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Breaking 100

Quite often there are church growth seminars on how to break the 100 or 200 barrier in attendance. In the past, I have attended church growth conferences where ideas and concepts are shared that have helped other pastors attain certain congregational size goals. One of the questions which all pastors ask when they meet each other is: “How’s your church going?” The knee-jerk reaction of the other pastor is, “it’s going good and we run about ‘XXX’ number every Sunday.” There is nothing wrong with this question (or these kind of questions), except it should not be the only ones we ask. How about questions such as: “Has anyone accepted Christ?” “…been filled with the Holy Spirit?” “Has your fellowship experienced any divine healing?” And, “has anyone been called into ministry?” The interesting correlation is, as those statistics increase, churches typically grow and reach these attainable benchmarks. There is something wonderful about saying, “there are 100 of us in Church every Sunday.” I will continue to answer the most typical asked questions, but before they can ask me another question I’m going to respond with some other details. “We have ‘X’ number of individuals who are training to be pastors, three missions trips are planned for next year, and a new Bible study is starting because we are seeing the need!” Someone asked me last week who the individual is standing next me in the picture near my desk. I responded that’s Pastor Tommy Barnett! Obviously many of you have heard me mention his name because for 10 years Janet and I attended his pastors and leaders conference held in Phoenix, Arizona. Every January, Phoenix First Assembly opens its doors to 7000 leaders from all over the globe. The overwhelming majority of the time, we are studying, learning, praying, and getting on buses going to downtown Phoenix. Yes, it’s nice that the weather is not a factor with thousands of people in attendance. The end of January, beginning of February in Arizona is about 70° warmer than here. All of the training and hands-on application is designed to help a local church grow. Pastor Tommy wants every congregation to reach the 100 benchmark and even surpass 200! Every year we learned something new and gleaned from these conferences concepts which we even use here at Hawthorne Assembly. The most important strategy of Pastor Barnett and his local church is: every ministry has soul winning as its primary objective. Consider those who choose to serve our nation in the United States Army. There are multiple careers, skills, and specialized jobs which make up our oldest branch of the military. Yet one important point remains; when in combat every person in the Army is a soldier! You learn how to shoot a weapon, defend yourself, and defeat the enemy! We will break the 100 barrier and, Lord willing, 200 because every ministry that flows from Hawthorne Assembly has soul winning as its priority. “He that winneth souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30

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