Thriving In The Middle

Monday. Time to analyze, with the weekend’s successes and failures fresh in the mind. First of all, praise the Lord, our attendance has been steadily growing since our return from the States. We’re still not quite at full strength, but we’re moving in the right direction. Lots of new visitors – just missing quite a few members. Not surprisingly for a college student ministry, a large percentage of our visitors are freshmen – most disconnected, most needy, most open to new things. The busiest years in college here are the sophomore and junior years. Not that we’ve been here long enough to make a trenchant case for this, but it seems that freshman are most open to get involved in the church, but in the coming semesters they will face much more pressure to occupy themselves in other pursuits. For us, this means that we have to make sure that we’re speaking to the needs of these students, not just the needs of the newcomers. Or we’ll soon have a revolving door.

 

Another thing that I especially noticed this weekend – our “middle tier” of members is growing. Meaning, those students that aren’t the most involved, but they’re far from newcomers. They come faithfully, they enjoy the services, and they drop hints that they’re available to do more. Without a doubt, this is the section of our church that demands the most attention. Their involvement is ready to grow or be stunted.

 

My wife is better at this than me. A couple weeks ago, she encouraged L., who’s been coming since this summer, to go talk to a girl who was sitting by herself after the service. This kind of blew L.’s mind. Talk about what? So my wife gave her some hints about asking what she though of the service or the message. Later on L. came back to my wife, equal parts overwhelmed and excited. As soon as L. had sat down, that girl asked her, “How did you know I wanted to talk to someone?” and started spilling her questions about sin and salvation. So L. shared the Gospel with another student for the first time.

 

Then there’s me. There’s four guys in my “top tier.” Have been all year. I guess I’m just in love with the number or something. But there’s three or four guys in the church now that I think would be very interested in being part of that group. This Monday’s personal point to ponder – how can I expect our church to continue to grow in size and influence if my own personal “top tier” isn’t growing in size and influence?

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