Our church plant is 1½ years old since our first service. Add 6 months to that prior to our first service and that is how long my husband has been working as a church planting pastor. That is how long he has embedded himself into our community to talk to the people, survey them, and try to start a church. A lot has happened in that time.
*The church started and people came!
*We have a permanent worship leader.
*We have a great place that we rent for worship.
*Small groups have formed and people are getting to know and care about each other.
*People are coming to know Jesus and be saved!
This is all good, exciting stuff that has been happening thanks to God’s blessing. But, as is human nature (yes, pastors are human too), it’s not going as we planned. Our biggest question is: Where are all the people?
Where are all the people? A normal Sunday has attendance from 30-55 people and that is exciting. But, we were hoping for about 80 steady people by this point. In a community of 16,000 there have to be people looking for a church, wondering what the whole Jesus thing is about, or thinking they should probably take their kids to church. So, where are they? How do we reach them? How do we get the people who say, “I think I’ll come check you out next week” to actually come?
So, here is what we do. We pray. We try to be faithful to the church planting calling. We try to meet people and get to know them before saying anything about the church. We pray some more. Of course, nothing will happen without God’s blessing. But it sure is hard to not be disappointed some weeks.
How can we overcome that disappointment? Well, as my husband said,
“I’m tired of feeling beat down by those not coming. I need to be honored to lead those who are.”
That’s right. We need a change of perspective. If you are planting a church and the numbers are low, rest assured you are not alone! Change your thinking and praise God for those that come each week, those that come every once and while, and those that say they will think about it. It is hard for people who are new to Jesus to make going to church a priority when it hasn’t ever been a priority before. It will take time. It will happen in God’s time.
So, I guess I am trying to say, don’t be discouraged. Hang in there and look at the joys that are happening in your church, no matter the size, and to God be the glory.