An Abundant Ministry: Part 1 - People Gather

An Abundant Ministry:
Part 1 - People Gather

“And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God.” –Luke 9:10-11

 Early this year, the Session at Christ Presbyterian Church announced the creation of a Building Fund for the purpose of adding on to our existing facilities. At that time, we explained the need for additional facilities briefly. But now I would like to take the opportunity to explain the rationale to you in full. I imagine this series of articles will run longer than my typical submission, but my hope is that you will find it both beneficial and instructive.

I have been thinking about our expanding ministry through the lens of Jesus’s Feeding of the 5000. In this article I’d like to consider the first two verses with you. We find this story in Luke 9. Jesus’s ministry is still fairly new, but word has spread sufficiently enough that he is beginning to draw a crowd. The people have heard of his healing and of his teaching – and they want to know what this man from Galilee is all about. In Luke 9, Jesus is near a town called Bethsaida. When the people find out where he is, they gather around him to hear him teach and to be healed.

Like the ministry of Jesus at this point in Luke’s gospel, the ministry of Christ Presbyterian is fairly new. Our church celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year. But Christ Presbyterian has been around long enough to begin to draw a crowd – not because of anything special about us, but because Jesus is ministering here at CPC just as he was in Bethsaida.

In Luke 9, we’re told how large the crowd gathering around Jesus was. It contained 5,000 men plus many of their wives and their children. The Bible does not see attendance numbers as the most important goal of the church – but it does frequently relate attendance numbers to us (see Acts 2:41 for another example – also written by Luke).

Following Luke’s example I’d like to share some of CPC’s significant attendance numbers with you:

1) In 2020, CPC had 7 children and teenagers in regular attendance. Now, in 2023, CPC has 22 children and teenagers in regular attendance – a 215% increase in just three years.

2) In 2020, CPC averaged 38 adults and children in worship. In 2023, we are averaging 66 adults and children in worship – a 74% increase in three years.

3) In 2020, CPC averaged 25 adults and children in attendance on Wednesday Night. In 2023, we are averaging 47 adults and children in attendance on Wednesday Night – an 88% increase in three years.

4) In 2020, CPC averaged 17 adults and children in Sunday School. In 2023, we are averaging 31 adults and children in Sunday School – an 82% increase in three years.

The Session and I are humbled and grateful to see the way God has been at work in our midst. He has truly poured out his abundance on CPC. But the statistics in Luke or the statistics at CPC don’t matter in and of themselves. However, as we’ll see next week in Part 2, statistics do matter when we consider how to best minister to those the Lord is sending our way.

For this week, will you join me in praising God for the ministry he has done and is doing at CPC?

Your Pastor and Friend,
John Knox Foster

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