There are times when the growth of a church shows through clearly via external measurables. Other times, we pray that good growth is taking place, but it is beneath the surface and is not so easily perceived. I feel like some of what we are seeing recently in the church here is more in line with the latter type of growth than the former. Our numbers are not surging (more on that in a second), but I still am seeing some behavior that makes me think that we are still in a major growth phase. Allow me to elaborate.
After wrapping up our first Missions Conference, we were contacted by the missionary a week later, letting us know that he had tested positive for COVID. This put us on alert; and, sure enough, within a week’s time, we had multiple people in our church (one of whom was Cynthia) test positive for the virus. We talked it over with the team here and decided to move to virtual services for a couple of weeks to prevent a major outbreak. Then this past week, the governor of our state reinstituted lockdown measures to deal with a spike in cases. We have not been able to meet in person for a few weeks now, and I’m not really sure how many folks will be back once we are in person again this week.
Yet with the less-than-ideal environment, we have had people demonstrate Christian growth. We have two men (one middle-aged and one in his late teens) who are ready to get baptized. We have had to postpone their baptisms two times now. This week they both expressed a desire to get baptized one way or the other; regardless of whether others can be here to witness their baptism or not, they don’t want to wait any longer. We have two couples whose weddings have been delayed with shutdowns and lockdowns and such. Both have moved ahead, and one of them will also be getting baptized. We have seen our church folk, most of whom are brand-new Christians, reaching out to each other, checking on each other, and serving each other during the lockdown. They are proactively trying to be a blessing and encouragement to one another. And to top it all off, some of our people have not stopped trying to witness to whomever they can, and we have seen 3 people saved, even though we have had to postpone our regular services and outreach ministries.
Even with all the shutdowns of the last couple of weeks, over the past two months we have seen people saved, baptized, in discipleship, and bringing friends and family with them to church. We are excited about what this month holds. We are putting the finishing touches on our auditorium construction nd plan to have a month-long campaign to meet our neighbors and bring visitors. We would appreciate your praying with us that God will continue to bless the outreach here and for the continued growth of new converts. We love you all and are praying for you.
Declaring His glory,