This morning (Monday) I was handed a little note when I walked into the office. Monday’s are always so much fun in the ministry (sarcasm intended). It was written by a long time member of the church where I serve asking me to take him and his wife’s name off of the church roll. Honestly, they had not been attending in over a year so I was not taken by surprise. However, in his words they just could not support the direction that the leaders (i.e. me) was taking the church.
On any other Monday this might had given me more heartburn than today. But as I read this little “love letter” I pondered the direction of our church.
The day before we had 12 people come forward during our invitation – 6 of which gave their lives to Jesus for the very first time. My Sunday morning at church ended with a young mother of two giving me a hug and telling me, “While I didn’t walk forward during the church service, I just wanted you to know that I gave my life to Jesus today.”
On this particular Sunday we had 900 people in attendance – up from 300 just 3 1/2 years ago.
Two Sunday’s ago we baptized 6 people – ranging from a 79 year old man to a 10 year old boy.
So little “love letters” like this cause me to wonder what exactly is wrong with the direction of our church? It further causes me to ask what is it that some people value in church if it is not people of all ages coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior?
Then I read the following words from Larry Osborne’s book, Sticky Leader…
“Some churches insist on maintaining the same programing, ambiance, and worship style that helped them grow thirty years ago. While this protects the past and keeps their aging members happy, it also guarantees that their nursery will remain empty. And it explains why so many of them end up as feeder churches to newer churches with ministries that match today’s date on the calendar.”
BTW – The church I serve did not even have a nursery 3 years ago and now has 70 plus children 5 and under on campus each week.
So what can we learn?
Remember in ministry their will always be critics. However, in light of criticism we must constantly be leaning into a preferred future. We must always make sure that our directional leadership guides the people of God to share the love of God with people who are far from God. Yes, it is easier to absorb this kind of criticism when you have a little wind of momentum at your back. But remember you will never get the wind of momentum at your back if you allow fear to keep you from making the choices that need to be made in order to move the church forward.