Birth of a Church
Posted by adventbiblestudy on January 6, 2011
Once upon a time there was a church that was, well very stable. This church was constant and did not waiver. The church was secure
in its traditions. One day the time had come for the Pastor to move on and the church searched for a replacement. In came a man of little renown the church voted and accepted him. All of the members voted, but it was only the majority that accepted him.
The bliss of the new welcome was short lived. The underlying feelings of a few within the church soon came to the surface. They thought it would be easy to control this new Pastor. What did they hope to gain by controlling such a little church?
The Pastor saw that the church was small but had visions of a growing and thriving community. The Pastor had grand ideas. Some within the church loved these ideas. Others, were of course skeptical and maybe a little bit cynical.
The church of course had leaders but a growing church needs a mixture of old and new leaders. When the time came traditions were followed, committees were formed and the names chosen The names were submitted and the church voted on each. The church was beginning to grow.
Whenever a church grows it must experience growing pains. The new church board was made up of those that had led and those that needed to learn and those that may never learn. In the beginning there were trials and tribulations that no one saw coming. The church stood strong. The Pastor and board worked long and hard hours. There were times when answers were not easily found. Often the only action they felt confident to take was to wait and pray. There were a few that left, but the majority stayed and faced the storms.
The Pastor came with a vision of growing this little church and planted these seeds within the members. Some of these seeds sprouted and grew quickly while others grew slowly. And some of the seeds lay dormant for a while until light was allowed to reach them.
As the church grew so did the board. New board members were added. The church voted on each and the church grew stronger. The church members looked upon the Pastor with respect because he had led them through storms with his prayers and the cooperation of his board. The board welcomed new members with their ideas and witnessed the church growing stronger.
The new board was something to behold. New ideas were always accepted and discussed in great detail. Each point was given due consideration, prayer and the time to be examined from every possible angle. The details were discussed and prayed upon in such a manner that when a vote was called the outcome was always unanimous. It was always said within the board, “that we can confidently step forward and as long as we have history to remember we will always have the option of returning to the way things were.”
The board was required to work. Faith without works is dead. The Pastor would not allow any members to sit idle and die. Board members were expected to participate and use their spiritual gifts inside the church and outside. This was one ingredient that brought the board together. Board meetings were a thing to look forward to. The fellowship was a time of bonding and nurturing. The Pastor knew that a working board was a happy board. Meetings were often held in a member’s home with breakfast served. Each meeting was filled with laughter, companionship, prayer and a need to serve, help and mentor one another. The meetings were often a deep spiritual experience. Each member not only felt but displayed the presence of God. With every step the church grew stronger.
The Pastor knew that if the church remained hidden in tradition the doors would never be completely open to those that lived next door. For the church to grow the church must learn to change. Every change was a small step. Some steps were good. Some steps needed to be retraced. Growth involves a learning curve.
Every member was encouraged to learn and use their spiritual gifts. The church believed that each member was part of the body of Christ and like each member of the body, each person had a function that was vital to the growth of the church. As membership involvement grew, so did the church.
The day came when the Pastor felt a calling to take what he had learned and teach it to others. The time had come to teach other churches to grow. And the Pastor left.
Faced with the challenges of a growing membership the now strong church board held the church together. Decisions were made and as was the policy the entire church was involved and had a voice. Things were achieved that were never even dreamed of. As this growth took place, one by one the members of the board were called away to distant lands. It seemed as if the once little church, now thriving, was a school led by God. The members that had experienced the growth were now needed to share this knowledge throughout the land. One by one the board members were called away to face new challenges in distant churches. One by one new members took their place.
A new Pastor was found and voted into the church. Everyone rejoiced because they had chosen a new Pastor to take them to the next step. The members were excited to see what new ideas this Pastor would bring. When one of the board members were called away, a new one was appointed. As new members took their place they brought new visions of growth. The new board members came with new ideas. The church was filled with visions of growth and prosperity.
Some board members felt that there were things that needed to be changed and went about correcting the errors they saw in their own eyes. It only takes a member or two on a single matter to trouble the once tranquil waters and create the first waves. No one can tell which way some members could be tossed in these waves.
Leaders stepped into power with a need to lead the church through changes that they felt were necessary. The support for the local school was done away with. Major purchases were authorized to please the desires of a particular member or two. Decisions to end programs were made without input or even notifying the church. Even the prayers that once held the church together were forgotten. Board members resigned and new members were appointed by the board without input or a vote from the church members. The church was changing its identity.
Some members saw that they no longer had a voice in their church and they left. Some felt that they were no longer needed or wanted. Others did not appreciate the changes and they also left.
What used to be accomplished through a personal phone call or conversation was now communicated by a note or insert in the bulletin. Communications ceased to exist and with it fellowship, trust and growth. Members were no longer encouraged to participate in the worship service. The church had lost its most important training aid. Interest waned, members felt unappreciated and children felt left out. The church had turned from being on fire to running a fever.
How does one begin to heal a church when the leadership is convinced everything is running just fine and that they are the only ones that can run the church? How can a church go back to what had worked when there is no one left that wants to hear about how things used to be? When we refuse to learn from history we are condemned to repeat it. It always seems as if it is the mistakes that we repeat.
How does one begin to turn a church around when no one seems to care? When no one wants to listen? When the leadership is convinced that the only reason they are experiencing a trial is because they are on the right path, doing the right thing and it is Satan causing all of the problems? How is the trend broken?
Often times it is not one person or one issue that causes conflict within a church but a combination of many things. Very seldom does one person know all of the details of why this works in a church or why that may fail. It is when people think they understand an issue or they are convinced that they are sure they know how to correct every issue that real problems occur. So how does one begin to turn a church around? How does one reach out to others in a church that is ailing?
Realizing there is a need for improvement is the first step to solving any problem. Admitting that you do not have the answers is one next step and knowing that this is the time to begin to pray. Opening up all forms of communication is another important step. Involving the entire church in the rebuilding process. If there is a subject that you can not freely talk about in public you need to seriously consider the circumstances. There should never be a subject that you cannot talk freely about with your church family in a Christlike manner. Remember, you are supposed to be in the presence of people that are professionals in the art of forgiveness.
There is not one person that can solve this problem. There is not any group or committee. It takes an entire church to work together to make a change. The people you need to help the most to solve such a problem are those that are missing. When the missing members return the healing can begin. When the missing members return the church can once again begin to grow. Those that do not understand this should not be leading.
Above all, there is one cure that can turn a church around from an ailing church to a growing church.
KJV Colossians 1:16-20
16. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20. And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
The moment the entire church realizes who the real leader is, growth will begin and will never end. A good plan should always begin with knowing what the final outcome will be. When church plans are built upon the concept and belief of eternal life they will always follow a path that will lead others to the way, the truth and the light.