This past weekend marked the 25th anniversary of Community Church. I can hardly believe it has been that long since I stood in the parking lot of the Churchland Country Day School nervously wondering if anyone would come. I had no idea what God in mind.
The question I am often asked is, Why do some churches grow while others don’t? Obviously, there can be many reasons, but there are two common mistakes that keep many churches from being all they can be. I call them the biggest mistakes leaders make.
1. We think too small.
When Community Church started in 1989, I had no idea it would reach thousands of people. The biggest church I’d ever been associated with had less than 200 members. I had no frame of reference for thousands.
So how did we avoid thinking small?
We never defined the potential size of the church by our past experience or by the size of other churches. We defined it by the size of the need God had called us to meet. There were thousands of people around us who needed Jesus, so our goal was in the thousands. Our current senior pastor, Michael Brueseke, is now talking about 25,000 in next decade!
2. We expect results too soon.
It’s exciting to talk about how many people are a part of Community Church these days. The truth is what you see when you attend there is a church that has stayed healthy and stayed on vision for 25 years, reaching 100-150 people per year. There has never been an avalanche of newcomers in a given year. The church has been built on a simple commitment to reach our neighbors with the Gospel–one life at a time–year after year.
If you are really interested in making a difference in your world for Jesus. Don’t ever forget, changing the world is a marathon not a sprint. Refuse to expect small, quick results. Pray and plan for big results over the long haul. Watch God do more than you dare to dream or think or ask!