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I read about a Pastor who decided to experiment with changing those sad statistics in his church. He made a list of 12 people who had recently been baptized in their church, and then he and his wife invited them over. Naturally, these new Christians were thrilled to be invited to their Pastor’s house. They were excited about their new connection with the Lord and with His Church.

After supper the Pastor sat down with this group of enthusiastic new Christians --- and he asked them an unexpected question. He asked if they would like for him to predict their futures for the next 2 or 3 years.

They were a little surprised at that offer, but they all said “yes”

--- so, the Pastor made this prediction: “As I look at the 12 of you, I must predict, that … statistically speaking --- in the next 2 or 3 years ---

· 2 of your marriages will break up --- and your feelings of shame will cause you to leave the church

· 3 of you will have conflict with someone in the church and you, also, will leave the church

· 1 of you will experience tragedy and lose faith. You, too will leave the church.

· 2 of you will have some sort of moral failing and will leave the church.

· 2 of the 4 remaining will simply lose interest and drift away from the church … for no obvious reason.

In two or three years, out of this group of 12 …

· … only 2 of you will still be attending church ---

· --- and only 1 of you will still be attending THIS church.

There was dead silence in the room. All these wide-eyed new Christians looked around at each other as if to say, “How could that happen to us?”

Finally, one of them spoke up and asked, “What can we do to change those statistics?”

The pastor was waiting to hear that question. He had his answer ready. He said, “You can get together and as a group decide that you are not going to let anyone go.”

That is exactly what they did.

These strangers --- who had never been together until that gathering at the Pastor’s home --- formed themselves into a Small Group. Week by week they came to really KNOW each other. They supported each other through the tragedies, divorces, conflicts, and moral failings. In 4 years of meeting together, only 1 person left the church.

That small caring group, changed the Statistics from losing 10 out of 12 to losing only 1 out of 12.

Would you like to see that kind of thing happen here? I would!

That is why one of the priorities of our church is Small Groups. What are your priorities this fall? Do you want to GROW as a Christian? Do you want to show LOVE to others? Taking time to meet with a Small Group is one of the best ways to make progress in your Christian life.

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