River of Life right now could be considered to be a ‘small church’ – just the same as nearly 50% of the churches in America.
Yes, the land of mega-churches and telethons actually has that many churches with less than 100 members.
Do Numbers Matter?
Gathering with other believers in church is a central aspect of spiritual growth. Church is where we meet to worship and serve Jesus. It’s also the place we bring people who don’t yet know Him.
A church’s effectiveness isn’t defined by the attendance – but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore it.
‘Numbers’ is not the goal. It’s a thermometer. It tells us if what we’re doing is effective.
Are people coming, and finding a church that is welcoming in every way? A church that serves and worships God with such spirit and truth that they want to stay?
Are people who don’t know Jesus being drawn in by His presence among us?
We can’t make a church grow. Only God can do that. But we can position our church to grow.
How Can we Position Ourselves to be Effective?
Accept the biblical mission of the church, as we’ve already talked about.
Then ask ourselves the questions:
- “What is it that God has called us as a church to do?
- How is He directing us to do it?”
- What is it about our physical location, our resources, our people, that God can uniquely use to change our community with the Gospel?
- What do we need to do – whatever it is, big or small – to be sure that we are a place that people want to come to?
If we find the answers and do what’s needed, then the numbers God has for us will come.
We must be willing to review everything around us, and everything we do. There may be things we need to cut out, new strategies to implement.
When we do our part we know God will do His.
A small church is a unique, exciting opportunity to see God’s hand at work in the congregation and in the local community.
What Do we See in our Church Right Now?
Hope. Promise. Potential. Opportunity. Openness. Caution.
What is the God-ordained prime purpose for River of Life?
The same as it was for the original church 2000 years ago.
The same as it is for the church universal.
The same as it is for every local church:
- The gathering of believers together
- to worship God in song, prayer and the Lord’s Supper,
- to study His Word,
- to encourage one another in the Faith,
- to care for one another practically,
- to reach others with the gospel.
How do we see the future of our church?
Exciting and challenging. We are saved. We are keen to study the Word and be good servants. We are surrounded by communities who offer countless opportunities for the gospel to be preached.
As a local church we have to be both forward looking and outward-looking.
Our vision is to reach people, to lead people into a growing relationship with Him, in whatever fresh forms that may take.
Right now we are dealing with lockdown, and our first reaction has been to step up the digital presence of the church. This Group is a start, and online church services and meetings are almost ready to launch.
Will this mean Change?
Not to the message, only to methods. We are to follow the mission not cling to a model. One is sacred. The other is not.
Crisis is an accelerator, and if God had wanted everything in the church to continue exactly as it has been, then he would not have brought each one of us here for this time.
It can be uncomfortable to step out into the unknown. Our human nature would rather stick with what’s familiar and in our control.
But God didn’t create us to sit in comfort. He calls us to grow and stretch and step out. Through it all He will never leave us.
There is a place to serve and a part to play for everyone