No one will debate our world is changing. Sensational trials, Supreme Court rulings, governmental abuse, international upheavals, immigration crisis and more define the daily news. This change is incredibly impacting churches.
Over the last 33 years, the US population has increased by 89 million people, from 226 million to 315 million. That is an increase of 39%. At the same time, Sunday School attendance in Southern Baptist churches remained about the same at 4 million people attending weekly. This past year brought depressing news. Attendance dropped approximately 120,000 in Bible study attendance in 2012 from the year before (a 3 % decline).
In spite of all the change, the church is still God’s means of taking the Gospel to a lost world. We know one of the most powerful ways of taking that Good News is through Bible study groups that live and share the Gospel.
We have a challenge before us.
That challenge will require so much more than maintaining the status quo. In fact, for most churches, remaining the same is not even likely. The challenge is for every church to make an impact in their community like never before. The challenge is to make sure every person in our community hears the Gospel. How can that happen? Through the exponential creation of new Bible study groups. Not just one being created here or there…but churches starting groups every year.
The challenge before us will require a big vision.
As I read Scripture, I see God at work in BIG ways. Three thousand were added to the church at Pentecost. Cities were turned upside down because of the power of the Gospel (Acts 17:6). Could that happen today? Absolutely! But it will happen only if we pray for God to give us a BIG vision…one that can only be accomplished in His power.
The challenge before us will require leadership.
God places people in leadership in His churches to accomplish His purposes. But God expects leaders to be strong, wise and diligent. Many times church leaders fail to provide enduring leadership when opposition or obstacles arise. That is when leadership is needed the most. Leaders know the vision. Develop the strategy. Execute the plan. Leaders will be the catalysts for every new group started in your church.
The challenge before us will require work.
Let me just say it. Starting groups is work. But the results are eternal. Isn’t it worth it to see people coming to faith in Christ, people maturing in their faith, people using their gifts in service, and more!
The challenge before us will require God.
God’s work always requires God. God will reveal where to start new groups. God will provide leaders to be enlisted and trained. God will provide!
The Challenge…every church launching new groups every year!