This is the first blog in a series taken from the book of Ezekiel as it relates to small churches.

  I was trained in the Church Growth school of thought.  As I have stated in other places I hold to much of the training and reject part (isn't that what everyone does with what they learn in school?).  Much is said about this topic--some embrace it and some bash it.  The key is to understand that no system applies to every situation.  In the book of Ezekiel we find God giving His opening instructions to His prophet:

5 For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, but to the house of Israel, 6 not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted.  Ezekiel 3:5-7 NKJV.

  Notice that Ezekiel is specifically told by God in verse seven that the people will not listen to what he has to say.  They are impudent and hard hearted and obviously have their own agenda.  How many pastors are saying "amen?"  I have seen many small churches that were simply not going to grow.

  I know this is not what some of you consider to be encouraging.  But let me tell you--a lot of guilt is placed upon small church pastors for not helping them become big churches.  They are made to feel like they are failures and some even leave the ministry to which God called them because they don't feel equal to the task.  Letting these good men know that sometimes God sends us to places that will not grow is a way to give them a word of encouragement.

  Why won't these churches grow?  Well there are many reasons that have filled many books.  That is not the point here.  The truth I want you to see is that God Himself has stated that there are places that are not going to grow.  If you happen to be in one of those spots then tend to the ministry that God has given to you.  You are to proclaim the word of God so that one day when judgement comes they will be without excuse.

  Now not every church that can't grow is that way because of sin like the folks in Ezekiel's time.  Sometimes a church is located in a dying area from which people are moving out, not in, for example.  I am not implying that if your church cannot grow that there is some wickedness in the congregation.  I am simply using an example from the Bible to let you know that some groups will never see an increase in numbers.

  Now if you're in a place that could grow but are not doing the work, that is another story.  Get out there and tend to the job Jesus has given to you and bear some fruit.  But pastor, if you have found yourself in one of those tough fields where growth will never come, then hold your head high and be a man of God.

  It is sad that one can be among his own people and see no increase while the harvest is going on in foreign lands (verse 6).  But that should give you a goal--if your church cannot see numerical growth, then why not teach them to give to missionary causes for lands that are experiencing a harvest?  Many souls could be reached because of the work of your small church.

  Does every pastor want his church to grow?  Of course!  But will it always happen?  Sadly not.  Leave that part of it to God while you are found to be faithful.