It’s funny what you can remember about your childhood, isn’t it?

Often, people that I grew up around will tell a story about something that took place years ago, and though they can recount it in vivid detail, they’ll notice by the look on my face that I have no clue as to what they are talking about. Surprised, they’ll ask, “Don’t you remember that?”
Actually, no. I don’t remember it at all!

What’s really wild to me is that often, the thing they’re talking about is an occurrence or event that was really important and while I really wish I did have a recollection of it, I simply don’t.
On the flip side, there are things that are etched in my memory that hold no real significance whatsoever!

For instance, I can remember the theme song from the animated cartoon series, He-Man. I’m able to easily rattle off the telephone number from the house we moved from when I was in the first grade, and I can go back in my mind to the very moment on July 6th, 1985 when I watched The Nature Boy Ric Flair defeat the Russian Nightmare, Nikita Koloff!

The mind is a funny thing, isn’t it?

One of the odd things I can easily recall is being awakened late one night by really strange pain in my legs. I was a very young kid and I remember being terrified by it! I had done nothing to warrant such pain, it was just there! I remember how odd it felt and lying in the bed deliberating whether or not I should wake my mom up getting help.

I eventually decided not to and the pain did subside. I mentioned it to mom and dad the next day and they explained that it’s nothing to worry about as it was normal. They called it “growing pains”.
Now, the jury is still out on whether or not “growing pains” is an actual thing. There’s little to no science to back up the legitimacy of the diagnosis my parents made. Some say that it COULD be real, but there’s no conclusive data to back that up. Others argue that it’s more psychological that physical.

Either way, I learned that “growing pains” are fairly normal and if they are true to their moniker, they are to be seen as good things because having them is a sign that the body is doing what it is supposed to…grow.

Over the past few months at North Anderson, we’ve been blessed to feel a few growing pains, haven’t we?

I say “blessed” because it’s a good thing! In the same way that growing pains are an indication that a child’s body is growing as it should be, they are a sign that the body of Christ is expanding as it should be.

As the Lord continues to bless, more guests are joining us for worship each week, and more people are engaging in the life of our church family, we’re getting to experience a few “growing pains” as a church family.

You may have “felt” them in having to move from your usual seat in the Worship Center or Bible Fellowship Class because it was now occupied, not receiving a bulletin because we’d already run out of them or felt a maybe little crowded.

There have been other growing pains such as needing to make some adjustments to our nursery/toddler care during Sunday morning worship due to the increased number of kids that we have coming and having to learn lots of new names to pair with all the new faces. With a growing church family, these growing pains are inevitable and as already mentioned, they are an incredible blessing!

As a church, it’s crucially important that while we recognize that it is the Lord who is giving the increase (1 Cor 3:7), we do have the responsibility of stewarding the growth that He is sending well and fostering a culture/environment where that growth can continue.

Here’s where you can help:

  • Celebrate!
North Anderson has a long and vibrant history that includes many seasons of wonderful growth and blessings. Many of you have been around long enough to have experienced those times personally. While we should never presume to know exactly what the Lord will do in our church family in the future, we can say with certainty that with the number of guests joining us for worship lately and the flow new additions to our membership, that He’s up to something good. Let’s be quick to celebrate that both personally and publicly! All good and perfect gifts come down from the Father. To Him be the glory!
  • Be flexible.
As a church family expands, it’s membership must make continual adjustments and adaptations. It’s incredibly important that we remain flexible, prioritizing the Gospel above all and putting the needs of others above our own.
  • Show grace.
As adjustments are made in order to accommodate and facilitate growth, mistakes will be made too. We’ll certainly do our very best in facilitating growth and endeavor to mitigate errors, but we’re not going to get everything right. As we journey through this stage of growth in the life of our church family, let’s be slow to critique or complaint and quick to show charity and grace.

  • Make room
One simple and effective way for you to help us navigate this exciting season at North Anderson is to scoot in a little closer to one another when we gather for worship. We want to ensure that our guest are not having to get to a seat by climbing over anyone so please try to leave room on the ends of the pews so that their experience will be even better.
On a related note, we’ve opened up the overflow seating in the room to the beside the stage. It’s a small space but can seat a few people. Our Staff is affectionately calling it the “Introvert Room”, so if you’re a little more comfortable in a smaller area with less people, you’re welcome to grab a seat there.

  • Volunteer 
Lately, we’ve been really blessed with a growing number of infants and toddlers. Our wonderful childcare workers have done a great job serving their needs but we now need to add an additional nursery. With this includes a need for additional servants. If you would like to be included in the rotation of workers, please contact the church office or see Judy Brown. Those interested will have to be prescreened through a background check. This is a non-negotiable policy that ensures we have a safe space for our children to grow and learn about Jesus.

  • Join a Small Group
You might be thinking, “I thought this was about ways that we can help as the church continues to grow?”. It is…actually, this may be the way that you can help the most.

You see, as a church family expands, it becomes easier for individuals to fall through the cracks. Just showing up, blending in, and checking a box actually becomes more of a danger with growth. We don’t want that to happen to anyone!

 The BEST way to combat this is to engage into the life of a small group. There are relationships, accountability, encouragement and edification that can be forged in a small group setting that simply cannot be replicated in a corporate worship service, no matter how hard we try to make them happen.

You can help us continue to grow in a healthy, sustainable manner by jumping into a small group. There are plenty of options available for you as we have Bible Fellowship Classes every Sunday morning, DiscipleU Classes and age graded ministry groups each Wednesday, and other opportunities such as Men’s Bible Studies and Women’s Ministries.

  • Pray 
Here’s the reality: Space is limited.

When it comes to churches, for years, the standard has been that when a worship facility had reached 80% of its seating capacity, something needs to be done or the attendance will begin to wane because people do not like to be crowded.

You may or may not realize this, but that percentage actually changed a couple of years ago. During the global pandemic, we became averse to crowds and have actually been conditioned to avoid them. It's part of our subconscious now. Because of this, many experts in the field of church growth now suggest that 70% capacity is the new standard.

As of the moment, we’re ok and are making small adjustments where we can in order to address the growing number of people joining us for worship, but we know that if we desire to accommodate the growth we’re currently seeing and facilitate growth in the future, those small adjustments won’t be sufficient anymore. We will simply have to make some major changes.
I’m not a fan of reactive leadership. I believe that strong and effective leadership is proactive, instead.

The heart of our leadership at North Anderson is not to put us in a position where we are scrambling to come up with a plan when our backs are against the wall but rather to go ahead and position the church to receive God’s blessing.

Is that presumptive? I don’t believe it is. I believe that it’s faith.

What will that look like? That’s what I am asking you to partner with us in prayer about. Ask the Lord to grant wisdom, direction and the boldness to act on what He reveals.

On a personal level, I want to say a heartfelt thank you, North Anderson family.

For a little over a year now, we’ve been implementing some changes in everything from our methodology to staff responsibilities, aesthetics, digital ministry focus and style. Some of these changes have been minor adjustments that were nearly unnoticeable, and others have been very clearly seen. The heart behind these changes has always been the goal of reaching more people with the Gospel, discipling more people in their walk, reaching an age demographic that we were experiencing lack in, and positioning the church to do ministry in a not-so-distant future that will be radically different than the one we exist in right now.

That’s been the driving force behind these, I believe, necessary changes.

The society and culture that we are currently living in will be viewed as an ancient relic in a relatively short period of time. Whether we like it or not, everything around us is changing at a rapid pace and there is wisdom is understanding that fulfilling the Great Commission will require us to make continual adjustments to the way we do things. Same message, of course, but different methods.

That being said, I also acknowledge that even when we realize it’s necessary and that it’s rightly motivated, change can be very difficult. I’ve spoken personally to many of you who had really good questions and concerns about some of the things we’ve implemented or the direction that I was leading us. Those questions and concerns didn’t offend me! In fact, I appreciate them and welcome these kinds of good-faith conversations as they sharpen my own focus and produce clarity for all.

I’ve asked many of you to be patient and “trust the process”. That was likely difficult early on as we weren’t seeing immediate fruit. Yet, so many of you did and now we’re in the exciting beginning stages of a harvest that the Lord is graciously bringing to North Anderson. Thank you for sticking in there even when it was tough to do so. Thank you for embracing change for the sake of the Gospel impacting the next generation, even when the change didn’t suit your own preferences. That speaks VOLUMES about your heart, character and motivation! I deeply, deeply appreciate that and each of you!

Grace, Peace, and Blessings,

Pastor Kyle