Growing Gains

On Sunday afternoon, I reflected on some of the minor problems we faced that day. We seemed to be short of cups, for example. The chapel felt a little stuffy during and after morning service. A number of folk commented on the distance they’d had to walk from their car. I counted the people who had attended and came to 79. We had 6 visitors, but five regulars were away, which evened out. We are bigger than I had thought.

A growing church faces growing problems. For example, how do we serve teas and coffees afterwards? The mouths might have increased, but the crockery hasn’t, and neither has the floorspace in which they might be quaffed. I know some locals are a little ‘concerned’ about the number of cars along the lane, and that some cars dropping off worshippers have received stern looks from vehicles waiting behind. I seldom feel that I do enough visiting, and a growing congregation will hardly improve my confidence that this is being successfully executed. 

We might reflect on the fact that churches can shrink just as quickly, or even quicker, than they grow. People who leave one church for ours may move on in like manner when they realise the grass is little greener or the pastor no more inclined to co-ride their hobbyhorses. People who receive the word with joy can find themselves overcome by the deceitfulness of wealth or be choked up with thorns. The more we grow, the larger the potential pool of opinions and positions people are likely to hold, which may divide or cause contention. God willing, we shall be spared such.

Growing pains might be preferable to shrinking pains or dying pains, but they are no less annoying. I pray that God gives us the wisdom to grow gracefully, and the desire and means to sow more seed, while tending the existing crop and guarding against tares.