It was seven years ago my wife, kids, dog, cat, and I moved to Glace Bay to work towards starting a new church. Recently I was asked, ‘Why do I think our new church start would succeed?’ I live in an area where most churches are in serious decline, many have closed, and many more are closing.
To further the discussion, I was told that all churches want to grow. In fact most Christians want what we are hoping for. So why did I believe our situation would be different from others honestly wanting to see the same thing? After thinking about it I came up with a few ideas.
I am not going to get into a conversation on why some churches are failing, as there are some very obvious reasons, and some no one wants to talk about. Instead, I am going to mention a few simple truths I believe we are seeing growth.
The first, is simply ‘Faith’. In I Corinthians 13:13 it says, ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ Faith is the first needed pillar. Without it, we are left to see things just as they are now, and not as they should be. Through the eyes of ‘Faith’ we see the Kingdom of God at work and advancing. Through ‘Faith’ we see the things we are burdened for actually changing.
A great example of how Faith actually changes our sight is this. Imagine two churches; One which has recently lost many members and only has fifty left. The other, had only twenty members but recently many people had come into the church and they now have fifty. Both churches would appear to have the same potential. However, they really don’t. One would be in a depression and one would have momentum, despite having the same numbers and the same God. The difference revolves around Faith and expectation because they change everything. They change our perspective.
Faith is something we all need to work on, something we need to put on.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. – 1 Thessalonians 5:8
These thoughts have brought me back to ask, ‘What do I have Faith for?’ In short I believe we are in Cape Breton to see churches and ministries started. This brings me to the second reason I believe we are seeing growth. Whether, people want to hear it or not, new churches reach more people. Being new gives us the ability to minister without the baggage of past traditions, mindsets, or even history. New churches reach, attract, and minister to a demographic not attending traditional churches.
Third, this may sound odd but I believe we are growing because we are not just trying to start churches. We can get very caught up in trying to create an organization. Instead our focus should just be loving God and our neighbors. When we build people, God builds the church.
I believe if we follow the example of what Jesus did, something happens. Find ways to serve people and your community. Show grace and mercy. Love. Release people to lead and minister. Speak about Jesus, always.
In Faith, I believe He has invited us to be a part of this great adventure here in Glace Bay. This does not mean all our plans and ideas will succeed. In fact, I don’t even want the stress of having to worry about if everything will turn out. I am just hopeful. Instead, I want to try and just simply live like Jesus and invite some people to take this journey with us.