In recent weeks I have been saying something to this effect in many different places: “God is truly doing something special at First Church.”
Please know that when I say this, I both mean it, and believe it.
We are now half way through 2017. Compared to 2016 at this same point we are blessed to see many signs of growth.
One of the more obvious factors would be that compared to last year we are experiencing, overall, an increase in worship participation of about 20 persons/week in one form or another. But I want to be quick to point out that in recent times our growth has been more through some of our non-traditional worship offerings. The truth is as we head into the future, and into “unchartered waters of new kinds of times,” we will probably see more growth on the edges with our non-traditional ministry offerings (ie online worship or Acts Network worshipping communities) rather than in the more traditional worship experiences on Sunday mornings.
We have also experienced growth in our giving! In fact so far, year to date, we have seen a double digit percentage increase in our giving compared to this same time last year. We pray this may continue.
But these are not the only signals of growth among us. So far this year we have experienced a higher rate of baptisms—we have 16 already this year. In 2016 we had 20 total for the year and in 2015 we had 16 for the entire year!
Also this year we are experiencing a change in our culture as every week people are lifting up #buildup429 expressions. It is wonderful week in and week out to build one another up through concrete examples of God’s love that we are noticing.
When it comes to our FUSE youth ministries there has been about a 10% increase in involvement of students over last year.
It is an exciting time! And the best part is that I believe we are just “scratching the surface” of what God has in store. I hope you will join me in rejoicing at what God is doing!
One of the other reasons I bring all of this up is because it is easy to think that when growth occurs, all of our problems disappear. In reality, however, there are a number of things that get harder, not easier, the more a church grows.
In the weeks to come I am going to point out some of those growth challenges. To do this I am again going to turn to communicator and author Carey Nieuwhof who in his article, “7 Things That Get Harder As Your Church Grows” names many of those challenges that come with growth. So be on the look out as we recognize and name these challenges. If you want to get a sneak peak at what we will be unpacking go to the article at:
I firmly believe that by naming these challenges we will be better prepared to deal with them so that continued growth in our vision of Transformation In Christ, Changing Lives Inside and Out may occur.
I hope you are as excited as I am First Church!