We have all made them; we’ve all broken them. However, making a resolution is not a bad thing.
I will be sharing some thoughts about making resolutions in an upcoming post, but for now I want to briefly address one resolution I will not make a priority – having a large crowd at church.
Numbers are not a bad thing, either – at least not always. But when it comes to growing a church for numbers’ sake, then numbers are a very bad thing.
I pastor a small church which could benefit from a few more in attendance (there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see a church congregation grow). But on the other hand, numbers don’t paint the whole picture (or is that painting by numbers doesn’t give you the best picture?). Actually, many times small numbers may reflect better than thousands on the roll. How is that possible?
In a commentary on Ezekiel 2:5 I found the following:
“Preachers ought not to look to, to reckon upon hearers, but to listen to the Lord alone.—To preach God’s word compensates even in the case of empty churches.—A full church, therefore, is not always a testimony for the preacher, 2 Tim. 4:3.”*
*John Peter Lange et al., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Ezekiel (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 65.
2 Timothy 4:3 says: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”
So, a large church could be the result of listener-approved sensationalism and flimsy doctrine. Ever been to one of those, or watched one on television?
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. – 2 Timothy 4:2
The last thing I will resolve to do is grow an Oprah-sanctioned, ear-scratching, one-size-fits-all book club. I will preach from the Book, full church or not. That will be my “testimony.” That will be my resolution. Therefore I have “set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed (Isaiah 50:7).”