I came of ministerial age when the “Church Growth Movement” was all the rage. We would go to these huge conferences with incredible speakers and be inspired and invigorated to go out “there” and grow our church through the following “can’t miss” methods – bus ministry, day care ministry, Christian school ministry, door-to-door evangelism ministry, worship ministry, random acts of kindness ministry…
Well, you get the idea. Basically we were told to do just what the all-star experts did, using their packaged program, and we’d have a large church.
Yeah, that worked well.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying those conferences were a complete waste of time. It’s always beneficial to hear someone’s story, to learn how God is working through their situation and using them to build the kingdom.
But I reached the point – and I doubt I’m the only one – when I gave up going. Either I had tried the ideas and failed, or I wasn’t doing the ideas at all. My thinking was “Why go? I’m already not doing everything from the last conference?”
Jaded, I know.
That didn’t mean I stopped learning. I went to seminary and earned a Masters. I still read and talked with other pastors. I just didn’t do conferences.
What’s different? I’m older. I’m better able to discern between what’s transferable, what’s theoretical, what’s situational, and what’s garbage. I also want to be inspired.
I’m blessed to pastor a small church that wants to grow – to love our community and our families, and frankly, to survive! So I’m going to this conference hoping to be inspired by how other small churches are thriving and maybe pick up a few ideas to bring home to inspire us all.
I’ll let you know – probably on Sunday morning, but also in this space, too!