The saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” This is a very old English proverb. It recognizes that people create new solutions where there is need. Problems and the desire to overcome some particular obstacle may serve as a catalyst for the creation of new inventions and ideas. However, the process of inventing usually takes a whole focused effort. Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.” Edison is known for the things he created, but each success was built upon a multitude of failures. His greatest genius may have been in his perseverance and being willing to deal with a problem from multiple perspectives.
I once read a book about developing a youth ministry within the local church. One of the points the author made was that our problem isn’t that we fail, but that we fail too slowly. The thought was that failure is often a part of the process of finding success. When something doesn’t work it simply needs to be recognized, abandoned or adapted, and then something different tried. Eventually, success is likely to be achieved. The only necessity is that a church does not give up.
Every church is confronted with the need to grow and change. I think there are always roads that lead to growth and life for churches, both large and small. The largest challenge is being willing to take the journey down roads that may be unknown or untried. I think most congregations prefer to be still and remain comfortable. However, it is not typical that being still will produce growth. We have to allow ourselves to be confronted with both the needs of life and the calling of God upon us. What new ideas, projects, and ministries is God calling us to? How should these needs and calling generate innovation within us? Are we willing to try and fail and keep trying?
The Bible speaks about loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Perhaps only as we so love and move; wholly engaged with the challenges we face, and focused upon finding a solution that God may truly bless us. What does it take to make a church grow?