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 Rumblings


"But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. . ."
(Acts 6:1a NLT) 

 After the church I was pastoring completed a building program in 1985, our attendance began to pick up and we became effective at reaching people in our community.  That didn't surprise me.  I knew that the growth of the church was hampered by the run down building we were meeting in and that relocation would give us a chance to survive.  The growth didn't surprise me, but the grumbling did.

 I graduated from Seminary over the weekend and we broke ground on the building the following Monday.  In many ways, my education began with that experience.  They were hard days.  We averaged about 25 people at the time, so there weren't enough of us to pay  contractors, so we did much of the work ourselves.  I served as the "owner/builder" and pulled the permits and hired sub-contractors as needed.  We worked long, hard hours.  All of us doing our day jobs, then coming down to the building site to work on the building after hours.

 All of us except one family.  They were busy, they said, and weren't able to make it to most of the work days.  After the building was complete, and we began growing, I noticed that they weren't attending as much.  I don't remember if they called me or if I called them, but the phone call resulted in a meeting where I found out what they were upset about.  They felt left out.  They missed out on the "barn raising" experience of working side by side with fellow Church members and now they didn't fell a part of the group like they did before we built the building.  And now that the church was growing, there were so many new people that they didn't know.  What really floored me was they blamed me for the way they were feeling.

 "Why didn't you call us and invite us to come to the work days?"  They asked.  "I didn't know I needed to," I replied.  "The work schedule was posted in the bulletin and we made announcements, I didn't give anyone a special invitation, besides, you'd said you were busy."

 That day I learned something about human nature.  Progress and growth aren't always welcome.  Some people would just as soon leave everything like it is.  Unfortunately for them, stagnation isn't an option for the Church of Jesus Christ we must reach out to others, which will lead to growth, which will cause immature people will grumble.  

 But they don't have to have the last word.  In Acts 6, the church elected Deacons who helped mitigate the discomfort caused by the growth.  They were men who chose to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

 Today that church is flourishing.  Last time I preached there, the third building they'd built was at capacity.  I'm grateful that a little grumbling didn't derail the church from its mission.

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