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A church won't ascend to great heights if it feels down in the dumps.

Recently, our church's membership growth plateaued. Conditions for growth were excellent: a recently developed suburban setting; over 20 percent of our people were active in various outreach programs; new people were being assimilated into the body; and small-group life was strong. Moreover, ours was a young fellowship, most of the members truly wanted the church to grow, and spiritual commitment was strong.

I was stumped. Our church had been growing at a 32 percent annual rate. Why the lull?

Finally a lay leader unwittingly gave me a clue. Vicki had been visiting relatives the previous weekend, looking for opportunities to share her faith. When she told a cousin and his wife about our visitation program, they said, "That sounds exciting! We wish our church had that kind of evangelism training."

When she mentioned our class for new believers, they reacted with friendly envy. They even asked Vicki for the curriculum the class was using.

As she continued to share this conversation with me, I ...

From Issue:Spring 1986: Worship
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