I have seen many young men and women grow up in my years here in Dripping Springs. Some are still here as adults with their children. It is a pleasant but expected process, for if that physical growth does not take place we know some illness is preventing their growth.
We have seen this community grow, and that is also natural. When we first began our work here, nineteen years ago, there was not even one traffic light. The main intersection was controlled by a stop sign! But if Dripping Springs had not grown, people would have wanted to know why.
Looking at the numbers on the board, this congregation is growing also, and this is a natural thing. The same elements that bring about community growth have motivated some of our growth. Geographical growth takes place because people need a suitable home for their family, and many believe Dripping Springs can provide that home.
A church grows for some—though not all—of the same reasons. Few people want to be part of a lethargic, dying church any more than they want to live in a community that refuses to provide the needs of the people. If there were no roads, electricity or other utilities in our area, even being near Austin would not be enough to generate growth.
What will it take for us to grow? It takes more than magic, nor does it happen by new residents moving in. It will take all of the following for this church to grow as it should:
Every Member Growing
Just as a human body includes many organs, the body of Christ consists of many individuals who take on the tasks that produce a growing and active church. This growth takes place when each member becomes more proficient in his/her knowledge of the “sincere milk of the word,” 1 Peter 2:1-2.
Are you growing? Are you more knowledgeable of God’s word? Is your commitment deeper? When an organ in our physical body ceases to function, we are “sick.” The “doctor” of church problems is God’s Word, and when each Christian begins to “take root downward” the overall body of the congregation will begin to “bear fruit upward,” Isaiah 37:31.
Leaders Who Lead
Pointing the way and giving directions are important, but leaders in a local congregation hoping to grow will have to lead in the activities of the congregation. Making sure the bills are paid, the grass mowed, the curriculum is sound and the air conditioner is set properly will not be enough. Leaders must lead in the work in which the church is involved …evangelism, Bible study, edifying the saints, converting the lost and visiting the sick. When all is said and done, a church leader (elders, deacons, teachers, preachers…) must be a faithful and devoted Christian, doing the same tasks every faithful, and devoted Christian must do, leading in the way of righteousness. Only then will anyone follow them.
Christians Caring About Lost
Our task is much the same as that of Jesus, seeking and saving the lost, Luke 19:10. He gave His life for the lost, Matthew 20:28, and gave us the formula for their salvation.
It is not true growth merely to have Christians “place membership.”
We are glad to have new members, but for the church to grow, we must also be reaching out to those who have never “obeyed the gospel,” Romans 10:16. It is only then that we snatch men and women from the hand of Satan himself.
Bible Preaching and Teaching
Note: Bible preaching helps us all to know and understand God’s Word and live by it. We are blessed to have a fine young Gospel preacher who does just that: preach the Gospel. That kind of preaching makes people want to study, want to know God’s will for them, want to do God’s will and to save others.
We are in an ideal situation and time for growing here in Dripping Springs,
and we now need to take the next step in genuine growth.
Members who give as prospered
While money is not the answer to all problems, it does take money to accomplish great things. We are now able to do things we could not do ten years ago because our members have dedicated themselves to a generosity that reflects their love for the Lord and for the lost. Much good is being done in many places because you are making it possible.
Christians Who Love Each Other
Jesus told His early disciples, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another,” John 13:34-35.
When Christians love one another, they help each other bear their burdens, strengthen and provoke one another to be more like Jesus.
We are on the rrink of real growth. Opportunities are there, but if we are to grow as we should it will take the best effort of all of us.
By Carl B. Garner
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