Sermon Illustrations

The botanical life of most trees is amazing. Often when a tree is damaged and the trunk is cut down, a new shoot will come up out of the stump or roots. As long as the roots are healthy, it will try to live. It will put out new shoots and eventually try to flower and reproduce. It keeps adapting to its circumstances and tries its best to thrive.

Today I brought another kind of tree with me, at least a piece of a tree. This piece of wood that I have today is no longer alive. Somewhere thousands of years ago in Arizona, this tree toppled. It stopped living. Slowly over the years, chemicals began to take the place of the living tissues and this wood became stone. We know it as petrified wood, wood that has become stone.

What was once alive and growing and flexible is now dead and rigid. It can no longer grow. It can no longer reproduce. It cannot bear fruit.

It is like many churches. New churches begin as supple and viable. They grow and reproduce. A new church is a risk-taking church. To begin a new church the members must step out in faith and trust God to bless them. Davis Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going to Church, states: “A growing church is a risk-taking church.” (p. 76).

This kind of church attracts men. A new church needs men. It needs men to help set up and break down after services meeting in a gym or some other type of building. It needs men to help build the new building. A church that needs physical activity draws men like a magnet. Men have a lot to offer start-up churches. Murrow concludes: “Younger churches seem somewhat more successful in attracting and retaining men. This suggests that as a...

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