Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Treading Water

  • Jim Townsley
  • Jul 19, 2017
Have you ever felt like you were just barely keeping your head above the water and not making any progress in the ministry? This is called treading water and most church planters have faced this problem. There will be times where no matter how hard you try there doesn’t seem to be any progress in building the church and reaching the lost. Many times of growth happen in cycles that often are difficult to explain. There will be times when there are few baptisms and other times where there are several baptisms. There will be times of very few salvation decisions and other times where there are many decisions for Christ. Attendance may stagnate at certain times and spiral at other times. Some of these results are unpredictable and difficult to explain, but they are a reminder that we must be faithful through every season if we are to see God’s blessings. 
The summer often demonstrates this phenomenon because many people are on vacation, traveling and moving around. In the summer the kids are out of school, active in summer programs and with the warm weather and extended sunlight people are involved in more activities that take them away from church. 
It is important to understand the opportunity to build during these quiet times. Getting a vision for reaching the lost throughout the summer and planning outreach opportunities can actually produce results during what many preachers see as a down time. You may think you are treading water but the energy invested during these times will eventually pay off when fall arrives.  The numbers and results will be more evident when people settle back into school and into their normal routine. 
Some of the greatest spiritual results in the church come from summer programs such as vacation Bible school and summer camp. More decisions for salvation and full surrender come from summer camp and vacation Bible school than any other outreach opportunity. In addition, special services can be scheduled during the summer such as a tent meeting, a children’s revival, a Bible conference or a special fellowship. The number of participants may seem diminished in the summer, but new visitors may also come during this time. People may be moving away, but also people may be moving into your area. In northern climates the summer affords warm weather conducive for door to door canvassing and reaching and making new contacts for a bus ministry. Outdoor activities can be utilized in the summer since the weather is warm. 
The same may be said in the middle of the winter. Planning special activities should not be limited just to the spring and the fall. Treading water during normally low times may be acceptable and understandable, however, doing nothing to reach the lost during these low times fails to recognize the great opportunities available to see souls saved and the church built. You can make great strides while you think you are merely treading water.