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1245 Heights Boulevard, 77008 | 713-862-8883

Grace United Methodist Church

Kate's Column: November 11, 2021

Growing churches make new disciples and care for the disciples they have.  However, the key is they do it in that order.  So far, we’ve talked about two attitude shifts that help churches thrive.  To be a healthy growing community, a church must move from talking about what they can’t do to talking about what they can; and they must move from decision making based on preference to decision making based on principles. 

One key principle for any healthy church is to reach new people and connect them to Christ.  They are in the business of making disciples because where disciples are made lives are changed.  That’s different from making members so we can pay our bills or recruiting new volunteers to keep our favorite programs going.  Both of those latter goals are really about serving the needs of the church.   

Ministry should never be an “us/them” dynamic.  Where ministry is “us vs them” a congregation becomes insular and selfish.  Where ministry is “us saving them” a congregation becomes paternalistic and self-righteous.  Even seeing ministry as “us and them” leads to staff and leader burnout from trying to make everyone happy while working on multiple fronts. 

Galatians 3 reminds us: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  There isn’t an us or a them in the kingdom of God.  There are only people, all of whom God loves and calls into redemption. 

Healthy churches understand nothing matters except the work of redemption and that where that work is the focus incredible things happen.  We don’t grow by building the coolest youth group so that people will be saved; yet where a real encounter with a salvific God is offered, young people want to be.  We don’t grow by hosting events so that people will have fun and want to come back; yet where people have developed deep relationships, they will want to spend time together.  We don’t grow by engaging in community service hoping people will be impressed or grateful; yet where the people have a chance to genuinely love their neighbors, they experience the fulfillment of being part of something larger than themselves and the joy of serving. 

One of the ironies of the Kingdom is that you don’t grow by trying to grow; you grow by offering people the treasure you have found—by giving Jesus. 

As we consider the future of Grace, the work of making disciples must be central.  In your reading over the Future with Hope Report, consider if you believe it puts Jesus at the center of our life and creates ways for us to focus on making disciples. 

Grace United Methodist Church
1245 Heights Blvd
Houston, TX 77008
Office Hours
Monday - Friday 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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