Summary: A sermon about evangelism.
“From the Microscope to the Telescope”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN eastridgeumc.org
In a seminar on Church Growth, the secret to growing a church was explained as revolving around two very important things.
Can you guess what those two things would be?
Clean bathrooms and plenty of parking spaces.
In India and rural China, however, where the Church is growing fastest, among the most noticeable missing ingredients are clean toilets and parking spaces.
So this theory must be flawed.
One publication claimed that having a new digital sign on the front lawn was the secret to 100 percent of a church’s growth.
Do you think that people will say, “Hey, that’s a nice sign. And check out the parking lot. Wow, I want to be a Christian too!?”
Don’t get me wrong.
I think it’s good to have clean bathrooms and lots of parking spaces.
Signs are important too, although digital might be going a bit too far.
Certainly the most important thing when we are talking about making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is Jesus Christ Himself, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believers who are part of the community of faith!
Someone has said, “A church is only as good as her disciples.”
And, “Healthy disciples make up a healthy church.”
As a matter of fact, healthy disciples reproduce other healthy disciples.
And that reproduction or new life could be said to begin at a molecular level.
All of us, for instance, began life as a zygote.
A zygote is a cell formed by the union of a male seed and a female egg.
All life begins at this level…
…from the micro to the macro, from the simple to the complex.
It’s the same in the Kingdom of Heaven.
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”
The point is crystal clear.
The Kingdom of heaven starts from the smallest beginnings, but no one knows where it will end.
The possibilities are endless!!!
If the Church is rooted in Christ and keeps that vision and spirit with increasing intensity and maturity, that Church can truly make a huge impact in our world and in the community which surrounds it.
If a Church doesn’t much grow in its spiritual journey, in its love for Christ, and focuses inward…
…well, there might not be much that will happen.
It’s easy to “get off track” and try and compete with the world.
For instance, the Church cannot compete with Hollywood when it comes to entertainment.
The best preachers cannot out-entertain Jay Leno and David Letterman.
But we can bring the Good News to a lost world.
The best worship band can’t put on a better show than the Rolling Stones or Kiss…
…but we can make a joyful noise to the Lord…
…which lifts the spirits of people and brings glory to God!
Our buildings need not be as nice as the ones corporate America is constructing, but then again, if they were would we not be wasting our money on things which perish rather than on people who are hungry, homeless, lost and hurting?
You and I, as the Church of Jesus Christ have something that Hollywood and the all the Fortune 500 companies do not have—we have a message that will truly transform people.
We have, through Jesus Christ, the answer to all the problems of humankind.
We need not try and compete with the world.
What we need do is focus on growing that mustard seed!!!
A group of young persons were having a discussion about how the Gospel might spread.
They talked about t-v, the internet, maybe even clean bathrooms and big parking lots…
Then a girl from Africa spoke up: “When we want to take Christianity to one of our villages,” she said, “we don’t send them web pages or books.
We take a Christian family and send them to live in the village, and they make the village Christian by living there.”
Are we making this community, this village, so to speak “Christian” by living here?
I think we are on our way!!!
Your continued support of our monthly servant evangelism activities is going a long way in helping this community perk up and say, “Now there is a community of faith which is ‘being’ the Body of Christ. They aren’t just playing church, they are ‘being’ Church!!!”
Do you know that East Ridge United Methodist Church is ranked in the top 2% of churches in this Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church for growth?