Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Growing Time

Edgerton Wesleyan Church is an interesting case study. When I came to the church to simply "fill in" a few Sundays here and there in the fall of 2002, the worship attendance was in the mid-50's. The church had been in decline for a number of years. A rural church located near declining communities, there wasn't a lot of hope for growth. I filled in for a couple of months and then signed on as the interim pastor through the spring of 2003. Then God made it clear He wanted my family and I to stay. When I met with the church board to express my concerns about whether or not they'd be willing to make the changes necessary to their survival, one board member summed it up: "If we don't change, we'll be closed in five years." What an exciting prospect!

Our worship attendance is regularly over 100 these days, and in the month of August we averaged 128. We've set two all-time attendance records in the church's history this year: Easter @ 181, and Vacation Bible School program @ 168.

What has been the secret? I'll simply list what I think have been the key ingredients and if you are interested in commenting, we can flesh them out. Here goes:

1. A commitment to fulfilling the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment.

2. A missional approach to ministry.

3. A willingness to shut things down that don't work and start new.

4. Standing firm in the face of opposition to #3.

5. Moving outside our comfort zone.

6. Getting ministry into the hands of the people instead of having the pastor do it all.

7. Relationship-building.

These are some of our key moves. God has been faithful as we've trusted Him to lead us each step of the way.


  1. Thanks for the comment! Yeah, #3 is a good one, but it does come with a cost at times. But the short-term pain is worth it, no matter how deep the hurt at the time.