First of all, I want to just say how much I love spending time with my house group from church. It seems the last couple of weeks (which, by the way, were the first couple of weeks of a newly formed group), I have left our time together with a lot of food for thought. And something to post on my blog :).
This week, our pastor posted a letter he had sent to the staff and elders on the church blog. The letter stated that over the past two weeks, attendance was up by over one hundred people (we made the move to having two services on July 11 and it opened up a lot of opportunity for visitors).
With that kind of growth, we have to be doing something right as a church. The Bridge is built on three core principles: to be theological, relational and missional. With the growth that we are experiencing right now, I can’t help but believe that we are doing those things pretty well. Missional gets people in the door and theological and relational keep people coming back.
There are so many good things that go hand in hand with a growing congregation. There are more hands to do the work so people don’t get as burned out. And because there are more hands, there will be more opportunity for outreach and more opportunity to share the Gospel. Just thinking about the many people who will hear the Gospel because of this church body is exciting. And the ability to help others in our community increases.
But, there is a small struggle that happens with a growing church as well. I think this is especially true for people who “remember when.” When you are a small chruch, you know every other family, you are involved in their lives. You know the pastor and his family pretty well. Because a small number of us have served together, we’ve become extended family. So when numbers begin to grow and you go to a service and don’t know anyone around you, sometimes you may become a little discouraged because you “remember when.”
You might feel like you are going to get lost in the numbers. This might be even more true for the members of my small group simply because we came from the pastor’s small group. We multiplied the group a few weeks ago because it was getting so large. It was time to take that step and I have been blessed by my new group already. But, having that relationship with the pastor and his wife was something that probably will not continue in the same capacity as before. Which, I want to state again, is fine. I am a PK (pastor’s kid for those of you not familiar with the term) and I know pastors do not have time in-depth relationships with everyone in the church body. And the church should not expect that from their pastor–EVER.
I think the thing to keep your mind on here is that it is not about me. I am not the church, you are not the church but we (all of us together) are the church. And we can grow in numbers and do such great things to advance the kingdom of God in ways we could not imagine before with a smaller number of people.
But how do you not get lost in a sea of faces? My solution for that is a pretty simple one. It is this: GET INVOLVED. Don’t just mark Sunday service off of your check list. Work on building relationships (both current ones and new ones). Invite new people to your small group, teach Sunday school, help with the your, be a greeter. In essence, DO SOMETHING.