Yesterday I received notice that after 138 years—did you catch that number?—the Santa Ana, California United Methodist Church in which I grew up was morphing into a new set of congregations.
It turns out that neighborhoods change in 130 years (smile), which requires missional decisions to be made for the future. But evolving contextual factors and the ministry transformations they necessitate is not on my mind today.
On my mind, today is the lasting impact we church planters make. I think back to the first church I started in 1979. It is a Vineyard Church in Wheeling, WV. About a thousand members at its height, it isn’t on anybody’s list of noteworthy churches either. But at 32 years old, it too is on pace to live a hundred years.
Back to impact:
Just imagine the millions of acts of kingdom kindness and Gospel power that have occurred in and through the thousands of people who have attended those two churches over the decades.
Planting churches is like setting in place factories of kingdom activity that churn out great varieties of kingdom goodness. The kingdom impact cannot be measured in nickels and noses—as important as those are.
Only while seeing highlight reels in heaven—if there is such a thing—will we know the impact, the breadth, and depth of our work.
This being the case…my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord, as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord. (1 Cor. 15:58, CEV).
Or as the Message has it:
With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.