There Has To Be A Plan To Grow. To assume that some churches grow because “They’re in the right place at the right time” and to assume that we aren’t because our location isn’t ideal is a bit like the thinking of the one-talent man in the Lord’s parable (Mt. 25:14-30). His assumption was that he couldn’t do much with what he had. So he made no plans, exerted no efforts, and justified himself in his own eyes for doing nothing.
We are what we plan for. If we are planning to update the facilities, one day soon we will have what we planned for. If we are planning to grow, one day soon our growth will be evident to all.
This city has been planning to grow for decades. The leadership in our city meets regularly to plan for the next phase of growth, and it can hardly be a surprise that we are continuing to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. How long would that be true if the city stopped planning to grow? If we are not building new schools, building new shopping areas and parks, and improving services, then the growth will go elsewhere. If the local church isn’t mapping out strategies to reach out in such an environment, what we will say to the Lord when He returns?
There are congregations in small rural areas with no industry and no growth possibility. Those congregations can’t do much because there isn’t much to work with. They are “one-talent” churches, but they still have a responsibility to invest what was entrusted to them. There are also congregations in large, growing metropolitan areas. In such an environment, the church ought to be growing as well. If it’s not, it can only be because there is no plan to grow.
If there is no market strategy, we should not be surprised to learn that our citizens aren’t aware we exist. If there is no outreach to young professionals, we can’t expect them to line up to get in the doors on Sunday. If we are surrounded by schools but have no plan to take advantage of an outreach opportunity, we can’t anticipate that young mothers will seek us out for Bible class instruction for their children on the Lord’s day.
Do denominational groups make these kinds of plans? Yes, they do. Are they growing? Yes, they are. Is it reasonable to assume that, with the Lord’s desire for His kingdom to grow, we can’t make plans to grow? I often listen to portions of the GardenLine by Randy Lemmon on KTRH AM 740. Callers bring him all sorts of questions about lawns, trees, flowers, and vegetable gardening issues. I noticed that he often refers them to his schedule for fertilization and then follows up with “It’s never too late to do the right thing.” We may be past the spring feeding and the fertilizer ratios needed for that. We may be past the prime summer feeding time with its unique fertilization ratios; but even if NOW is not the optimum time, it’s never too late to get the plan and follow the plan starting NOW. That’s also good advice for the local church.
We may have missed many opportunities to do things that would have initiated growth. It is true that, if we had done those things, then we would be growing today; but it’s not too late to do things now. Sometimes we excuse our immobility by saying that old techniques won’t work today. While that cannot be true (because the Lord cannot be a liar), even if it was–that does not excuse us from doing something else.
If it were up to you to make a plan for church growth, would you do it? We cannot excuse our individual inactivity because we are waiting on others to initiate a plan. It isn’t just our church building that resides in a rapidly growing market–we do, too! I have turnover in my neighborhood all the time. Do I have a personal plan to reach out to new neighbors? I have relationships with business owners, doctors, hair stylists, etc. Do I have a plan to reach them? I NEED to have a plan and work a plan, even if others won’t.
Let’s plan to grow, and then put our desire and our abilities to work!
DC Brown ©2016