Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


Go

Stay, Stay, Stay

  • Jim Townsley
  • Jan 30, 2008

How do churches grow and become strong? There are many factors, but the most significant factor for a church to become strong is the longevity of the pastor. Starting a church can be achieved quickly in a matter of months, but building a strong indigenous church requires hard work over many years. It is difficult to start a church, but merely holding a first service does not accomplish the primary objective of establishing an indigenous self-supporting church. Too many churches fail before they become established congregations. The importance of staying cannot be overemphasized.

There will be many opportunities to quit, but anyone can quit. Staying requires courage, duty, and personal growth in the Lord. Every preacher will face challenges and trials and it is during these times that God will prove us and make us. Quitting sets a pattern that may be repeated and become a way of life.

The ultimate goal of a church planter is to completely fulfill the great commission. That goal is to win souls, baptize them, train them to be spiritual believers, and to reproduce another fundamental church. The gospel should go to neighboring towns and eventually to the ends of the earth. This task is never ending and extensive. It certainly cannot be accomplished in a few months.

There are a series of steps required for the new church to achieve maturity. Developing a core group of leaders is a necessity of the new church that requires time. Developing leaders also requires training over several years. People do not usually come to a new church with previous training that prepared them for your philosophy or standards. You will need to teach your new converts Bible fundamentals and also they must learn your personality so that they can trust and follow your leadership. In addition, it is dangerous to give key responsibilities to people too quickly. A novice cannot become a deacon until he has first proven himself. Too much responsibility too soon could bring discouragement to a new believer and could cause them to fall to the way-side.

Expect setbacks. Rarely does a church grow without setbacks. Sometimes these setbacks are severe and require years to recover. A young preacher often has two Sunday attendance counts; one of the people attending, the other is the number he would have had if everyone was there. One day you will recognize that everyone who can be there will never come on the same Sunday. People will come and go and no matter how hard you try you will experience this same challenge.

Another important key to a strong church is building the Sunday school attendance and the evening services. Often new attendees will come to the Sunday morning service only. Over time with prayer, promotion and encouragement some of the Sunday morning crowd begins to understand the importance of attending every service. The Sunday evening attendance is an important gauge of the stability of a new church. It is the Sunday night and Wednesday night crowd that are the real strength of the church.

Another important step for a new church is acquiring property and building a church building. A church can meet in a temporary place, however a permanent place will add stability to the church as well as flexibility. Some programs and services are difficult or impossible to hold without a permanent meeting place.

Remember that your community and its leaders will be wary of you and your ministry until you prove yourself. A bank will be reluctant to loan money if they fear you are fly-by-night. Some will watch you before they ever consider attending your church. Sometimes they will watch you for years before ever attending a service. If you leave prematurely you will only confirm their suspicions that you had nothing permanent to offer. It takes time to get to know a community and for them to get to know and trust you. Your reputation is your life-line to reach the lost.

Don't compare yourself to other ministries. Often attendance reports are exaggerated making yours seem minimal. What a shame it would be that a man would leave a new church discouraged not knowing he was really making a difference. Building a strong and enduring ministry will not be achieved over night. It will require faithfulness over many years. There will be good times and bad, but staying during the bad times will be the source of your personal growth in the Lord and pave the way for the church to become strong.

Staying faithful will prove to be a source of great delight for the faithful man of God. A faithful preacher will have the privilege of reaping fruit he would never have seen had he quit.