(Guest Post by Pastor Matt Dixon)
One of the more difficult aspects of ministry is the “comparison game.” No matter how great things are going in your church, it is tempting to become envious of how God is growing other churches.
You may wonder if you should just send people to the closest megachurch or the healthier church down the block because your work doesn’t matter.
You may be tempted to feel like it is all a competition, and you have to make your church the BEST church in the area.
Church revitalizer, don’t believe the lies. Your work matters, but it doesn’t have to be a competition. Here are 4 reasons why:
There Are Enough People to Go Around.
Reports say that 47% of Americans are members of a local church. This is down from 70% in 1999! That would mean that in my county, there are almost 70,000 people who aren’t church members!
If you’ve been a pastor for long, you know that just because someone says they are a church member, doesn’t mean they are showing up regularly! In fact, 56% of people in one poll said they either seldom or never go to church. 11% go once a month . That means, in my county, there are around 88,000 people who go to church once a month or less. This is in a county with a TON of churches, many of them healthy.
I say all this because we often are tempted to think of church revitalization as a competition between churches. We think that we must be better than the other churches if we are going to convince the Christians in our area to come to our church.
However, with these numbers in mind, it’s clear that instead of focusing on trying to convince the 33% of people who are going to church to come to our church, we should be trying to reach the 67% of people in our area with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Don’t get lost looking at the greener grass of the other churches. There is gospel ministry to be accomplished in your community! What you are doing matters.
Unique Churches Meet Unique Needs.
Your revitalization work matters because every church has a unique personality.
Some churches have great youth programs, some have great worship, some have great theologians, and others have a great missions focus. Every church is unique, including yours.
Every church has giftings, personalities, leaders, vibes, and programs that are going to resonate with different people in different ways. That’s a good thing. Some people would never fit in at the huge thriving church down the road, but they could walk into your church and feel like family. On the other hand, there are some people in your community who would not enjoy your preaching…and that’s okay! You don’t have to be all things to all people, but God will use your unique church to bless and reach a unique group of people.
Your Location Matters.
In my county, we have a few churches across the street from each other, but they are mostly spread out. Sure, some people are willing to drive 45 minutes to an hour to hear their favorite preacher, but let me encourage you that your church has an extremely important mission to the community immediately surrounding your church. God has placed you and that church right where he wants you to be. (Acts 17:26).
You are placed in a strategic location with the opportunity to serve and reach a specific group of people with the gospel better than ANYONE else in the world…don’t waste that opportunity! Imagine how a healthy, thriving church could transform that community’s view of the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Every Dead Church Hurts the Church.
Research shows that 4,500 churches closed in 2019 . Imagine how that looks to the community that the church is in. Imagine what kind of message it sends about the power of the gospel, about the hope of the church, and about the strength of our God!
Every church is worth revitalizing. We need more healthy, biblical churches, not less…now more than ever.
You may never be the biggest church in town, the wealthiest church in town, or the most successful one in town. But you can be faithful to the gospel in your church and be a light to that community. If you are committed to preaching the Word and pursuing church health…no matter what God chooses to do in your congregation, your work matters for eternity!