My wife and I ate with a couple last week who had come to our cell four times and seemed to really enjoy it. We were hoping they were excited about our church, so while we were enjoying salad at Olive Garden, I asked them if they felt called to be part of our church. Yet, I also added this phrase, “we only want you here, if God has called you.”
I’ve learned through the school of hard knocks, that not all growth is good growth. Some growth can be downright negative.
I remember one of the early couples at Wellspring who led one of our cell groups. They were friendly, outgoing, and had a wide circle of friends. And they brought lots of peole to church. Yet, they also had a negative side. The husband felt his calling was to be a “board member” (you know the type I’m talking about). And even through I shared the cell vision extensively with him, he never really caught it. He somehow couldn’t see the advantages of cell ministry. The one-hour Sunday morning service was far more appealing to him. Yet, I tried to hold onto this couple for the “growth” of our church. I felt like we needed them to make our church work.
Yet, as I look back, I now realize that THEY WERE STOPPING CHRIST’S WORK IN OUR CHURCH.” They were just not the right fit for our cell church vision.
We put up with them for about 1.5 years, and when they finally did leave, it was a very difficult situation. We lost two cells as a result of their departure. And it all happened one week before Christmas–not a very merry way to celebrate Christ’s birth.
Yet, as I reflect back on this situation, it was the best thing that ever happened to our church. It cleared out the “spirit of control” that hovered over us. We sensed a new life in our midst and CHRIST began to bring new people who were in line with our visionâ€”those who truly embraced our ministry values.
Yes, I want church growth, but I have to be very careful about wanting it too much. God, brings me back to the prayer, “Lord, bring in those who You have called.” Christ is the head of HIS church, and HIS church is a supernatural one. It’s woven together by Christ Himself.
Lord, bring those who You have called.
Have you experienced similar situations? Comments?