Growth is always challenging. We say we want to grow, but we forget there is a reason for the reference to “growing pains.” It’s interesting because as we experience the growth of Song of Life as a community of faith, we are likely experiencing pain in the process. Yes, we are excited when we hear numbers that tell us over the first two months of 2024, about 140 people are coming weekly to worship in person (compare that to a year ago when there were 90 people on average in worship over the first two months of 2023). Yet an increase of nearly 50 people every week in person for worship means we cannot know everyone or even recognize every face anymore. It means that we are no longer at a size when every decision & activity that is happening will be something we are informed of right away, let alone agree with every decision made. Decision-making has to shift, our connections to each other must change, & as the pastor, I have to dramatically change how I function. A church with less than 100 people worshiping together every week requires much different leadership & engagement than a church that has grown by nearly 50% in a little over six months. Talk about an exciting & yet nerve-wracking time for all of us!


Here’s the thing, though. When we look at the Scriptures & consider how Jesus led, & even how the early Church took its growth in stride, we realize that growth doesn’t have to be scary. Jesus of Nazareth, the only perfect person to ever walk the earth, didn’t have a direct relationship with everyone following him. Even the closest people to him, the twelve named male disciples & the women who are often named along with them at significant events like the crucifixion & resurrection, didn’t get to experience every detail of his ministry. Much the same, in the early Church, the apostles quickly realized they couldn’t attend to all the details themselves or else they would never get to the business of shaping the larger vision of the Church. In many ways, I think this is where we are as a local church. We are in this time when people who have been worshiping here for some time are hurt by the changes, not being able to name what it means to not know everyone or have direct access to all the decisions being made. In truth, it is complicated for me as your pastor to not be able to have office hours that are always open for anyone & everyone to drop in for a chat. It’s also hard for me to not know every single person’s individual story & faith journey. Yet, growth requires changes & adjustments to leadership & processes.


As we all continue together on this exciting & yet terrifying journey of growth, I wonder who God is calling us to be & where God is calling us to go. Are we called to be who we have always been, a smaller congregation confined by the size of our worship space? Or are we called to think outside the box & outside the bounds of our current worship space to envision a church that cannot be held by the walls of this world? Are we called to go to Sunday morning worship at the service we have always felt more comfortable in? Or are we called to change it up & worship at a different time & in a different way? Or are we called to go to a Bible study? Or start a new small group altogether? As we experience this growth, we are each challenged to step outside of our comfort zone & engage in something different that allows us to grow even as we reflect on the newness of who we are & where we are going. After all, we serve the God of resurrection & new life, which, if we are honest, are terrifying events that this world cannot contain or claim. May we embrace them as our identity, even as Christ’s identity brings us new life. 

In Christ’s Love,