We are creatures who need routine. We crave normalcy. I suppose we inherit this from the constancy of our Maker and the rhythm of the cosmos He spoke into being. The sun, moon, stars, and planets keep hurtling through space right on schedule in their perfect dance. Gravity seems to be sticking around. The seasons have been doing their thing for quite a long time.
And yet, the world is broken by sin. All of creation is holding its breath, waiting for change.
We need routine and we need change. This is quite the quandary, particularly for us (the Church) who are commissioned to be the agents of change in the world.
On the first day of its existence, the Church grew from 120 people to 3000 (Acts 1:15, 2:41). People with baggage, with brokenness, brought into a community challenged by racial and cultural tension. It was messy. Difficult. Glorious.
When churches fulfill the mission given by Christ in Matthew 28:19-20, they grow. When disciples make disciple-making disciples, the Gospel collides with culture and knocks its axis off kilter, and churches grow. That growth means change.
Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Our churches should be willing to make room for everyone in our communities who are weary and burdened. If everyone comes (that's the goal!), things change. And we have to decide between our longing for stability and our mission to grow.
At The Bridge, we have experienced significant growth over the past few years. In 2011, we were two churches of about 300 people. Now, we are closer to 1000 most Sundays. That isn't Acts 2 growth, but it's growth. And more importantly, it is growth that necessitates a change in systems and communication.
There is an article by Tim Keller called "Leadership and Church Size Dynamics" that has been a significant help to leaders at The Bridge over the past few years. We recommend it to anyone who has experienced a transition in church size or leadership culture (The link is available below.) It has helped us understanding the transition we've experienced, and why certain things have been more challenging than we expected.
Because our identity as Christ followers is rooted in a God who is constant, there is much that cannot change. But because He has called the Church to be a city on a hill, may we reflect the creativity of God in how we communicate His wonders to the world.