Friday, 3 October 2014

The impact of growth

Dee & I have just returned from an inspiring visit to one of the world's most interesting cities, Mumbai. I will do a mail out soon with my thoughts and feelings when I have had time to process them a bit more. I am very exited to say that Pastor Biju Thampy who runs the organisation and the church that we visited will be with us in December. This is a Sunday that you will not want to miss.

This week we have the privilege of having to add an extra service in Newcastle to cope with the number of people joining our church community. I find it humbling that so many new people have joined just in the last nine months. We haven't changed how we do things, we haven't had an extra big evangelistic push or changed our structure in any way that would cause people to come in. I think we have grown in depth and health over the last 2 years that we are beginning to see the fruit of that as a church now.

Whenever growth happens we have to expand our thinking and be flexible in how we do what we do. As I get older and more set in my ways, change does become a bit more difficult, but I also realise that I cannot and will not put my personal comfort above what God is doing in and through our church. Growth will not only bring change, it will bring challenge. Are you prepared for both?

Some areas that growth in church will impact-
   It should impact my set routines. Very practically, as our service times change we have to adjust our Sunday routine.
   It should impact my friendships. I have the opportunity to open up my life to new friends. There are so many people in my life now that I did not know before being part of this church.
   It should impact my serving. In whatever area that we serve, we now have the responsibility to train other people who are new to help us in that role. What happens when we have to go to three then four services? Our existing team will not be able to cope, so we need to recruit, train and disciple.
   It should impact our midweek community. Our Connect Groups will need to expand in numbers to help people not just attend a service but be brought into the life of the church community.
   It should impact my prayer life. New people equals new need and areas of brokenness that we have to trust God with.
   It should impact my level of faith. As we grow so should our faith. Are we believing for the north east to change because we are here?

Pastor Brian Houston has said that we should be a small church with lots of people. Whatever the number of people that attend our church and however we organise structure to help with growth we all still need the same things-
   Relational connection with each other
   Opportunities to serve and contribute to our community
   An environment that facilitates our growth.
   A cause that we are part of.

As we fulfill the mission that Christ has commissioned us with and stay healthy, we will grow across all our campuses and growth involves change. Lets make sure that our hearts are prepared for this and our attitudes are the same as Christ who embraced change and put others' needs before His own in order to bring people into relationship with His Father. (Philippians 2).

This Sunday our services are
Newcastle- 9:30am, 11:30am and 5pm
Teesside- 11am
Newcastle North- joining with Newcastle at 5pm
Mwanza- 11am