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A Grand New Members Class

October 18, 2010

Quite a day yesterday at Franklin Federated. I have once again been awed by the amazing spirit of our Deacons, Church Council and members to let folks know that we are glad they are here.

I sometimes find myself in workshops where people are talking about church growth. In those conversations someone always says, “But numerical growth means nothing without spiritual growth. You cannot really grow a church until you grow the faith (sic) of the people in the pews.”

Generally speaking, the comment is a cop out. I think it’s often classic inward-focused New England un-comfortability with Evangelism. Sometimes the speaker is genuinely concerned about other churches and their lack of focus on spiritual development, but never on theirs!

I’m in the “have-it-all” camp that says and believes that both are possible.

Franklin Federated Church has only been able to grow as much as it has over the past year because there are such deep waters flowing in the spiritual lives of our members. If we didn’t faithfully believe in the good news of Jesus Christ, we would never be able to achieve the things we have. The Gospel ignites us and sustains us. It gives us focus and lets our tribe work valiantly even through gulfs of differing opinion. It helps us come back in e-mail exchanges that sometimes thread on over days to get particular projects off the ground. It lifts someone up in their daily walk enough that I’ll get a Saturday call about a sermon from the previous Sunday that someone has been reflecting on.

Their faith deepens because they keep the conversation going.

Of course, we are building on tremendous strength. The work this congregation did in its interim period with Reverend Vicki Hammel was pivotal. It probably would have taken me a decade to get this congregation to where they were after the time they spent with her. And the congregation poured a lot of work into it too.

From our Welcome Ministry to our Deacons to church-wide celebration that will happen on Membership Sunday, October 31st, so many people get involved in the walk of a new member to become a part of Franklin Federated. I work with people who grow their church because they have grown themselves. We have all been so blessed. God is good.

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