As we work with small and mid-size churches across the country, we love to share the stories of those we partner with. We recently caught up with Bobby Lewis, Lead Pastor of RiverPoint Church in Pelham, AL, who we sponsored through our grant funds for leadership coaching.
Bobby had some encouraging thoughts on perseverance that we wanted to share. Here's our conversation:
How have you witnessed God's faithfulness since planting RiverPoint Church?
Literally, hundreds of ways but the one that is most fascinating is His provision for the vision. When we first started the church, we were taught to expect that the people who start with you may not be the people who go the distance with you. “God sometimes uses people as scaffolding," they explained. They are placed there during the initial building process but, once the building is up, the scaffolding is taken down. We’ve seen people come in, give, serve for a while, and then move on.
A pastor’s initial response is to feel that it’s “the year King Uzziah died." We question where further resourcing and volunteers will come from.
The amazing thing to me, now in my sixteenth year as a church planter, is the way God has always brought people from seemingly nowhere to fill the roles both in serving and financial support. He's faithful.
How would you encourage other pastors of small and mid-size churches?
After 35 years of ministry, my heart aches for pastors. I know what they/we go through, and then some. First, because you love the church, the tendency would be to give it all your time, especially if you want to see it grow. However, God called you to be the priest of your home long before He called you to serve as “priest” of any group of people. Love, care for, and serve your families first above everything. In addition, a happy home will make pastoring much easier.
Secondly, Don’t stop. Don’t quit! Persevere. You are valuable. Don’t feel like you’re “less than” because your church doesn’t have “X” number of members. Stop questioning your leadership ability and, at the same time, don’t ever think that you’ve got it all figured out. Be a learner and apply what you learn.
Lastly, as you are doing all you know to do, and being faithful in every way possible, realize that God said, “I will build my church." Two things about that text: 1) the “I” is God, not you. 2) “My” indicates it’s His, not ours. It’s His church. Trust Him.
"A healthy church means more people meeting Jesus, more people getting serious about their faith, and more lives changed forever."
So our team took some time to share our thoughts on 4 areas healthy churches never ignore. Just fill out the form below to download this resource:
What prompted you to pursue an outside perspective?
It's easy to feel like you're on an island by yourself in ministry. So it's great to hear what others are doing, what's working, what's not working, etc.
We are in a facility that is maxed out. I felt we needed to add services, but had never done multiple services. I needed someone to help me navigate the next phase of growth for our church.
And simply stated, without the grant funds we received, we wouldn't have been able to move forward with the coaching!
Where is RiverPoint Church headed? What's next?
This is an exciting time for us. We are currently planning a sanctuary building project to help with our space issue as we continue to grow. (We plan to have the new sanctuary started by the end of this year.)
We are also focusing on developing our small group and follow-up programs. I expect God will continue to do some big things this year!
Want to help a church like RiverPoint?Our team has a big vision: to bring positive change to the small church in America. We want to equip small churches who recognize that things need to change and are hungry to have the greatest impact for Jesus they possibly can, but are limited by finances.
Would you considerpartnering with usto support small churches across the country? The support of our donors allows us to give generously to churches who can’t afford the services they need, to host meaningful conferences across the country for pastors of small and mid-size churches, and to produce great content for the leaders in our network.
Austin is the Managing Director here at 95Network. From Normal, IL, Austin gets that ministry can sometimes feel anything but “normal.” He grew up leading in the small church his dad pastored, and has since served on the launch teams for two church plants. He holds a Communications degree from Moody Bible Institute and is passionate about seeing churches grow healthier and make a difference in their communities. Austin and his wife, Larisa, reside near Peoria, IL.