Who among us doesn’t want our New McKendree Church family to grow? I know I do! But, what exactly constitutes growth? Is growth the quantitative measurements of church membership and worship attendance, or is growth a more qualitative, less tangible function of an ever-deepening faith?
According to Acts 2, it’s both. Referring to the growth of the first Christian Church, Luke records that “All the believers [meaning, all the current members of the church family] devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” In other words, those who were already members of the church family submitted to biblical instruction, invested in each other’s lives through intentional fellowship, and made worshiping together a priority. That, in my mind, is the qualitative, less tangible side of church growth. And the result: “Each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.” Put differently, the believers focused on growing their faith and the Lord took care of growing the numbers. When you think about it, it’s a pretty simple, time tested recipe for how to grow a church family.
So how’s this relate to our New McKendree church family? We’re blessed with two campuses and three weekly worship experiences, each possessing its own unique personality and style. While both our High Street Saturday evening and Sunday morning services have grown numerically over the past 12 months, our South Campus Sunday service has shown a slight decrease. Granted, worship attendance isn’t the ultimate goal, but it is a good indicator that we’re falling short on our “devoted to teaching, and to fellowship, and to worship” side of the church growth equation.
It’s with that reality in mind that during our July 14th worship service, I informed our South Campus worshipers of specific ways we’re going to evolve the nurture, fellowship, worship aspects of our South Campus Sunday worship experience. First, for to happen, the South Campus Sunday schedule will be moved up by 15 minutes (see schedule below). Beginning on Sunday, August 18th, we’ll launch a children’s Sunday school class led by Jenny Shelton. While Jenny has agreed to get this much needed class up and running, she can’t do it alone. For our new children’s Sunday school class to flourish, we need parents encouraging their kid’s participation as well as committed adults to assist in the classroom. And, while the kids are in Sunday school, parents are free to attend one of our four adult Sunday school classes.
Another South Campus Sunday enhancement will be our 10:00 to 10:30 fellowship time in the worship area. The intent is for this to be an informal time for church family members to get to know one another, engage in chit-chat, and enjoy a cup of coffee and a donut. In other words, a time for good ole fashioned fellowship before our 10:30 worship begins.
As I put this South Campus “master growth plan” in writing I’m amazed at just how simple it sounds. But then again, why be amazed? After all, there was nothing complicated about the original Christian church’s recipe for growth. Our church ancestors simply devoted themselves to growing in their faith, growing in their fellowship with one another, and growing through their authentic worship. As for growing in numbers, the Lord took care of that part of the growth equation. Why should it be any different for us?
Your Brother in Christ,
South Campus Sunday Schedule
Beginning August 18th
9 to 10 ~ Adult Sunday School/Children’s Sunday School
10 to 10:30 ~ Fellowship in the Sanctuary
10:30 to 11:30 ~ Worship Service