Summary: Want to make the congregation grow? Here is the solution to the problem. It is not talent, effort, or programs, it is a lack of consistency.
CONSISTENCY IS HARD WORK
TEXT: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:58
THEME: CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY FOR GROWTH
Every morning I try to get up at 6:00am to go to the gym to work out. I have been doing this in Waynesboro for the last 3.5 years. The key in working out is consistency. You have to get up every day and go a few times a week. Showing up once or twice a week does not help. This simply maintains, but there is no development or lasting results. During my time at the gym, I have seen some various levels of behavior. There are those that get super motivated in working out and severely push themselves to the limits from the very first. These people show up the next day very sore from the workout, but they are motivated so that work hard again. You should see these people. They can workout for hours. They will hit every major muscle in the body. You might see them the next day and they will do it all again even though they can barely walk. By the time next week rounds around, they super worker outers are no where to be found. You see them in town in a few weeks and ask where they have been and they provide some excuses. One week at the gym is not going to make a huge difference in a person’s life. You have to be consistent in working out. It is an every day activity.
Personally, I see consistency as one of the major problems that we are struggling with in this congregation. You might all know better than me, but I have seen a pattern in this congregation. I have only been here for 3.5 years, so I am by no means the expert on this within the congregation. But since I have been year we have hovered around the 170 average morning attendance mark. When I first got here, we never saw the attendance over 170 or in the 150’s. We were always in the 160 reach. Every week with fail. As I have labor with the congregation we have pushed up to the 170 mark a few times. For a while, we were averaging 170 for months. We never dropped below this mark. We even started to push higher where we averaged 176 for the entire year. So as we started to grow to the 180 number in average attendance, we seemed to drop down again. And we started to see the 150 mark more consistently. This really causes people concern in the congregation. Just listening to the comments in the congregation we get worried about the 150’s. 160 and every body says very little, 170 we all walk away happy with ourselves. And 150 we started to think about growing the church.
So I told you all this, this is the pattern that I see in the congregation. So here is what I think about the pattern. In this congregation we are comfortable with 160. We like to grow more, but for the most part we are happy with what we have. Everyone is happy, everyone is content. Now when we get to the 170 mark we walk about feeling good about ourselves. We feel that we are growing and positive stuff is happening in the congregation. Also as we grow to this number we feel some growth pains and some change which we never like. None of us really likes change. I don’t, you don’t either. So the worship service is a little more chaotic, there is some new people in the pews that we do not know. There is just some changes that start to happen. Now when we are in the 150 number we all get concerned. We start to have some meeting on how to grow the congregation. We maybe check up on a few more people and ask where they have been. We start to long around more in the congregation. It changes again in a bad way so we do not like that. In fact, this is what is happening. When we are in the 150 number we start to get busy working more. We make more calls and invite some more people to worship services. We know we need to be more evangelistic, so we are. This causes us to start to grow again because people are concerned about the growth. We start to push the 170 mark and then we relax and feel good about yourselves. We are growing and doing well. So we drop the work and take it easy. We start to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. Just as we do this, the numbers start to decline again.
We are missing in this congregation the number value for growth. We need consistency. We have a great congregation. We have great elders. We have Mitchell and Sheryl with us. We have a great group of deacons. The members are wonderful. We have everything to make a great and growing church. Maybe the only negative is that I am preaching here every week. But fortunately, the talents and the quality of the congregation make up for me the weak link. We have a great congregation. But the only problem is that we lack consistency. We get comfortable too quickly in trying to grow the church and impact souls for Christ.