As our church continues to grow, anxiety threatens to grow in my heart. But not because of all that might first come to your mind. Like, more people equals more stuff. Of course that’s true, but no, that’s not it. That’s normal. We all have stuff and we want a church of people with stuff – or it’s not a real church. No, anxiety doesn’t knock because more people are knocking.
How about the fact that we are at (or beyond) the stage when building campaigns arrive. Also true, but no (breathe), that’s not where anxiety lurks for me. Our culture doesn’t tilt in the direction of building projects, and I haven’t had a conversation or a sense that would cause a turn in that direction. For as long as we can hang on to the description, “we are the church,” as opposed to “there is the church” will be a great thing.
How about the increasing pressure to do things better and bigger, and with more flash than we have in the past? Now you’re getting warmer, but not quite. There is that pressure. In fact, in some cases, in order to do well what we’ve done well in the past we will have to add more sophistication…like the Kids Registration System for example. The Kids Community has done a timely and masterful job at bringing this much needed improvement online without sacrificing any core values in the process. No, as long as we can keep our grassroots, organic style a continued part of our public conversation, we can set accurate expectations of what we’re about. For it is largely a scrambling to meet the expectations of the growing crowd that lead down the “bigger, better” path.
And there are a host of other things I could list that might stress us out if we aren’t diligent to fend them off. But the one thing that tends to create a growing anxiety in me is the inclination to add staff and put the ownership and leadership of ministry on the backs of “professionals.” Although a staff-centric approach has been proven and effective to support and even perpetuate church growth, it is not the vision God has placed in our heart as we currently understand it. We believe that the growth and impact of the local church on it’s community and it’s capability to care for one another, is dependent instead upon the ownership of Kingdom responsibility remaining squarely upon the shoulders of each member of the family. We believe that the church finds its greatest capacity to expand across and transform our surrounding society, is when individuals hear and respond to Jesus’ call on their life to act, empowered by the Spirit, bringing the hope and healing of Jesus to bear in their spheres of influence.
It is the threat of taking the Kingdom value and ownership away from the Average Joe that creates the greatest threat for anxiety in me. For the sake of the church, and…for me, I suppose…since I am one.