I had a great conversation with one of our original core members this morning as he stopped in to say hello. We were reminiscing about the first four years at Grace Community Church. Our anniversary is in September. God has continued to amaze us with His presence. Last Sunday we had a 43% increase in attendance over the same day in July last year. Wow!
I think my friend nailed one of the reasons for our growth. He told me he had a bad experience in his last church and because of that was anxious to begin a new work where drama, tradition, committees, and anything that hindered reaching people for Christ was kept to a minimum. He also told me that before he started he had told his wife, “Honey, we got to make this church work, because if it doesn’t, we don’t have anywhere else to go.”
After a good laugh-out-loud moment, we concluded that he was onto something. Everyone in our original core knew what it was like to feel like an outsider, to wonder if there was something more to the church experience, or to have struggles in life that seemed unbearable. We knew how it felt to hurt and we were ready to build a church for other hurting people or people who wanted more from their church experience; people with whom we could easily identify. We still attract similar people today…and we love them when they come! (When we were planting I called it a “holy discontent”, but then Bill Hybels wrote a book by that same name. Good book too.)
Thank you God for life’s struggles that can be used to make us better and help us reach others that struggle with life.