Challenge of a growing church…

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Scripture: Exodus 14:10 As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”

Observation: We will see this again and again in the book of Exodus – the people complaining to Moses, extolling the virtues of slavery in Egypt when things got hard on their way to the promised land.

Application: Anything worth pursuing in life is going to include hardships. In fact, one might say it’s the difficulty of the challenges along the way that makes the goal, once attained, that much sweeter. However, if we’re not careful, we can be tempted to abort the journey before getting to our destination.

The congregation I lead in suburban Dallas has been on a growth spurt. In fact, our attendance is up 20% over last year, which is great. Growth is one of the primary goals named by church leadership when I arrived 2 1/2 years ago. Yet as new people come, the nature of the church changes, which creates something of a dilemma.

If we’re to continue to grow we must continue to innovate. Which involves change. Which induces anxiety in some people. Or we can halt the pace of change, which may reduce systemic anxiety, but can kill whatever momentum we have for growth.

I know that many of the people who read this blog are either church pastors, staff, or lay leaders. Any of this stuff sound familiar? I’ll bet it does. The good news is – we’re growing. The bad news is – we’re growing. This is tricky business, for sure.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you created the church to share good news with the world. Numbers are important to you because numbers represent people, for whom you gave your life on the cross. Give us grace to adapt as we grow, which is never easy. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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