Much like a growing child, growth brings change, which in turn causes things to leave the body. For example, we don't freak out when our children run to us with a loose baby tooth; of course the child may be upset because he has grown fond of his cute little tooth, but we understand that it's a normal part of growth. When the tooth is pulled, there is usually bleeding; it's not pleasant, but it's part of growth. We understand that in order for permanent, stronger teeth to come in, this has to happen.
The same is true in a growing church; especially a church that's under five hundred people. There are processes and systems that worked well in the church when the church was smaller; but when growth occurs, the processes and systems, much like the baby tooth, becomes loose and unable to meet current needs; things soon begin bleeding.
The real struggle is helping those who have grown fond of past processes understand the necessity of "pulling" out the old so the new can come in. Here's a few "baby teeth" I see many churches still hanging on to:
- Church Polity & By-Laws: Is your current polity set up for future growth? Does changing a light bulb still require a church vote?
- Church Boards: How many decision-making boards do you have? Two is one too many.
- Worship Styles: Are you putting energy into a failing traditional service just to keep certain people happy? People who aren't willing to have their baby teeth pulled?
- Generosity: Are you securing God's money instead of stewarding God's Money? Too often rural churches have old money that's being hid under a napkin instead of investing in the Kingdom of God.
As you think about these things, ask this question: "What must be removed in order for something more permanent to come in and sustain future growth?