Somewhere along the line, you all may have heard me say “All it takes to grow a great church is everybody doing what they can do.” Am I just making this up? Is there any Biblical evidence for this saying? You bet. You see I’ve been reading through the Scriptures and my goal is to go from Genesis to Revelation in a year. I was reading through Matthew and I see Jesus calling His disciples, four fishermen named Andy, Pete, Jimmy and Johnny; later on, He calls a hated tax collector named Matt, and then Phil, Bart, Tom, Little Jim, Tad, Simon, and a traitor named Judas. They were a hodge-podge group of guys from different backgrounds and life experiences but all called by Jesus to follow Him. Each had different skills and talents, faults and flaws. God has given us the benefit of seeing their lives, warts and all in the New Testament. Pete was always going off half-cocked, his motto: “Ready, fire, aim.” Jimmy and Johnny – Jesus nicknamed them “the sons of thunder” – I take that to mean they were a bit hot-headed and had been their share of fights. Yet Jesus did something amazing in each of their lives and gave them the responsibility of telling the world about Him and what He did for us on that old rugged cross. Here over 2000 years later, we’re still tasked with that same responsibility. Truly the disciples were successful because of the power of God the Holy Spirit that rested upon them – each of them different, each unique, and each “did what they could do” for the kingdom.
When I look at our family here at Calvary, I see a lot people “doing what they can do.” Working in the kitchen, teaching a Bible Study class, playing an instrument or singing, working in preschool, children or youth ministry on Sunday morning or Wednesday evening. I am so proud of you all for allowing the Savior to take you and use you to further His kingdom. Your love for Jesus and service of Him inspires and encourages me. But I also see a lot of people sitting on the sidelines, not engaged, not committed and certainly not serving in some capacity. Fact is, we need helping reaching this community with the Gospel.
As I write this note, today we buried Laverne Hoffman, one of our long time members who joined Calvary in 1953 with her husband Al. I can tell you as I thought and prayed preparing for her funeral, looking at her membership file and her ministry here, I was broken hearted. I thought “Lord, we’re losing a generation of church members like Laverne. Who’s going to take up her place on the wall? Why don’t people commit to joining Your church now and serve like the Hoffman’s?” Last year and this year, we’ve buried about 10-12 faithful saints of God who finished their race, key people who were involved and faithful as members of Calvary. Many of these folks are of the “World War II” generation. They knew the meaning of commitment, sacrifice and service. Having a “whatever it takes attitude” to win a war. I can tell you from my discussions with many of these folks they are burdened for our future as a church. They wonder who will pick up the torch and continue the war for the souls of men, women, boys and girls.
The good news folks is that Jesus, in that same Gospel of Matthew promised us and His disciples in 16:18 “I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” The fact Jesus took those ordinary men to change the world excites me even though one generation is rapidly passing the baton to the next because God is always faithful. To our older folks, let me encourage you not to lose heart, keep running, keep ministering and working, knowing a generation of people are watching you carefully. Find one of those younger men or women to mentor and teach them how to be servants, people who will sacrifice and fight the good fight of faith to win souls. To our younger folks, let me encourage you to learn from those going before you, go up to one of those saints you see ministering in an area that interests you and ask to work with them, glean from the wisdom God’s given them in serving. The disciples learned from Jesus by hanging out with Him. He invested in them and they invested in being teachable, being mentored by the Master. I had a man ask me if I would mentor him the other day. I’m so excited to be able to invest in this man something for the kingdom’s sake. While I can’t mentor everyone, I can work with him for a while and we’ll see where it leads. There is much to learn and work on together as we are in a relay and the baton is being passed forward to the next generation of warriors for the Lord Jesus Christ, our Commander and Chief. “All it takes to grow a great church is everybody doing what they can do.” What are you doing for Jesus? Something to think about, from my little corner to yours….
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church