Thursday, May 29, 2008

BREAKOUT

I've been reading a book titled "Breakout Churches" by Thom Rainer, now the president of Lifeway Christian Resources. He and a team of analysts studied different churches that went through times of crises and then times of exponential growth with the same pastor. I've just started reading it, but so far it is pretty remarkable how God works in and through periods of difficulty.

One church in Nashville (The Temple Church) had grown to over 1,000 in attendance before going through a time of crisis where attendance dropped to about 650. The primary issue was over building new facilities in order to be able to reach more people. Many in the church had grown comfortable and uninterested in reaching new people, especially those different from them. When the pastor pressed forward, 300 of the long-time leaders left the church in a short-time. The church had to scale back some ministries for a while because of financial difficulties, but after a period of about 2 years, the church began to grow again. Today the church has over 2,000 in attendance and the number of ministries has nearly doubled. The turn around was not easy, and it came at a high price, but the end result as been remarkable.

What the book is reminding me is that God is faithful and He will build His church as it pleases Him. With humans, things may look hopeless sometimes, but with God, all things are possible! (see Mark 9:23, 10:27)