Oct 5, 2011

No Regrets. No What If's. I'm All In!!!

The Little Church on the Prairie Sanctuary. Ain't she pretty!!!
Not one of the churches that the Apostle Paul established are still around.

Jesus promised, "Upon this rock (that Jesus is the Son of God) I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail."

The church of Jesus Christ prevails.

The church of Jesus Christ is eternal.

However, all local churches, like all institutions have a life-cycle.

This is a hard truth for most folks in local churches to swallow. Most in the local church assume that their church will last forever.

All churches, like all institutions have a life-cycle.

  • The excitement and the thrill of a life-giving, destiny-shaping vision
  • The birthing of a local congregation where the vision begins to take shape
  • The excitement and chaos of seeing the church growing in numbers and in influence
  • And then at some point, it hits a peek. And then it plateaus.
This is the crucial point in the life of the church. Unless the church learns how to rebirth itself and go through a transformation, that plateau eventually turns into a downward cycle where people get weary and people grow old. 

At any stage in this down-ward cycle, the church can be transformed and renewed. But if it remains the same, the inevitability of the future is certain. It will die.

Death is not a terrible thing. It's just a thing. There are ways for churches to die with grace and dignity, and more importantly with a lasting legacy. 

Helping churches die graciously and with dignity will be an important ministry for many in mainline denominations.

Where is your church in the life-cycle of congregations?

We at the Little Church on the Prairie face an exciting time.

It's no secret that we have been on the downward cycle of institutional life. 

However, God's not done with us yet. There is still life in us.

We have been given the gift of time...albeit, not a long time, but we've got a window of a couple of years where God can begin anew.

And that's what it's going to take, a rebirth of a sort. 

I am excited about the challenge of leading our congregation through this time. What I promise you and God is that I will give you my absolute best in leading this congregation. 

If God determines that the Little Church on the Prairie has served its purpose, then praise be to God.

But until that is made crystal clear, I will lead the Little Church on the Prairie to go all in in discovering ways to get healthier and grow, so that we can begin a new cycle of church life here.

Two years from now, we will either be at the beginning stages of seeing God do new and wondrous things, or we will be at the late stages of seeing a congregation grow in grace and leaving its God-honoring legacy.

Either way, God will be glorified. 

Either way, I pray that we will have so lived our lives together that for each and every one of us, there are no regrets, no what if's, no we should have or we could have. Because we will have given God our all.

No regrets.

No what if's.

I'm all in folks!

1 comment:

Debbie Billingsley said...

James! I am so glad that God brought you to LCOP.Whether to help us die gracefully or turn a new leaf at least you are not afraid to be here to oversee it! Praise be to God for your commitment.