'If you want to see church growth then all you need to do is keep throwing stuff at the wall and see what sticks; and when it does, keep it going!'
The wise words of one 'church growth expert' (well, they'd got a couple of books on the shelf anyway!).
Just mentioned that in passing to a colleague and received the response, 'Well you know what sticks to walls don't you?' Apparently it also covers everything around it well if you have a fan for it to hit ;-)
The 'pearls before swine' vs 'casting our bread on the waters' post has stimulated some interesting (off screen) dialogue and I wondered just how many advocated trying different things until one worked and how they supported this stance in terms of the member's energy and commitment. The reason for asking this is that in my church life I have been around (and engaged in) some really marvellously epic failures. Things which were the pet project of people who were convinced, and convinced others, that whatever it was was necessary and destined for success.
And when it wasn't, rather than learn from their mistakes they'd rush off to start something else that was destined to succeed. I know a few clergy who swing from fad to fad in their desire to find the philosopher's stone that would transmute their congregation's feet of clay into wings of gold. And not only did it never happen but it was never going to because the biggest problem was them and their close-knit circle of supporters (or as one outsider called it, 'groupies').
I know I sound like someone who is out there quenching the Spirit but unless the LORD builds the house, we labour in vain. And yet labour we do until there are none left standing to try the next round of throwing stuff.
I am spiritual really (honest) but as much as I used to struggle with those who wanted to see plans and understand what we were trying to do (it was obvious - build the kingdom) I have to say that I understand what they were on about now.
We have tried a few things here and some have been a success and some haven't. Both winners and losers have needed to be reviewed (frequently) and modified (frequently) and some obviously have a sell by date whilst others clearly haven't really reached cruising altitude or speed yet!
My Dad used to tut, shake his head and mutter, 'Never throw good money after bad,' when things went wrong - perhaps we need to realise that keeping on throwing stuff is not the best policy - true some might succeed - but many will fail and weaken the troops and reduce the reserves.
If Jesus asked those who were to about to throw a stone to think of who they (and the target) were, what they were about to do, and why - Then I guess He'd think the same about those who were about to embark on a new project, church plant, Fresh Expression and the like.
So what's that in your hand and why is it there?
What you going to do with it?
Why are you going to throw it?