Further, my daughter’s coach said “if you compete against yourself you make progress.” His statement applies to basketball but is also applicable to us in the churches of Christ. Each of us must take an occasional assessment of where we are as compared to where we want to be and what we want to accomplish. How can we complain about stagnant growth when we are not challenging ourselves? Did I invite more people to church this month than last month? Did I have more Bible studies with individuals this year than last year? When we don’t challenge ourselves, we often become accustomed to the results of complacency. Did we try to improve our Bible study curriculums to be more structured, well-rounded, and more efficient? Have we challenged ourselves to find new ways to promote the congregation via media or print sources? As the times change, we must also adapt, while at the same time promoting the same Gospel we find in the pages of our New Testament. I am encouraged to know many in the churches of Christ who challenge themselves on an ongoing basis, and are making progress! Many individuals are working for the kingdom. There is a brother in Christ who works in a factory and said he does not feel prepared to lead a Bible study. Yet, that same man brought me three different people in less than 7 days in order to teach the Gospel. It is people like this who are truly challenging themselves. I am encouraged to know many congregations which are growing and are still standing firm behind the pulpit as they denounce denominationalism and preach about unity founded on the Bible alone. I hear so much negativity about the “dying church”, but I must say I’m not seeing it and have an excitement about who we are, where we are, and where we are going!
I will admit I had fallen into the “numbers” watching game. But, after listening to a man who is wise in the game of basketball, I believe I am a little wiser in my assessment of “success” in the church. Remember this: swelling can be a sign of infection. Let’s quit competing and comparing the church to denominational and community churches, and let’s start competing against ourselves to work harder than ever before at teaching the lost the truth.
Written by: Shawn Bogemann