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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN


Let My People Grow!

In regards to church growth, David Womack has made the observation that churches tend to level off their growth at specific plateaus. He noted that these stopping points are: 35, 85, 125, 180, 240, 280, 400, 600, 800, and just under 1200. Now this is supposedly the norm and in thinking about most congregations I would say he is pretty close.

But why is this true? Womack concluded, "'In my opinion, once a church is large enough to care for its own members, pay its own expenses, and establish a favorable image in the community, the congregation often loses momentum, and is lulled into the peaceful slumber of religious passivity."

Could this or has this happened to us? Three things we must do to prevent stagnation are:

1. Realize our work is not done even though we've made progress. God gave Joshua the job of taking all the land of Canaan. For a while the people did well, but after they got enough to live comfortably, they stopped. God said to Joshua, "Thou art old and well stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed" (Joshua 13: 1). There are so many more that need to know about our Lord and be won to Him. We cannot stop because we have enjoyed some success.

2. Constantly involve more people in the work. That is what God had Joshua do. He was told to take the land and "divide it as an inheritance: even among the people" (Joshua 13:8). The church will grow as more and more people are involved in its work. It is a mistake to think that someone can be hired to do the work of all the people.

 3. Let the leaders show enthusiasm. God told Joshua, "Be strong and of good courage; for thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land which I swear unto their fathers to give them" (Joshua 1:6). Leaders of the church today must be strong and courageous. When we have faith in God, in our being His people, then we can lead with enthusiasm. This is the great quality that will keep the church pushing, dreaming, and growing.

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward
Smithville church of Christ