Pastor's Corner

8 Mar

Mid-Week Challenge

It’s always nice to hear some good news!  Lifeway Research has just released their latest findings on Sunday School and small groups.  Churches with an active Sunday School reports growth in the new year. This growth includes changed lives as well as numerical.  The great thing about this study is that it breaks down the findings by average congregational size.  In each category the numbers are very similar.  Most churches have at least half of their congregation attending a small group and those who have options available have seen measurable growth in the new year.  What’s most exciting is that 97 percent of US Protestant pastors say that the authority of Scripture is foundational to church groups and discipleship strategies.  Churches that are growing are the ones who study the Bible.  Worship together is very important, but the measurable growth appears to be coming from small groups.  

“Small groups and Sunday School classes provide the relational glue that allows a local congregation to be a place where people love one another,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “Groups and relationships that are centered on the Word of God unify a congregation and motivate people to work together on the mission of the church. Churches with few people participating in groups are not in a healthy position to be making more disciples.”

The research also showed that new commitments to Christ were developed through the Sunday School.  On average, 79 percent of new commitments to Christ become active in the life of the church. More than half of Protestant churches (56 percent) retained all new commitments. This indicates a slight improvement since 2008 when 51 percent of churches retained all new commitments, the study showed. 

No matter what the size of the church, it takes a lot of dedicated volunteers to have a healthy Sunday School program.  As growth happens, new volunteers are needed.  This research confirms what we (at West Haven) are doing is also working at other churches. When we think about it, the process is not hard, but the commitment is key.  The work we do for the Lord never returns void!  

I hope you will take some time and look over the report.  As you see what God is doing in our church and those around us, pray about your involvement.  We are having the “good problems” every church wants to have.  We need more space, more workers and more time.  As God leads us, we can do something about space and workers, it’s the time we don’t control.  When is the best time to join the workforce? TODAY! 

Isaiah 55:11 reminds us: “so my word that comes from my mouth will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.”  God is doing great things through the people of our church.  Jesus us reminds us how to pray at a time like this! I hope you will join me! 

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:37-38

Serving the Savior,

Bro. Jonathan

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