Everybody wants the next big program. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked by a visitor or someone wanting me to candidate at their church, “What kind of _________ programs do you have?”
I guess Willow Creek’s thirty-year study hasn’t really taught us a lot, after all. (Thirty years of programs and Bill Hybels himself said that they weren’t very effective. So much so that he said, “We made a mistake.”)
Yet the early church grew by leaps and bounds, spiritually and numerically, simply by preaching the Word, loving one another in community, and encouraging each Christian to share his or her faith.
The same thing could happen today. We can train our people and disciple our people, teaching them to love and to share.
But it’s easier to come up with (or buy) a program. It’s also faster.
And it looks like you’re doing something.
But in the process, you’re avoiding doing the priorities set out in God’s Word, the very things things the New Testament says make the church the church: teaching, loving, growing, maturing.
Just like with children and plants, this takes time. You have to have a long perspective and a long vision. You also have to have endurance (remember though that endurance is a biblical virtue).
So what will you settle for: the investment of time and emotional and spiritual energy it takes to do God’s work?
Or will you maintain the status quo (and maintain your status and position) by doing what looks good but which you know is really not very effective for the kingdom?