There is a time and place for acronyms. This IS that time and the place. I began thinking about ways we can encourage the average church member to move from pew sitting to serving. I will tell you that I am operating under a couple of assumptions. 1. 80/20. 20% of the people do 80% of the work. 2. There are many churches who have not seen any form of growth because there are members who see church as a spectator sport. With that being said, here are my G.R.O.W. principles and words of encouragement to the above mentioned spectators.
G. Get out of the stands. As a child, I can remember attending sporting events of all kinds. Whether it was a High School basketball game or a professional baseball game. I always had that dream that one day the coach would point me out of the stands and ask me to help his team. There are also those rivalry games in which the game comes down to the wire and once the winning team is crowned the crowds rush the field in celebration. Can you imagine with me if our churches were like that? Do you have church members attending church wondering if they are going to get called out of the pew to help in any way? Is there so much excitement over someone’s soul that the church rushes to the front when a person accepts Jesus Christ? As a church leader, you are responsible for many things, but an important aspect we fail to recognize is that you pave the way for church members. You set the tone. You set the excitement level. You set the overall atmosphere of your church. I firmly believe there are many sitting in your pews that have a desire to get excited about something! Many of them find it difficult to get excited about their job, many find it difficult to get excited about their team that just lost a play-off game. We can provide that avenue in which people can truly get excited about church.
R. Recalculate your plans. I don’t know about you, but one of the more annoying voices I hear is my GPS yelling, ” RECALCULATING, RECALCULATING!” I was glad when I discovered the mute button! However, according the GPS, you entered a destination that you desired to arrive to. The GPS derived a plan to get you there and due to a wrong turn or missed exit, that GPS has to recalculate in order to find an alternative route to get you to the desired location. I am a planner and I always want to know where I am going and when I will be arriving and what I am going to be doing when I arrive. I like to plan. But there are times when our plans don’t quite match God’s plan. There is nothing wrong with having a plan, but if we are unwilling to alter our plans to God’s plan then we are going to miss out on some amazing experiences. There are times that your church members are going to have to re-prioritize their lives. Little Johnny’s soccer tournament may not be as important as teaching a Sunday School class. The church’s outreach event may be more important than Suzie’s gymnastics meet. Our plans must align with God’s plans.
O. Own your faith. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as though there are many people who see their faith as an attribute, something they check off a list of qualities about themselves. We should be leading/teaching/expressing our church members that faith in Jesus Christ is not an attribute like blond hair or blue eyes. Faith in Jesus Christ is life transforming. It becomes our life. The Bible makes it very clear that we are to “pick up our cross daily and follow Him”. We must live it, we must own it, we must make our lives all about it.
W. Worry for the lost. I think I can say this with absolute certainty, ” God wants us to evangelize others.” Not to get more people to come to your church, while that would be a good thing. Not to check it off of your to-do list for the week, that would be good thing too. But we are to evangelize others because there are people who are spiritually dead and heading for eternal damnation in hell. We must be serious about reaching lost people and sharing with them about the salvation that comes when they place their faith in Jesus Christ.
If we want to see people move from the pew to the few, then we must G.R.O.W. ourselves and encourage our members to G.R.O.W.