Kingdom Math
October 27, 2009, 09:32
Filed under: Uncategorized
Carry the two, add the ought , divide by short span of attention

Carry the two, add the ought , divide by short span of attention

If you are one of the Dayspring people who recently were baptized please stop reading now.  Seriously, if your initials are Mike K. [ yes, you] , or any of the new people,  don’t let this bring you down, it is just how it is.    Anyway, for the rest of the Willohroots readers  there is a mathematical problem in new church plants that is manifesting itself at Dayspring,  and is all too common in the Christian world.  I have heard church planters talk about it, and I have read some blogs about this phenomenon,  but it sure gets real when your face gets rubbed in it.

A new church start with a Christian core group of a few established, experienced  disciples, and a larger group of  newbies,  seekers and the walking wounded has a wonderful balance.  There are experienced, stable people who can provide the voice of godly wisdom, and who are financially secure enough to be a back bone of support for the outreach ministries of the church.

In our capitalistic  society, a hug is wonderful,  a shared meal is a delight,  but to impact a life often takes money.  We have had no success with our rich young ruler [Mark 10:17] ministry.   Most of us had to be shown we were lost before we saw we needed a savior. While many unsaved people are quite wealthy, some lost people often need a bit of help.   We don’t want to see someone who is cold and needs a coat, and say “We will pray for you!”.  Dayspring has paid a couple rent, tax, light, and phone  bills, bought some clothes, and generally showed some love to the people God has put in our path.  These small expenditures have proved very effective in getting the attention of un-churched people and illustrating to them the Love of Jesus.

Most of the people to whom  we have reached out have responded very positively to the Gospel message,  our small gifts were enough to get their attention and open their hearts to a life changing method.  Many of these people are stabilizing, and with God’s help overcoming addiction, arrogance  and biblical ignorance,  improving their own lot in life and moving toward a position from which to help others.  This movement may take some time.  Often there are fines to be paid off, amends to be made, new jobs to be found.  The adventure of a Christian life is just beginning for these folk, and it is a joy to observe and share God’s involvement in their lives.

So often, however,  that portion of the church that was the financial backbone , the tithers who have walked with God and who have been blessed with health and jobs and a stable financial base begin to move away.  These new people do not act, or speak,  or dress like the church people of former fellowships.  some have coarse language, no idea of how “church people” act,  and as they are reinvented by God  often have unstable employment, and contribute spottily to the church.   They did not grow up in a pot luck covered dish society.  They bring a bag of chips and joke about the lack of a six-pack.  Many step outside for a smoke, as we must sometimes  pick an addiction to fight.  There are times that the slogan T-shirt is way wrong!  If these people invite family to a church function, there will often  be trouble, as their families are often a wreck,  and  not supportive of one of their own who has gone ‘religious”.

The positive side however outweighs all of the above.  These new Christians have hearts, so recently installed by God as He replaced the Flint hard, cold, sin drenched , damaged , evil hearts that these folk came with,  new hearts that love the Gospel, love a bird song, love the sun up, love the scripture, and love the little church that God used to bring them to Him.   There is an energy, a sense of victory surrounding them that is truly a blessing to behold.  All Christiandom should rejoice, as did the angels in heaven for the salvation of these precious souls!  Now for the problem, it is the Law of Diminishing Financial Return.

Due to poor life style choices of the past, this new group owes Caesar money for fines, and have had a share of employment issues.  There is no way, at the moment, that they can contribute much cash to the cause.  They contribute time, sweat, labor and prayer, but the economics are going to need to wait a while.  This should not be a problem, as you have the established brothers and sisters to back them up , right?   Here in lies the problem.  People who have been “churched”  for years have expectations.  They grow to miss the fellowship of body of like believers.  It is not easy being an elder in every social setting.  Sometimes they want to just be one of the group.  There is a comfort in a body of like-minded believers. It is nice to go to a pot luck knowing there will actually be other cooked products there.  It is refreshing to talk about Charles Stanley, and Billy Graham without someone piping up, “Who is that?  I listened to Joel Olsteen once, He seems like a nice guy!”  Stories of abuse and addiction can be hard to hear.   I didn’t say it was easy.

I have heard the frustration.  A wonderful woman,  a former Christian teacher and a bible student once said to me, “All these changed lives are great, but we need to get back to basics!”  She was quite serious.   Another saint left fellowship saying, “I feel like the oldest person here,  like a dinosaur, I need to be around older people.”  Other stable families visit, say they love the music, like the preaching, but they don’t return.  We do have some scary looking dudes.  I think these people are forgetting a lot.  We are not to be a club.  we are to reach out into the community and make disciples.  Church is not about what you can get out of it, it is what can you put into it!  Bringing in the harvest!  That is why we exist, and all else is but window dressing.   I would rather show the Light to one lost man, than be in the light with one hundred who can see.  We are called to be a life boat, not a community swimming pool!   Here are a couple verses that have given me strength lately, enjoy!

Galatians 2:10

They only asked us to remember the poor— the very thing I also was eager to do.

2 Corinthians 9:8-10 (New American Standard Bible)

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

as it is written,

Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness

6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

“And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became captain over them.” 1 Samuel 22:2

David attracted desperate men, men who were passionate for change, men who longed for a better future. The empowered and the privileged did not gather to him. They had too much to lose. But the distressed, the debtors and the fed-up rallied to him. And under his leadership, this rabble launched a new era in the history of God’s people.

If your heart is at rest with the state of the world, the state of the church, you have little incentive for all-out commitment to Jesus. You will probably just get in the way. But if you are in distress, if you are in debt, if you are bitter in soul, there is a mighty Captain who is not ashamed to have you in his army. He turns no one away, no one who is desperate for change on his terms.

Comment by Ike

you are a blessing, Ike! Thanks again.

Comment by willohroots

For some reason, this post reminded me of one of my newly favorite proverbs, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.” – Proverbs 14:4

Ministry is a messy business my brother, but I know we can do nothing else when we are called to the service. Press on my friend.

Comment by jeofurry

We’ve been going to our church for 20 years. When we first attended there were maybe 50 people on a Sunday morning. It’s where my husband and I got saved, actually, and then both of our boys. In that time we’ve come to know many people very well. 15-20 years is a long time to gather together with the same spiritual family. We have all grown together in that time. Recently, our church has undergone a fairly drastic transformation. We have so many new people that many of them start serving before I even know who they are. Many of them I would consider “baby” Christians. We’ve always been a wonderfully eclectic group of people – young, old, Indian, black, white, tattoos, spiked hair, suits, you name it. It’s actually been a great blessing to be a part of. But, now, as you talked about, we are the elders instead of the “babies.” It is kind of weird thing.

But I think that only becomes a problem when people have only been in church a long time but haven’t grown much spiritually. I’d guess that might account for a lot of any given congregation. If the 10%/80% or 20%/80% rule is true, then I’d say the lower percentage of those actually serving reflects the percentage of those who are significantly growing in their walk with the Lord. Basically, we need to grow up. We need to stop wanting to be served and learn to serve. We need to learn the joy in serving the Lord by serving our brothers and sisters in Christ, even if they may still be a little rough around the edges. After all, we were once, too. I still am, but I’m working on it. Thanks, this has actually been very cathartic for me in regards to a situation I’ve been going through. 🙂

Comment by Dorci

The Church exists for the benefit of those who are not yet it’s members.

(or something like that)

Comment by theoldadam

Even fertile ground must occasionally lie fallow, in order to rebuild itself and regain its strength. Those who have challenges now will come to know the joys of giving, and because of their current weakness, will be in a better position to help those to come. They are root of the church, the ones who will love much for being forgiven much. Church planters are wonderful people, but that’s what they do, and when the excitement wears off and reality sets in they move on.

Church growth is a great thing, but we don’t want to be like the seed which fell on rocky ground. The root must be strong. Growing that strong root takes time and perseverance. It’s not easy and sometimes it’s really scary, but God will provide those things you truly need. Hang in Will.

Comment by Shawn W

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: