DON’T DESPISE THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS
BY JACK CUNNINGHAM
Zechariah 4:10 “For who hath despised the day of small things?”
As I minister throughout North America I am regularly approached by pastors of small churches who ask “How do I make my church grow?” This is a noble and right question. All pastors should be concerned about the growth of the church they are leading.
Many pastors and leaders are concerned because there is a feeling, possibly even a common attitude, among the ministry that the size of their congregation is the measurement by which their success is gauged. Leaders of small membership churches also seem to feel that because they are not growing rapidly that something must be wrong with them personally and/or something is lacking in their leadership skills.
There is not a large church in the world that started out as a large church (unless the pastor was very good at proselytizing). Every large United Pentecostal Church started as a small church and perhaps remained small for some time. All large churches went through the very same stages your church is presently going through.
The same applies in the business arena. Many of history’s great successes started out small, but didn’t give up. Consider this:
During its first year of business, the Coca-Cola Company sold only 400 Cokes.
Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book, And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers. The 28th publisher sold six million copies of the book.
Chicken Soup for the Soul, was turned down by 33 publishers. The 34th publisher sold over seven million copies in twenty languages.
Alex Haley got a rejection letter once a week for four years as a budding writer. Alex was ready to give up on the book Roots and himself. After nine years on the project he felt inadequate to the task.
Winston Churchill was unable to gain admittance to the prestigious Oxford or Cambridge universities because he “was weak in the classics.”
A growing church is the result of doing right things at the right time. Given time, and following correct growth-producing procedures, your church will grow. One church growth speaker and writer said, “Church growth is the result of the following maneuvers, techniques and commitments.”
(1) Perseverance–Don’t quit. Hang in there. Encourage yourself in the Lord.
(2) Hard work–Plan your work and work your plan. Do something everyday that will make your church grow.
(3) Prayer–Where there is much prayer there is much power. Where there is little prayer there is little power. Where there is no prayer there is no power.
(4) Evangelism–The purpose of the church is the “seeking and saving” of lost humanity. Everything the church is and does should be centered on evangelism.
(5) Follow-up–Church growth is retention. The most important evangelism statistic to monitor m your church is “How many converts are you keeping?”
Too often pastors of small churches allow the devil to make them feel inadequate, and that they will never have the ability to lead their church to growth. Remember, the devil is a liar and the father of all lies. His job is to make you feel like you cannot grow your church.
Also, sad to say, fellow ministers can make you feel like a failure. Though the Scripture admonishes us that it is unwise to compare ourselves by ourselves, we still do it. You are being motivated by a false assumption when you think your church should grow at the same rate, the same time frame, using the same programs and ministries as another church. Every church, ministry, culture and city are different. What works in one area may or may not work in your city. The amount of time it takes to reach a growth stride in one city, with one culture, may not work in your city and with the culture you are working with.
A sad reality is when a leader feels that his church is not growing because of his leadership, the first thing that comes to mind is to leave the church. I have, on numerous occasions, encouraged pastors to stay with the church and to be patient for the harvest. If you are following growth producing principles, practicing good work ethics, and if you are bathing your work in prayer and fasting, be patient. .. the growth will come.
Thomas Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are men who didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Recently, I read an article written by a pastor of a small membership church. In the article, he shared five lessons he learned:
I tried to do too much alone.
I was impatient for the harvest.
I allowed myself to get negative and focus on the failures.
I ignored prayer and the comfort and guidance of the Spirit.
I didn’t pay enough attention to visitation and follow-up.
While you are a small church, take full advantage of every opportunity to build the church on a right foundation. Build it on truth, righteousness, holiness and Biblical standards. Teach your people to worship, to love the Word of God, to build an intimate relationship with the Lord and to appreciate the ministry. Lead them in giving to the work of God, in prayer and in fasting.
Don’t despise the day of small beginnings.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY CHURCH GROWTH 2000. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.