Bro Steve’s Bulletin Insert #4

Dear Stevendale Baptist Church, 


As we look forward to what God is preparing, I want to ask you to look around at the pews next to you. I imagine there are only about 300 empty seats. Before these seats get filled, our church must decide in its heart what it's here for, because we have a major issue to deal with.

Our space is limited.

It's really no big deal to fill a church's pews to capacity. At least, it shouldn't be. A little bit of momentum, a little bit of excitement, one significant revival and the sanctuary is full. The problem lies in the mathematics. There are 60,000 households in the Stevendale area.

If our goal is simply “to grow the church by reaching the lost,” then we will never reach even 1% of our Stevendale area population. The numbers just don't add up.

Imagine, if you will, some fishermen in a boat out on the lake. They have a goal of catching as many fish as they can. The maximum number of fish they can catch, however is limited by the size of their ice chest. Whatever technique they use, whatever part of the lake they fish in, their work is done when their ice chest is full. They stop fishing and go home.

Whether or not we want to admit it, churches operate much like those fishermen, concerned with outreach until the building is full. Then they turn to maintenance. This is why we see so many churches have a heyday and then a long slow decline. They fished abundantly, but their sanctuary filled up, and they stopped fishing.

Our sanctuary is going to be full sooner rather than later. 

When that time comes, we better sure about what we're doing or that same cycle will happen again.

When Jesus gathered his first disciples he gave them both a command and a promise. He commanded them to follow him. He promised to make them fishers of men. If we ever stop being fishers of men, are we still following Jesus?

The problem is not really space. There is no such thing as an ice chest big enough for all the fish in the lake. Building a bigger sanctuary doesn't solve the problem.

Communities are made up of so many different people with different personalities, social classes, languages, skin colors, work schedules, education levels and music preferences that no one church is ever going to be attractive to all of them. And, no church can logistically accommodate the sheer number of people, not even in a football stadium.

The issue is not space, it is purpose. 

Are we trying to grow our church, or are we trying to reach our community? This is a key question. The church that uses outreach to grow itself will grow until satisfied, then the outreach will stop. The church that seeks to reach its community will grow as a consequence, but the outreach never stops.

My hope is that Stevendale Baptist Church will follow Jesus and fish for people in such a way that the abundant catch will lead to scores of daughter churches, mission churches and a movement of churches planting churches. It is a lot of hard work, and we are going to do it together.

As Jesus said, "The harvest is large, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord who gives this harvest to send workers to harvest his crops." Believe it or not, ready or not, God is preparing something special. Let us prepare for a mighty work of God at and through Stevendale Baptist Church.

In Him,
Bro Steve

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