It's a numbers game
January 3, 2011
by Rev. Bill Baldwin, Prairie Community Church UCC, Lester Prairie

Happy New Year! If you’re reading this, you made it through 2010 and are ready for a ride through 2011.

I join you in praying that this year may be a great one to be a citizen of the earth and a child of God. All the days ahead are wide open and unwritten, waiting for us to make choices as to how we will remember 2011 when we look back.

It is time to stop fretting over all the resolutions you have made and may be trying to keep for the year ahead. It is proven that fretting doesn’t help us accomplish our goals. Only calm action, a moment at a time, will help us to get where we want to be.

And forget about perfection. We so often think that once we blow a resolution, we are done trying. Far be it from the truth. We all make mistakes and fall short of our goals again and again. The trick is to just pick up where we are and get back on the horse that bucked us.

Remember that a top major league baseball player gets paid millions if they can get three hits out of every 10 at bats. That means striking out seven of 10 times, and still being considered a success.

Success isn’t how many times we get it just right, it is how many times we get up and try and keep on going in spite of many failed attempts. The world’s greatest in any field have a track record of many failures along with their ultimate successes.

That said, what would we like to try at our local churches this year, knowing that we may not succeed right out of the gate, but that we may ultimately succeed if we keep at it? Did you know that we can try absolutely anything and everything that comes to mind in order to try to feed the souls of our current members and to attract new members?

I’m not sure if we remember that there is no rule book for being and doing church. Church can look any way we want it to look. We can start any kind of meeting, group, or study that appeals to a handful of people, and if it doesn’t last – so what, we started with nothing and we’ve lost nothing.

But what if we try enough ideas that we get three out of 10 to amount to something and grow? Even if only two out of 10 ideas work, we are still in the game.

So let’s get daring and creative this year and try some new things, just because we can. I look forward to hearing what your church dreams up and implements in the weeks ahead.

Remember, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, it just won’t work the way it used to. “We’ve never done it that way before” are the deadliest words that can be spoken in a church.

My heart always goes out to those who remain unchurched in the community. They may not be members yet, but only because we haven’t found the niche that they fit into. The more ways we try to connect with new people, the better the chance of reaching two or three over the course of the year.

Get the idea? Everything is a numbers game. Try enough things, enough times and we are bound to hit on a few things that work for at least a few new people.

I am excited about the year ahead. Together, as area churches, we can make 2011 a year to remember. May this be a year of growth both individually and as local congregations. May we find ways to work together and support each others’ efforts as never before.

There is only one God and one Savior, Jesus Christ, and we are all working to bring more people home to the Lord. Happy New Year!