This week I’m exploring the idea of influence. A week ago I had a great conversation with a business leader in our community. He loves Jesus, but doesn’t attend our church. As part of our conversation he awkwardly asked me , “Soooo, Um, Uh, is your church getting bigger?” Translation – “How are things going?”
Once upon a time that question would have stung. God did a miraculous work in my heart a few years ago and has removed the sting I once felt in that kind of question. I was able to honestly say to my friend, “No! Our church is actually no bigger than we were when you and I talked a few years ago. But I can say that we’ve planted a new church, we’re helping to re-launch another church on the west side of our city, and we’re praying about launching a ministry for youth in our city. God has chosen to give us great health, and use us in fascinating ways, but I don’t think we’re that much bigger than we were when we spoke last.”
Think about it this way. God has used Billy Graham in mighty ways for decades. Billy, in his prime, stood at over six feet tall. God has also, in recent years, used Nick Vujicic. Nick was born into a home who loved Jesus Christ, and yet Nick was born with the terrifying challenge of having no arms or legs. He sits no taller than 3 feet and yet God has used him in unimaginable to ways to bring people to faith in Jesus, and to encourage many broken-hearted people. Imagine if we were to ask Nick, “Hey Nick, have you grown lately?” as our way of finding out how things were going with his life and mission. What if we were to assume, “If Nick were only as tall as Billy Graham, then he’d be really be influential, he’d really be doing what God wants him to do with his life.” Of course we’d never ask or think such a thing! But we do this kind of thing all of the time when it comes to churches. We actually think the size of the church equals the measure of its influence. In spite of the fact that over 90% of the churches in the world, who are doing the heavy lifting of making disciples for Jesus, are no bigger than 75 people – we think size matters. Influence, especially kingdom influence, simply isn’t related to size. If you know a pastor of a small church, and you think this post is on to something, please share it with them to encourage them.