“So how long have you been coming here?” This is a great question to ask if you don’t know someone. In our church, nobody knows everybody, even me! Around the time that Living Water and Blanchard merged in 2015, our average Sunday attendance was around 450. This past month our average attendance was 691. So, why are people coming here? And what can we do about that?
Why are people coming?
“I feel Jesus here.” This family first connected through our Kids Camp in the community. This camp serves underprivileged children in our own backyard, and we provide a wonderful experience of learning, growing and fun as we gather. Even as the family walked through different challenges, people from our church showered them with love, support and friendship. This led them to coming to church, tentatively at first, then bringing their family, and they have been overwhelmed by the love and support that they have found. Today they love to sit front and center, visibly soaking God’s lavish grace whenever we gather.
“This is a judgment-free zone.” A weary family after a painful season in another church felt this when they visited our church. From the moment that they walked into the lobby, they felt this freedom, joy and presence of God’s Spirit, and this presence consistently strengthened them through the times of worship, the preaching of God’s Word, and times of prayer together. The church has become a place of healing and restoration for their family.
“You love college students.” Often the needs of college students are overlooked, but our college ministry director Stephen Hong has worked with an amazing team to lead our blossoming college ministry. Our three vans make multiple trips to the college campus to pick up and drop off students for each of our services. College students have been embraced and integrated into the life of the church.
“People opened up their hearts to us.” People may come to church for programs or preaching, but they stay because of the people. At Wellspring, this family found a place where they could not only go to church but be the church. People talked to them after service, seemed interested in building relationships. They found a home group that they could plug into and build relationships for the journey ahead.
What can we do about that?
So what can we do? First, build relationships. Maryellen Slefinger, our Director of Hospitality, invites you to do the Five Minute Challenge. Before you catch up with your friends after the worship service, stretch yourself to meet somebody new. Ask them how long that they have been coming here. Get to know their story. Make a new friend. Set up a lunch. We have seen remarkable growth as a church over the past few years, and relationships will deepen that growth as a church.
Second, give. Each of the stories cited above happened in a certain place through certain people. Places demand resources for mortgages, maintenance, cleaning and care. People also demand resources. They are mobilized by pastoral staff and supported by office staff who work hard to equip the saints for the work of ministry here. Based on our recent Governing Board report, we are currently at 93% of budgeted giving and 93% of budgeted expenses. Although our giving is below budget, we have reduced expenses to remain in line with that giving. As a result, some important ministry initiatives and essential capital improvements are being postponed, so we are trusting God for the resources to engage these important projects as we move forward.
Hudson Taylor said, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” We eagerly anticipate to see how God will supply all of our needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus. He is doing a wonderful work in our midst. Let us continue to engage with that work in relationship with one another and with stewardship of what God has entrusted to us. Let us continue on this adventure together as Wellspring.