I had an interesting thought the other day, one that has encouraged me greatly.  I was thinking about those that are serving at my church, both adults and the teens that are already getting involved.  Five years ago, none of them were here (and the vast majority of them were not serving/attending anywhere else).  In the last five years, under my pastor’s leadership and vision, we have seen many people come to know Christ and begin to serve. 

My interesting thought came as I was dreaming about ten years down the road.  I was imagining the kids that are now in the nursery as teenagers, those that are in elementary school as college students, and our high schoolers as parents bringing their kids to church.  You know what is amazing?  The growth we’ve seen in our volunteers in less than five years pales in comparison to the growth we will see in the next ten.  In ten years, those that are currently serving will have ten plus years of experience.  “Thanks for that Captain Obvious.”  But it is a point that has been lost on me time and again.  Sometimes I forget that people haven’t stopped growing.

Our people will have gained experience, wisdom, and perspective over these years.  Those that are now serving their children will be serving WITH their children.  Five years have made a big difference in the culture of our church.  Ten years have the potential to make an even greater and more profound difference.  Things that are currently only dreams because we are not structured for them can become successful realities by then.

Church growth, like personal growth, is a marathon not a sprint.  It is about perseverance and building something that withstands the test of time.  It’s about building people.  It’s about understanding that even a slow-moving person, as long as they are moving, will eventually get where they’re going.  As Dave Ramsey says, “The tortoise beats the hare every time I read the story.”

Can I give a few examples?  I can see today’s small group leaders overseeing multiple small group leaders.  I can see today’s Sunday school teacher overseeing the entire Sunday school program (and improving it in ways I cannot envision).  I see the teen helping on the sound board becoming our audio/visual guru.  That kid that currently sings quietly on the worship team, they’re leading worship.

What does your ministry look like in ten years?  If you haven’t thought about it, take some time to do so today.  Talk it over with your pastor.  Name names.  Name specific people and where you see them.