I have the privilege of attending a thriving church that is exploding with growth! The pastor is one of the finest preachers to be found anywhere, his wife is a sparkplug of energy and innovation, and each member of the pastoral staff is a gifted, deeply dedicated, contributor to the mission, vision and values of the ministry! Good eh?
But yesterday, walking into the auditorium filled with people for worship, I again was reminded of another big reason WHY the church that I attend is growing… Charles and Barbara, Gary and George, Don, Jim, Albert, Tom, Fred and Brenda, and many, many others, to numerous to mention (all three weekend services – serving all over the campus) that were greeting people and ministering in practical ways to make the church I attend a warm, caring, place of ministry to others… (and here’s a big part of the church’s success… they don’t just do it on Sunday – they do it for the Lord on other days of the week and in other places as well)! Kudos to them… I hold them all in high honor… don’t know what we’d do without them!! They’re as important to the ongoing growth of our church as… You guessed it – The pastor (and he’d tell you that)!
In fact, I read about that very principle and dynamic at work in the “Early Church” this morning in my devotions…
“Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’ And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem.” (Acts 6:1–7 ESV)