I always tend to be a bit pensive on Mondays. Maybe it’s because Sundays are so full and Mondays are my time to decompress and think about everything that happened over the weekend. Sundays are always full: full of worship, busyness, drama… Yesterday was good, though. No drama (other than the creative ministry team’s skit before the sermon), only the usual type of busyness, and a great time of worship and learning from the Word (check out my husband’s blog to hear about it).
In the not-so-distant past I dreaded Sundays. All the criticism, gossip, snubbing, worry, pressure, stress with just a touch of personal worship forced into the cracks of my day. But things are good now! God has done a miraculous work in my life and the life of our church. He has prevailed and become the focus of our weekly meetings. PTL!
So why am I experiencing “Christian Jealousy” on this new Monday morning? It’s because while things are going really good spiritually, on the outside it looks like our church is dwindling away. It seems like all the churches around us are experiencing earthshaking revivals, record numbers, and unabated enthusiasm from their members. The community is buzzing about the new pastor down the road, how many people were baptized in one service and all the extra chairs being placed in their aisles. It’s not that I am not happy these things are happening to these other churches…I just wish it was happening to us, too. But in a small community like where we are it almost feels like there are not enough people to go around. It’s as if it is mathematically impossible for all the local churches to experience an increase in numbers at the same time. It’s rather discouraging to be on the decline when so many around you are increasing exponentially. (OK…that’s all the math you get today. I’m a word person and will leave the numbers to someone else…)
I know what you’re thinking. We’re all on the same team so it shouldn’t matter which church the people go to as long as they’re going to church. I know but I still wish they’d come to our church. We’ve been through so much and the people who are still here are really good people who have grown by leaps and bounds in their faith. They’ve been working hard to change the reputation of our church by reaching out and helping the needy and hurting in our community, even going above and beyond their own means to meet the need of someone else. They’ve been doing this because it’s what God has called us to do, but when the person being helped by us decides to attend another church instead of ours, it is discouraging.
I realize that it’s not about numbers, but each number does represent a person that needs a touch from God. I’m glad good things are happening in other places and I’m working on getting my jealousy under control. ( = We’re about to kick off another big push to get the word out in the community and do more to get people to come to our church. The folks in our church are excited and we’re praying God adds outward proof of what He’s been doing inwardly for the last six months. So, I guess I’ll get over my bad attitude, be thankful for the work God is doing around us, and try to open my eyes to the spiritual growth we are experiencing.
Have you ever felt like this? How do you help your people find a balance between focusing on numbers and wanting to experience growth? What is the craziest scheme you’ve ever heard of to get people in the doors of the church? I’d love to hear from you so I’ll know I’m not the only one who has experienced Christian jealousy…( = Oh…and just in case you think I’m a horrible PW for what I’ve written I’m including a picture that made me laugh. So, hopefully, you will forgive the bad attitude and enjoy the humor…( =
**NOTE: the picture has been deleted to prevent random spammers from finding this post**