Building A Church One Life At A Time
March 24th, 2014
|Dr. Derek Hagland, Dr. Jon Jenkins, |
US Senator Debbie Stabenow
I just got back from Washington D. C. with my friend Dr. Hagland, our college Vice-President. Dr. Hagland was a teenager, in some trouble, when I first met him over two decades ago. He grew up in Gaylord, where God had called me 28 years ago to go and start the Grace Baptist Church. I had the personal joy of leading Bro. Hagland to Christ, when he was 15, shortly after I met him. He eventually surrendered to preach and went to Bible College. After college graduation he came back and joined our staff. He has been on my staff since 1998. He and his precious wife, Amanda have 5 great kids that have all been in Grace Baptist Church their entire lives.
Many churches, sadly, have grown largely by gaining members from other churches. This may increase a churches attendance but in my humble opinion it is not the Biblical method of building a church. The Biblical method of church building is winning people to Christ, maturing them through discipleship and then training them to reach others just like they were reached. When you look across your church auditorium I challenging you to take an honest inventory of how many faces you see that were actually reached and won to Christ by your ministry. Thank God for good folks who are already saved that God may lead to your church, but the Biblical method is still winning people to Christ, maturing them through discipleship and then training them to reach others just like they were reached.
I get asked often about the miraculous story of Grace Baptist Church, of Gaylord, Michigan. God has raised up here in a town of 3,500 people one of America’s largest rural churches. This much I can assure you of – The Blessings of God upon our church honesty have very little to do with me. But this is also true – For almost 3 decades we have been investing our energies in people like Bro. Hagland. The way a church is built is – One Life At A Time.
Make people the number one priority of your church. Jesus must be preeminent in a New Testament Church. When He is lifted up the Scriptures promise that He will draw men to Himself. Slow down and invest your time, energies and resources into people. Sometimes we get so focused on drawing a crowd that we forget the individuals. Last night our service was absolutely packed to our auditoriums capacity. The service ended at about 7:30 PM. I spent nearly 45 minutes talking and fellowshipping with folks in the lobby. Then I went to my office for 3 appointments. My wife and I pulled out of the parking lot at about 9:15 PM. I was tired, but had to go home and get packed to head out of town for two days of preaching in Jennings, Louisiana. My ride came early this morning at about 4:30 AM. My youth Pastor Jeremiah Young ran me to the airport as we had an hour long ride and meeting, making plans for our young people and the upcoming few weeks as we try to reach more people.
No matter how busy each of us may think we are, we must make time for individual people. The Biblical way to Build A Church Is One Person At A Time.