Paul didn’t plant the church at Colossae. It was planted by Epaphras. Paul didn’t know the members of that church, but that didn’t matter to Paul. In Chapter 1:6-7, you can almost feel Paul’s excitement when he exclaims, “…the gospel that has come to you … is bearing fruit and growing all over the world, just as it has among you since the day you first heard it.”

He had nothing to do with the Church at Colossae, yet he celebrated their testimony and praised them and rejoiced at their growth. There is a lot of bad press in conservative circles today about the “Church Growth” movement. I do not agree with many of the new tactics, but I still believe God wants our churches to grow. One set of statistics I found this morning reports that 65% of American churches are declining in attendance. 33% of all traditional churches plateau at 50 members. Another 33% of all churches plateau at 150 members. It takes the average evangelical church 100 people and one year to introduce one person to Jesus Christ. Paul would not find much to celebrate here.

That’s not the case at Country Bible Church in Blair, Nebraska! We’ve grown from less than 100 in 1990, to over 600 in regular attendance in 2010. The truth is that I (a pastor) had very little to do with it! We celebrated 19 baptisms yesterday in our services and all but one were the result of the ministries of our members! I believe Paul would say to the members of CBC, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…for we have heard of your faith…”

“…the gospel is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth…” Colossians 1:6