Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Importance of Sticking With It

A funny thing happened to our church people this past Sunday. They showed up. All of them. At the same time. There was no special event Well, we did have a carry-in dinner, and food does have a way of bringing out even the most obstinate, backslidden Baptist. But aside from food, there were no other enticements. Things like that don't happen to often in the average church of any denomination.
When I looked out upon the congregation the two thoughts immediately occurred to me: first, that we actually have a decent number of people who attend our church. I can't recall the last time I had an opportunity to see all of them at once, so I was impressed with this revelation. Second, I was reminded of the importance of not quitting.
All churches go through slow periods and droughts. Things happen that slow down church life. People become ill, people die, people move, people fall into sin and away from the Lord. All these problems converge to discourage members and pastors alike. I can testify to the fact. Last December 12th, our church roof collapsed and much of our enthusiasm with it. We were stuck in the adult classroom for our church services while the insurance claims adjuster and various contractors sparred, estimated and debated. There was a time when we just didn't know if the building - indeed the whole ministry - could be saved.
But as the saying goes, what a difference a year makes. More to the point, what a difference the Lord makes. We had the largest regular service attendance yet this past Sunday with only one new visitor; someone who, oddly enough, came in part because he has been tracking us through this blog. If he is reading this post, this is my opportunity to tell him how much I appreciate him both as a person and for his returning to church. Christmas came early for me when he walked in.
All of this goes to prove a couple of points. For one, you never can tell what God will use to bring someone to church or to Himself. You just never know. And for another, the Scripture is proven again that in due season we will reap if we just hang in there. Don't quit. At some point, all the work will come together. Somewhere down the road, the people show up and we get to discover that all the effort was not wasted.
So here is some encouragement to anyone reading this who is ready to throw in the towel. Don't. Just hang in there because your Sunday is coming too.