Have you noticed that UBC is growing? Not only are we expanding the opportunities through our faith community, but also the number of people participating in these initiatives are growing. From the expansion of the Family Tree Café to the creation of Connect Groups, and from the music scholarship program to the unique opportunities for teenagers, we are a growing congregation.
We would not be going out on a limb by stating that most churches want to grow. We want to see more adults participating in spiritual formation, children playing and learning together, teens bringing their friends to youth initiatives, people engaging Sunday morning worship, and the community thriving.
But could we also believe that churches can prevent growth without really noticing it?
Growth brings thoughts of unfamiliarity, such as “Who are these people? What kind of people are they? Why are there kids acting that way? Why won’t this teen get off his phone? What are they wearing? I don’t know about these new opportunities, so I’ll depend on others to participate.”
Growth brings thoughts of uncertainty, such as “What’s going to happen to my group of friends? I don’t know I want us to grow beyond those that I know by name. What will this require of me? What’s the motivation behind this? I can’t see what is going to happen next.”
Growth brings thoughts of resistance, such as “Why did we change this? This isn’t how we have done things before! What’s in this for me? How am I supposed to get on board with these new people that are so different from me? In the past when we tried this, it was only met with failure and disappointment. I can’t get on board with this until I see the results.”
Growth brings thoughts of immovability, such as “Where do I fit into all of this? What’s going to happen next? Is it even possible to have quality community when I don’t know half the people here?”
So how do we get out of our own way to see the church grow to its full potential? The answers are often simple and different for each person. So let me offer a few solutions:
· Embrace the uniqueness of each UBC member and of the new faces that are participating in UBC initiatives
· Choose to embrace each person with a compassion that comes from God alone.
· Pour out hospitality abundantly on each other and on the new faces at UBC. Don’t assume that someone else will speak to this person and show care. Choose to do it yourself and invite others along the way with you.
· Find new ways to care for our guests. Invite them out to lunch after worship or coffee during the week.
· Learn others stories and share your story.
· Show grace through the growing pains of scheduling snafus and things out of place.
· Ask questions instead of assuming.
· Turn to wonder instead of criticism and cynicism.
· Turn to prayer instead of frustration.
· Turn to hope instead of dissolution.
· Find a new place in all of this. Discover new ways to serve the church and others.
· Contribute your unique giftedness, strengths, and passions to God through UBC.
· Allow yourself to be excited about new possibilities of what God is doing.
· Embrace the unfamiliarity of what is next with faith and confidence in God.
God is working within the faith community of University Baptist Church. You are an integral part of what’s happening now and what is next.