By Clay Hallmark
President, Tennessee Baptist Convention
A friend of mine in Alabama once taught me a great principle that I have found to be true both in life and in ministry. The principle is this: “Start small … grow strong!” There is nothing wrong with a small or humble start.
Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first airplane flight only lasted 12 seconds. The first automobiles are reported to have only traveled between two and four miles per hour. The first computers were as large as a room and used punch cards. Man landed on the moon with the computing power that is less than that in today’s elementary school calculators. Today, the technology being used in flight, automobiles, and computers is growing and rapidly changing each day. The principle is simple: Start small … grow strong.
As we are at the beginning of 2022, I want to remind you again that now is a great time for thinking about, planning and starting something new. For many churches, attendance would increase dramatically next year if they would just start a few new Sunday School classes. On average a new Sunday School class will reach at least 10 new people in a 12-month period of time.
Maybe you need to finally start a new evangelism ministry in your church or a new ministry that targets people in your community that are being overlooked. Maybe it is time for your church to launch out and start a new mission church or maybe even some off-campus small group Bible study classes.
Perhaps you should start a Celebrate Recovery group, create a food pantry, or even expand an existing ministry. Here at First Baptist Church, Lexington, we are starting a new off campus Hispanic Bible Study. We are starting a new way of doing evangelism and discipleship ministry called “Love your Neighbor.” We are expanding our prayer ministry, MAN Church ministry, and discipleship in our women’s ministry. We are looking at new ways to reach new people through our small group Sunday School ministry. In each case, we are starting small, but growing strong.
To choose to “start small” and “grow strong” would literally be a positive experience for Tennessee Baptist leaders and churches. It would challenge and change your perspective, priorities, personnel and processes.
In the end, you will experience exciting results, God’s rewards and new people being reached. Let’s not wait another month or another year to step out on faith and start something new. We need you and we need your church right now in the harvest field!
One final thought: Do not be afraid of small beginnings because in time they can grow strong and impact the lives of many people. After all, a small stable and a manger in Bethlehem was about as humble as it got, but on that first Easter there was great power! What idea or vision have you given up on because you were afraid of starting small?
Let me challenge you to plan on starting something new at your church or in your small group Bible study class in 2022. Get together your leaders, dream big dreams, but get started and take action. You will soon realize just how much something new will reach new people.
Let me know how you are starting something new, what you are starting and how it is going by e-mailing me today at email@example.com. I am here for you and want to pray for you! B&R — Hallmark is pastor of First Baptist Church, Lexington.