Long Term Investments at Haggate Baptist, Burnley

I spoke at Haggate Baptist again this afternoon. There was only a handful of folk there- my reputation as a preacher had evidently preceded me- but they were warm and appreciative. I noticed on their wall was a list of the church's elders, going back to the eighteenth century. It's clear that a number of these men spent not just many years, but many decades, serving the Lord there. 
Did you know that the average Christian in the UK sticks with a church only 3.5 years before finding another? In fact I've just made that up, but many of you could have believed it. The atmosphere of competition that various Tory governments sought to introduce into the public sector has affected our church life. If your local hospital, school, energy supplier or GP surgery is not to your liking, go to another. Yes here are men on the Haggate board who 'stuck with it'. 
I visited Queen's University's (Belfast) economics department in 2014. Displayed proudly on the wall was a graph demonstrating stock market growth since the early twentieth century. It went up and down over the course of history. Notable 'downs' included the 1929 Wall Steet Crash as well as those of 1987 and 2008. Overall, however, the values of stocks and shares have risen. 'It's a long term investment, you see', said the Irish economics student with some authority, who was proudly explaining the chart. 
I'm sure William Smith and John Hudson would say the same of church leadership.