#6) I have never been a fan of the church growth movement. While I went to a large church in high school - and served a large church in Nashville - I just never bought into the whole church growth schtick. As one of my seminary professors put it - the only thing that grows that fast is cancer.
I never realized how much I would love being in a small town church until I got here. It's amazing folks. People are there to lend a hand instantly, you really get immersed into the community because you are living among your parishoners - instead of everyone traveling in to the church from far off places. They have a great work ethic, they are hungering to learn more and want to get their hands dirty.
My focus has never been to get the church to grow. at least not numerically. Growing in our faithfulness - yes. Growing in our commitment - yes. Growing in our ability to respond to God's Spirit - yes. Growing in numbers... eh.
But we are! My first year here, we about evened out with our deaths and members joining. But this year, with our confirmation class and so far 4 new members, we have grown our church by 11 in six months.
At an Ad Board meeting sometime last fall, someone commented that if we are doing what God wants us to do - the people will come... or maybe they said that the money would come... either way - if we are faithful, people will see that and they will want to be a part of what we are doing. And I think that is true.
We don't need to market our church so much as witness to what cool things God is doing in our midst right now. And right now we witnessed seven young people professing their faith in front of friends and family and their church. We have watched God connect us with a ministry in Cedar Rapids and have been called to respond with donations and building of relationships. We had a family join our church who was so excited about doing so that they brought all of their siblings and parents with them.
Stuff like that is pretty cool. And we are going to keep trying to follow God. And if more people want to join us on that journey - amen!