Growing pains, I know some people who have gone through them and it was not pleasant. I don’t remember ever having growing pains while I was younger. All the growing pains I’ve ever experienced have been from growing older and breaking down. So, why would I be talking about growing pains? Well, I’m sitting here waiting for a group to gather with an architect so we can get a bid on what it would cost to do a facilities review of our building and grounds. We have come to a place as a church body, that we need to see how we might better use the space we have and find out if there is anything we can do beyond our current footprint in order to give us more space to grow.
Growing is a good thing. Healthy things grow. If our kids don’t grow we become immediately concerned and do whatever we can to make sure they are experiencing healthy growth. Why would that be any different when we are talking about the church? The church needs to grow and by God’s grace, it is growing. Again, healthy things grow. So, growth is a sign of health (it is not the only sign, and certainly our growth must be measured in fruit being borne of faithful gospel ministry). If we are rightly preaching the Gospel, then people should be growing individually as disciples of Christ and the church should be growing in number as people hear the gospel and are converted.
Most of our growth has come from one of two ways. First, we are certainly growing through childbirth which is a great praise and it is concerning our children where we are going to be feeling the growing pains most acutely. Secondly, we have had a lot of what is typically called, “transfer” growth. That is not a bad thing if people come to our church and find a place they can call home and get plugged in. I’m not interested in “stealing sheep” from other churches so we don’t go around seeking to recruit people to transfer in, but if God brings them here, then praise the Lord! The kind of growth the leadership would like to see and I think we can all agree is that of conversion growth. We would love to see people coming and hearing the gospel and making professions of faith in Jesus Christ. That means we need to pray for non-believers to come and then we need to be looking for non-believers to invite in.
Now, the fact is we are growing and we are faced with the challenges that presents. In the short run, that means we are probably going to get a little more uncomfortable until we can change things to provide a more comfortable experience in our facilities. What does that mean for you personally? I think it means we are each going to need to be patient and understanding about our limitations within our facility. It also means we need to be praying that God would work mightily in providing for the growth that we are experiencing and that He would continue to bless and grow us. I praise God for this place He has brought us to, and am looking forward to where He is leading Faith Church.