We have hovered around the 50 mark for a while now and it’s a wall we are going to punch through! It’s a size of church that can feel comfortable for regulars but uncomfortable for newcomers too. Fifty people feels like an overgrown family – you do know everyone’s name but once we get regularly past it you won’t.
So should we break it?
1) God wants everyone to get a chance to repent of their sin and receive the good news of Jesus Christ and become part of His body, the Church (2 Pet 3:9), so sticking at fifty because it is nice is not really an option!
2) Jesus told a story of a banquet – the invited guests didn’t come so the host sent out the servants to go get people from the highways to enjoy the feast. We have a great church, where we feast in worship, hearing and applying the Bible and getting connected, growing and serving in our small groups. Jesus’ banquet story in Luke 14 is an invitation to go out and get more people to thefeast. If some don’t respond, go find some others!
3) In 1Cor 3:6 Pauls tells his experience – Paul planted, Apollos watered and God gave the growth. All of us have a part to play – some plant, some water but at the end of the day God is the One who will give the growth!
Should we break 50? Yes – its not about numbers it’s about people, who are finding Christ.
<h2>I want to be able to look around one Sunday in a few years time and see…</h2>
- A Svetlana who found Christ through the international Cafe
- Harry and Freddie who became Christians in the youth club and are doing a GAP year before going off to university
- Anna who used to go to church, but stopped in her teens, ended up coming with Emma to a small group social and is now on fire for God
- Tim and Anna, who still have plenty of questions but have made some great friends while playing badminton every Monday
To blast past 50, we will need to make some changes – there will be more small groups, more leaders be trained and released, a bigger pastoral team, an outreach strategy and great process to help people get connected.
Here’s the 6 steps we will be working through
- Pray We need to get praying, get God’s heart for our area and feel for it the way He does. Then we need to pray expectantly and listening for what He wants us to do both strategically as a church and in the day to day that will resultinKingdom buidling life change encounters with friends, family, neighbours and total strangers!
- Identify the Obstacles Take a good look at any obstacles to us growing: from simple stuff like car parking to small groups and finding leaders.
- Cast Vision Over the next few months, we will be getting vision from God of that preferable future for The Gateway Church that will inspire us to go for it. Alongside it will be some goals and plans onhow to put legs on the vision.
- Prepare – We need to start thinking like a church twice our size and working out how we can do it – from kids work, to ministries to youth and venue.
- Act Go for it! Hudson Taylor said “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God”. We will go for more evangelistic and community impact, build for those high Sundays like baptisms, Christmas and Easter and follow up everyone!
- Leave the rest to God – There’s a balance to church life of working hard and God working on our behalf.
“The Christian’s motto should not be ‘Let go and let God’ but ‘trust God and get going!’” —J.I. Packer
At the end of the day we rely on God to bring the growth and pour out his blessing on His Kingdom and His Church. Eph 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work in us,to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.”