Youthful exuberance is wonderful. In our youthful exuberance we often don’t realize what we can’t do. As a young pastor I received a challenge to work with my church to set a goal that only God could reach. After discussion with my church board we decided that we would set a growth goal for our church of 10%. There was no way we could achieve a goal like that.
North American Division growth, at the time, was 2%. Growth in our church was comparable. To grow at a rate of 10% wasn’t a rational goal, but that was the goal we choose. We knew we couldn’t do it, and we began praying to see what God was going to do in our church.
With this “unreasonable” goal in place we began planning for social activities in our church, we organized service activities in our immediate neighborhood, and we prepared spiritual activities to connect people with Jesus. We weren’t professionals and we didn’t do everything right, but by the end of the year, we had 41 baptisms. We were shocked, not that God could give us a growth rate of 11%, but shocked as we reflected that God had used us to touch lives for Him.
The Evangelism Committee for the Wisconsin Conference has been looking at 2020. We began having a similar discussion, what can we do to partner with God this year? Something that only God can do? Societal and theological circumstances are not in our favor. Baptisms have gone down over the last decade. What goal can we set that we know we can’t reach? What is a goal for which we could partner with God so we know that He is working, and we aren’t simply operating under our own power?
We have set a goal of 300 baptisms for 2020! We haven’t seen numbers that high in close to a decade. We realize the value of these 300+ baptisms we are praying for. These are 300 lives that we would like to see touched by Jesus. These are our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters; these are our neighbors. As a conference, made up of 91 churches, companies, and church plants, let’s pull together and see what God wants to do through us in 2020!
I am encouraging each church board to have this discussion. I am encouraging each church board to set a goal that can only be accomplished with God’s help. What does God want to do through your church in 2020?
Adam Case, Ministerial Director and Evangelism Coordinator