I have been asked many times by many different people, pastors, Sunday School Superintendents, teachers and others, “How can I help my church to grow?” I have tried to answer to the best of my ability and knowledge that the church grows from the inside out and not the outside in. By this, I mean that the people who profess Jesus Christ as Savior should be in a right relationship with Him before they can begin to grow their church. Oftentimes folks get the idea that if they just ask someone to come once that will do it. But if the church family is in disharmony, the visitor soon recognizes this and will not come back. We have to know ourselves well enough in our relationship with Christ that we can give of ourselves to others. We have to be willing to open our hearts and minds to new ideas and different ways of doing things.
I am not trying to say that we should throw away all our traditions in favor of something new. There are many aspects of our tradition that we should hold dear such as our beliefs as stated in our Articles of Faith and Principles of Church Government for Original Free Will Baptists. If we are of the mind set that we cannot change or modify the way in which we do some of the activities of our church, we may be impeding our progress or growth. A good definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. There are many different methods that can be used when teaching a Sunday School class or leading a youth group. The method used needs to meet the learning needs of the listener. As a teacher you might ask, “How do I know what method is good for the listener?” The answer is simple. You can read, come to the LIFE Conference or attend learning sessions in one of our Regional Training Centers. As teachers and other church leaders, we need to encourage everyone to learn all they can to be the best that they can be. An analogy I like to use is this, when the table is set and ready for a meal, do we or do we not sit down to eat? I am sure that we do. When workshops/seminars are scheduled that would assist us in doing a better job in our church, why do we not go and learn all we can? I hear such things as “I do not have the time,” “my children need me,” “I have to work,” “I just use the Bible and that’s good enough for me,” “I am too tired,” “I’m not a teacher so why should I go,” or any number of different excuses. It is our duty or obligation to learn all we can in order to share ourselves with other people. My friend, Dr. Tom Morris, made a statement in a recent blog to me that reads, “We count numbers instead of making numbers count.” There is a great deal of truth in that statement. We want our numbers to be large, but we do not want to expend the energy that it takes to make the numbers count by being true to our Lord in making our guests feel welcome in our fold. Research has proven that the majority of people come to church in search of friends or a sense of belonging. If they see that the people are REAL and TRUE in their worship, then they want to find the Jesus that the people follow. A special Sunday is coming on June 15, 2014. It is traditionally known as Father’s Day. I would ask that every effort be made to encourage all fathers to be in church with his family that day and thus set a good example for all his children. After all, Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me…for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14). WE CAN DO NO LESS.