we becoming creative and inventive in doing good to others, not because we want to bring them to church, but because we genuinely care for them? Are we coming up with ministries that impact the world outside our church? Are we going out and reaching out to make a difference?
These are my worries, my real concerns. I pray with sorrow as I try to answer these questions myself. I don’t care very much if we grow past 200. It’s just an ego trip. But I care enough to grieve and to feel guilty for failing to obey God and His word. I’m afraid that another year might pass and we will not be able to save as many people as possible. Just this year more than 600 people visited our church for the first time. What happened to them? Where are they now? What about those who came to faith in Christ this year? Are they still with us? My heart grieves whenever I remember faces that I no longer see on Sundays. What about people who are part of the RLCC family? Do they feel a sense of belonging already? Do they have real friends in church? Are they worshiping God in spirit and truth together with God’s people? Are they part of our LIFE Groups? Are they growing there? Do they have mentors? Is real communityship happening in our communities? Are people really caring for each other or are we only caring for those we like? Is there real accountability and love among God’s people in RLCC? Are there lonely people still in our church? These are my fears and worries.
Finally, I am afraid that after our series on goodness we will just go back to our daily routines and forget God’s call. We are called to be a blessing to the world. I am afraid that we will just continue living busy lives. Our time will be spent enjoying ourselves while the world suffers. We will make excuses. We will justify ourselves. Again, I am worried that my God will hold me, and us, accountable for not doing anything or something to alleviate the sufferings of people around us.
I’m not worried anymore about staying at 200. That is not my concern. My concern is just in those three areas: evangelism, communityship, and good works. I’m deeply worried about them. What about you? What are you worried about?