Our little church is growing – bursting at the seams! This is what we’d prayed for. Membership means tithe, and tithe means we can keep our doors open, expand our ministries, reach more people with The Good News.
But what is The Good News? Certainly, it’s the news that Jesus is the Messiah who was raised from the dead to free us from the slavery of sin. But it’s also the news that ritual and sacrifice (works) aren’t what gets us into heaven; it’s the relationship we have with Jesus – being “in the Kingdom” – that works on our hearts and makes us see our errors and want to stay “in the Kingdom” every day. God speaks to us, if we just learn to listen. "The Word" is the Holy Spirit alive in our heart.
We’ve been praying about the decision to have two services and to increase the size of the sanctuary to accommodate our growth. There are significant pros and cons to these decisions. What if we’re focusing on the wrong thing? The Conference wants us to focus on growing members and tithe bases. Missionaries want to plant churches and build hospitals. Some churches are focused on social justice. Other leaders focus on health programs and other outreach to evangelize and spread The Good News.
But what if we’ve been looking outward when we should be looking inward? Maybe what we’ve been needing to do for decades as followers of Christ – all of us Christians - was to focus on the spiritual growth of our members. Because if we’ve got that special connection to God, we will be the light and the city on the hill that will attract others. They’ll copy us and take that light to their own churches and neighborhoods. We won’t need to expand our doors, because we’ll be filling other churches’ doors with Jesus.
That’s what’s been unique about New Creation. People see Jesus in our church. And instead of limiting Him to our building, maybe we should be opening hearts to get Him into all the Christian buildings by modeling a blueprint for having Him there.
That blueprint was drawn thousands of years ago in the first Sanctuary, which is merely an architectural metaphor for the process of breaking through the veil into the Holy of Holies, a tight connection with God. Intentionally or not, we’ve been designing our ministries to help people reach a deeper spirituality. Members are now creating their own spiritual support groups outside church. Because we’ve been asking hard theological questions, having frank discussions about culture and politics, standing up for our beliefs during Covid, making prayer an essential tool in our Board decisions and for our church family. And I think it’s made us stand out from the other churches. That’s why we’ve grown. And why other churches are starting hospitality buffets and Calls to Prayer. They’re trying to replicate what we’ve got. Let’s share that blueprint. We don’t need more churches or bigger churches. We need more Jesus.
People are clearly hungry for more spirituality. Let’s grow and unite Christians.