Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Growth Through Subtraction

One of the realities of leading a church and preaching God’s Word is that some people will grow uncomfortable and leave.  Motion causes friction, and the same element that brings new people into our church is the same thing that causes frustration and departures in others.

A surprising phenomenon is that churches often grow as much through subtraction as through addition.  Does that sound strange?  Yet, it’s true.  Every time someone leaves PCC, God sends in new people to replace them, and it is usually more than the number who left .  Or when unfit leaders are removed, it opens up opportunities for more qualified people to fill those roles, who then become more fruitful.  Sometimes we think, “Oh no, they can’t leave.  We need them.  They are too important.  But God always comes through by replacing them with new people and greater resources, as long as we remain committed to a Biblical vision.  Yes, it is hurtful and very disappointing when these things happen, but God uses these times to grow our church and develop our resolve as individuals.

Some people just won’t connect with our vision.  No matter how many questions we answer or how clearly we communicate our mission, some people just can’t buy into what we’re doing.  And that’s okay.  These people can be a great asset in another place.  And I’m not afraid to encourage them to find another church where they might be a better fit.  By doing so, I free them up to bless another church, while at the same time freeing up some space in our own church to better minister to the people God has brought us. 

You see, the same mission and vision that repels some is the very thing that attracts others.  And the people that our vision attracts (or God sends us) will be those who really WANT to be here.  As a result, they will be highly motivated and will infuse this church with their gifts and talents.  This is how a church grows through subtraction.

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