Is Your Church Growing?

They only asked us to remember the poor -- the very thing I also was eager to do.  Galatians 2:10

The reality of poverty and hunger face us every day.  The news media lives on the principle that "If it bleeds, it leads."  The reality of poverty is a "bleeder" to the news media.  However, I am burdened by the fact that some Christians have gone to church for years and yet are in living in spiritual poverty  --  they are spiritually impoverished.  And in many cases they have been that way for so long that they are used to it and don't realize what it is to be fed a solid, spiritual meal.

You've probably heard the illustration about a live frog dying in a pot.  How can a live frog die in a pot? -- you may ask.  If the heat is gradually increased a little bit at a time the frog will eventually cook to death.  He didn't realize that he was dying a slow death. 

I believe that the same thing can happen in a church.  Over a period of time, if a church member doesn't receive solid spiritual meals, they will die a slow spiritual death.

Why do some churches grow while others struggle to stay on the map?  

I have often used the illustration of a restaurant to explain a spiritually healthy church.  After all, the church is where we receive spiritual meals. Some restaurants specialize in fast food or "junk" food, but it doesn't provide a nutritious or healthy meal.  A good meal is a bit more costly, but we've only got one body.  It is the same with our "Spirit."   Feeding my spirit may cost me and others something, but in the end it is well worth the experience and investment.  

Let's ask the question again, "Why do some restaurants (churches) thrive while others are here today and gone tomorrow?"  

Growth of the Early Church

Acts 2:41-42  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 

Here are some thoughts that can parallel a fine restaurant and a church experience:

  • Service is friendly and finding a table is relatively quick and painless being able to choose a seat where I am most comfortable.
  • I don't have to stand for long periods of time.
  • There is someone who ushers me to my table, makes sure that I feel welcomed and appreciated, provides me with a menu, water and silverware and if I need a pen, it works.
  • The waiter/waitress and menu use a language that I understand.
  • The menu is easy to follow and has a variety of dishes from which to choose.
  • Menus frequently undergo change to add variety and meet the needs of the customers.
  • I am not pestered during my meal.
  • Children are provided with meaningful things to occupy their attention and given a menu just suited for them.
  • Young children are hopefully not crawling under my table, throwing things on the floor, or yelling or screaming with no parental intervention.
  • The menu is not just read to me but explained in terms that I understand and that add spice and interest to which I can relate.
  • Humor and friendly banter, but not overdone, season the experience.
  • Meals are fresh, hot and well-balanced.
  • Recipes are original and not rip-offs of some other cook or restaurant.
  • There are a variety of meals served and each one has a unique creativity.
  • Music fits the environment and eating experience.
  • I am not given more to eat than I can handle and I am not given less than what I need.
  • I don't feel pressured to stay beyond the normal time it takes to eat comfortably and I am not rushed to leave before I have comfortably eaten.
  • I am given the opportunity to freely and privately share my feelings about my experience.
  • As I leave, there is a bowl of mints to help with digestion and bad breath.

If it was a good experience, I'll be back.

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