I ran into a fascinating article a couple of weeks ago about Willow Creek and their admission that the old way that they measured success in church had been inaccurate. What they found was that having lots of programming to attract lots of people didn’t necessarily equate to those people being growing, maturing Christians. In the article, Bill Hybels is quoted as saying the following:
We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between service, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.
This got me to thinking about my own ministry here. God has moved me into a small church in a small town. Recently I was reading a book by Francis Schaeffer called No Little People in which he reminds us all that with God there are no little people and no little places. When I saw this article about Willow Creek I thought about the times in my life that had resulted in the greatest growth in my relationship with Christ. Two things stuck out. One was the times that I was committed to these same spiritual practices. Two was that those times were often highlighted by a mentoring or discipleship type of relationship with other believers. The encouraging word here is that those can be done in any church, anywhere; even without a budget for it. Pray for me as I ponder and work on implementation of these ideas in the life of our church.