I can’t help it…I’m humming the now famous song “Let it Go” performed by Idina Mensel, the voice of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen. We’ve seen it probably four times now. And every time I hear the song I honestly think of the Church. We need to “Let it Grow!” We need to unlock the doors that keep the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit shut up behind the walls of our own misconceptions, fears, and selfishness.

I believe God has designed the Church with both the Spirit-driven desire and the innate ability to grow in depth, breadth, and reach. But there are doors in our lives, our churches, and our theologies that are locked tight and keep the church from growing the way God intended in just the same way they kept Elsa and her amazing power locked up and ineffective.

I know, I know. The goal isn’t big numbers. The goal isn’t large crowds. It isn’t flashy lights or cool worship bands. The goal isn’t to have the latest technology or the biggest budget. The goal is making disciples. Followers of Christ. Helping kids experience a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. Embracing them in a community of caring friends who will encourage their faith and growth as healthy persons.

But don’t we want this for everyone? Do we think God intends this kind of relationship for just a few? For just those who happen to walk through our doors on a Sunday morning or a Wednesday night? Shouldn’t we want as many people as possible to experience the life changing gospel of Jesus? Shouldn’t we be willing to do, as Craig Groschel of LifeChurch.tv says, “whatever it takes short of sin to reach the lost and hurting”?

There are lots of churches, pastors, and common Christians who are doing some pretty risky, creative, and amazing things to reach the lost and hurting. I’m totally inspired by them. But I think the conversations about growth need to begin at a simpler, more foundational level.

We need to:

  1. Identify the doors that have locked us in on ourselves
  2. Find the key to unlocking them, and
  3. Bust them wide open!

I think I can identify some of the doors. I don’t profess to know how to unlock them all but I feel like I can at least name some of them. And sometimes they don’t open very easily so some of the doors in our lives end up as splintered hack jobs that inflict pain and blood as we bust through them. But it’s worth it. We cannot allow the Spirit’s work through the church to remain locked up behind the closed doors of a ministry that’s shut in on itself!

Over the next few posts, I’d like to identify and explore some of the doors that come to my mind. These doors are:

  1. A Misunderstanding of the Purpose of the Church
  2. A Misunderstanding of the Role of the Pastor/Leader
  3. A Fear of Teenagers
  4. A Fear of Adults
  5. A Lack of Clarity
  6. A Lack of Connection
  7. A Weak Infrastructure

I’d love to explore these with others as we go. Please feel free to comment and discuss.

Author: Jim Murphy

Associate Pastor | NextGen Ministries Covenant Church, Bemidji, MN

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