It takes more than meeting needs to keep a church energized

I was not yet out of college, only 20 years old and starting a new church. My wife, Darla, and I were newlyweds playing house and, in a way, playing church. Darla would cook up someone's new recipe, and I'd experiment with someone's recipe for church growth.

My recipes usually called for ingredients from marketing: I'd identify people's needs, build programs to meet those needs, and then administrate those programs. The programs worked, people's needs were met, and the new church grew. Since we didn't have any children and were in a rural community, my wife and I could make regular visits to every attending family. People loved the personalized attention they received.

It wasn't long, though, before I realized my methods were restrictive. My passion for meeting people's needs was building a congregation with ever-increasing needs. The church grew because people came to have their needs met. But when I could no longer meet their needs, they could leave just as quickly as they came. I came ...

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