Summary: More ideas as to what will help the church grow.
INTRO.- ILL.- A Baptist preacher had the habit of going down to the train station every single day to watch the Sunset Limited go by. There was no chore he wouldn’t interrupt to carry out this daily ritual. Members of his church thought he was a bit nuts and they asked him give up this daily habit. He said, “No, I won’t give it up.” He said, “I preach your sermons, teach Sunday School, teach Bible studies, perform your weddings and funerals, run your charities, chair committees for you, etc. I won’t give up seeing that Southern Pacific train every. I love it! IT’S THE ONLY THING AROUND HERE THAT I DON’T HAVE TO PUSH!”
The truth is: most things don’t get done in life without someone doing some pushing. Pushers are not always the most liked people in the world, but it takes “pushers” to get some things accomplished. This holds true for the business world and for the church as well.
ILL.- In his book “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, John Maxwell tells the story of one of the most incredible restorations in American business history. It happened at the Chrysler Corporation in the early 1980’s. Chrysler was in a mess, despite a long history of success. At one point in Chrysler’s history they had captured an incredible 25% of the entire domestic automobile market. By the time the 1970’s rolled around, the Chrysler Corporation was in a steady decline. By 1978 they only had 11% of the market. Things looked bleak. The company was headed toward bankruptcy.
In November 1978, Chrysler brought a new leader to take over the company. His name was Lee Iacocca. Iacocca had just left Ford in 1978 after serving as their president. When he left Ford, the company, under his leadership, was earning record profits of 1.8 billion in each of the last two years.
The task of turning around Chrysler proved to be enormous. Iacocca described the company as having been run like a small grocery store, despite its size. There were no workable financial systems or controls in place, production and supply methods were a mess, products were built poorly, and nearly all of the divisions were run by turf-minded vice presidents who refused to work as a team. Morale was very low throughout the company, customer loyalty was low, and the company continued to lose money.
Iacocca did everything he knew how to turn things around. He replaced 33 of the 35 vice presidents. He brought in the best leaders he could find. He reduced as many expenses as he could. He grudgingly and humbly went before Congress for loan guarantees so that Chrysler would not go bankrupt.
Finally, he reduced his own salary to $1.00 a year. Iacocca brought about a total restoration to the Chrysler Corporation. By 1983, Chrysler was able to pay back its loans. Before he retired, Chrysler had gained 16% of the market, double what it was in the first years he took over.
Lee Iacocca was the pusher who made it happen for Chrysler! Now he’s retired and selling olive oil and margarine on TV commercials.
In nearly every area of life there has to be a “pusher” in order to get some things accomplished. It happens in the home, in business and in the church!
Often, the preacher is that person. I admit that I want to motivate you to action! I want to rev you up! I consider that to be a part of my work as a gospel preacher. I know what the Scripture teaches about many things and church growth is one of them.
I want to motivate you to help make the church grow! Let me motivate you to action!
And here is another reason for my concern about church growth.
ILL.- George Barna in his book, “The Second Coming of the Church”. Barna writes, “Despite the activity emanating from thousands of congregations, the Church in America is losing influence and adherents faster than any other major institution in the nation.” Barna continues, “At the risk of sounding like an alarmist, I believe that the Church in America has no more than five years – perhaps even less- to turn itself around and begin to affect the culture, rather than be affected by it.”
If George Barna is right, we’d better do something and quick! We need to get in gear in regard to reaching the lost for Christ!
I have preached two previous sermons about church growth and what it will take to make the church grow. Here are those points.
1- We must have a growth mentality. We must always be thinking about what we can do to make the church grow.
2- We must have some definite plans in mind. The plan will work if we work the plan. But if we don’t have any plans, nothing will work.