I once read that the Free Methodist Church in our country had as many churches in 1890 as we have today. Our church family exploded across the country in our first thirty years of existence but in the General Conference gatherings of 1890 and 1984, a decision was made that we were growing too fast and that we should regulate the aggressive evangelism of the church. David McKenna looks back on this moment and writes “Without undue exaggeration, the rest of the history of the Free Methodist Church can be written in the multiplication of strategies and systems to jumpstart aggressive evangelism and get the church going again.”
Just 12 years ago, our own Pearce Memorial Church was bursting at the seams with an average weekend attendance of almost 1,300—including well over 200 children and teens. Our 2017 weekly attendance average was 570. And now we ask ourselves, how we might “jumpstart…and get the church going again.”
I have an article on my desk from the Harvard Business Review, “How the world’s oldest company reinvented itself.” It’s the story of a corporation (Stora Enso), formed in 1288, and its transformational journey in today’s global market. But I’m not drawn to corporate turnaround strategies.
I’m not even drawn to trying to repeat what God is blessing around the corner or around the world. My heart is drawn to ask our God of unfailing love to show us what He is doing on the westside of Rochester and beyond, and then show us ways He can and will use us—His Church here at Pearce—for His glory.
Let’s dare to seek God first. Let’s dare to promise God our full and complete obedience, even before He answers our prayers. Let’s dare to love God and neighbor with such a reckless abandon that His love might be unleashed in hearts and homes all across the westside of Rochester and beyond. Let’s dare to be a church that looks, lives, and loves like Jesus!