A recent article posted on the MN UMC Southern Prairie District Facebook site by D.S. Fred Vanderwerf stated that there are two important things that growing churches do: Pray & Proclaim the Gospel! I fully agree and believe that prayer and proclaiming the gospel are important factors to the future growth and stability of Cornerstone United Methodist Church. The article in Maclean’s, a Canadian news magazine (Nov. 16, 2016) said:
"Growing congregations…are theologically conservative churches, headed by theologically conservative pastors… with a Gospel-centered approach to Christian ministry."
In recent years there has been much study amongst main line denominational churches as to what causes some churches to decline and others to grow. The article from Maclean’s, refers to a church study of growing and declining mainline denominational churches entitled “Theology Matters”:
"The study reveals that growing churches focus on traditional Christian orthodoxy, basic articles of faith (the ancient Creeds), the authority of Scripture, God’s visible working in the world today, the exclusivity of Christianity (Jesus as the door to eternal life), and most importantly, growing churches focus on prayer and the proclamation of the Gospel."
The teachings of the Scriptures fully agree with the conclusions of this study. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). In his last words to his disciples Jesus said, “It is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations”, (Luke 24:46-47). Of course, there are many other things we are called to do as the church: worship God, feed the poor, teach the word of God, etc. But if we neglect Prayer and Evangelism we will struggle to grow as a church and to fulfill our mission to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World!
Over the next several months our church will be actively involved in strategic planning. I truly believe that a big part of God’s plan for Cornerstone United Methodist Church is to commit ourselves afresh to Prayer and the Proclamation of the Gospel of salvation in Jesus!
Peace & Joy!