“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” Hebrews 5:12 (NLT)
In my early years as a pastor, in fact, my first official ‘real’ assignment I literally grew my youth ministry down! We started with some 50 kids and we deconstructed it to just a handful. Many of the children of the church leadership even made it their mission to get others to leave the youth group! Granted when we started, the group was “lukewarm” at best, if there was even a pulse to it at all. Our first activity was a sleep over, and the kids all thought it meant a sleep together. As we battled all night to keep the boys and girls apart we knew we had stepped into a mess. But God loves to turn messes into miracles! Good thing that when I started at that church I had asked the elders to give me four years, and not to judge before then. Those it was challenging, they honored that request! By year four the ministry had grown back plus some, and this time it was on fire, with many student leaders, lots of volunteers, a strong mission thrust and a partnership with other student ministries across the city. At that point we were taking monthly trips to Mexico to help build an orphanage. Then God called Shellie & I on to Australia! Amazingly, from that group came several strong followers of Christ who ultimately become pastors, missionaries and leaders.
Sometimes God has to grow us down before He can grow us up. Often, He has to remove the dead parts. Btw, John 15 calls this pruning! In case you haven’t noticed, we have been in a deconstruction season. Many people left the church during Covid and have not returned. Lots of churches now have a smaller crew, but most who are coming are hungry, and want the truth (the solid meat) of the WORD of God to be preached, taught and passed on to them. We are in an hour when we need the body of Christ to be on fire, to grow up, and become missionaries in their world! It’s time for long term baby Christians to be thrown into the battle, to see that their lives have a purpose beyond their comfort, security and wellbeing. God has called us to be the light and salt of the earth. It is time to stop feeding on the milk of the Word and move on to the meat!
Pray for those you know who have wandered from church and faith over these past 18 months! Pray that the lukewarm folks in your church would catch the fire! Ask God to release a ravenous hunger for His word in your church! Ask God to bless those who have remained faithful, that He would let His favor and His face shine upon them, that He would stir and raise them up as warriors for the Kingdom of God in this hour! Pray that the saltiness and the brightness of the light of Christ would increase in the remnant who are pressing into God your church and have a greater impact on those around them. Ask Him to multiply this across the Church in our city!!!