By Ps Dev Menon
Last month, I addressed the question: “What is the point of an AG?” My answer: “To know Christ, through the Word of God, so that we minister to one another in His name”.
This month, another question: “Should our AG stop accepting new members?” Again, a really good question! The context is that several of our current small groups are notably quite large – with something like 8-10 families or 20-35 individuals!
What more, each week we receive around 10 newcomers between the 3 English Services. Plus, the current catechism class has a full capacity of nearly 30 – all of which require cell groups to be able to grow and mature in Christ adequately.
Notably, the AG leaders are running out of energy, and members find relationships difficult to form and deepen if new people keep joining. Not to mention how those of us who are introverts or experience social anxiety feel at larger sizes. Or those of us who just need a bit more time and attention to work through our present issues and past wounds.
However, nowhere in Scriptures do we see the command to restrict newcomers to God’s church; I mean how could we right?! God wants many to join His kingdom. Our Father loves a big family! In fact, through Zechariah, it’s clear that God wants His church to be so big, that there is no room to fit them all. Plus, I believe throughout church history – the constant approach was to welcome everyone who walked through the sanctuary doors!
Yet the struggle is real. The more newcomers we receive, the higher the workload and the shallower the relationships across the board. So how?
I believe Jesus told us that what we need to do is to ask for more leaders – more workers to the harvest fields (e.g. Mark 9:37-38). More leaders means groups can multiply (#getsent), which allows them to be at the size where each individual can #getdeep in the Word, and #getreal with one another. The effective size which every individual can mature in Christ.
Thus, we do not close our doors. No, we MUST keep welcoming everyone with open arms (and perhaps gritted teeth). But then, we must pray… pray for the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers. I believe as we receive one another in Jesus’ name, He most certainly will.
PS: If you are a church leader experiencing burnout – please let one of the pastors know. We trust that the Lord will take good care of all who serve in His name. Don’t just ‘push through’!