Hi Brother Hamilton,
I've been thinking a lot about moving back home to try to build my home congregation back up. I'm currently going to school not in the area and this summer break has really been a wake up call. My congregation is scantly populated by mostly grey haired people. I love everyone with grey hair, of course, without their influences I wouldn't have become become a Christian the way I did, but in the next twenty years, most of their lives will be over. They will be meeting the Lord in whatever way their lives lead them to and the area will have lost its only light. There is another group in the area, but they're about as liberal as one can imagine. I'm scared of the congregation having to fold and the only option in the area remaining being an extremely liberal congregation, whose lampstand God may very well have put out years ago. But I don't know how much difference I can make on my own. I don't really know how to go about making this decision. Do you have any advice? I have a couple years of school left before I make the decision.
Thanks so much.
Even if a young man doesn't become a formal preacher, I strongly encourage everyone to be active in their community and in their church to spread the gospel. Congregations do die out because members get complacent. Even when people aren't active, there is enough going on in a congregation to keep it going for about a generation or so. But without new people becoming Christians, eventually a congregation dies out. You can't even count on the next generation to be there to pick up the reigns because young people often move out to start life on their own.
Populations shift as well. Booming business in an area doesn't always remain booming, as Michigan and Indiana are experiencing at the moment. Young people tend to move where the jobs are.
Typically I don't recommend that a young man start preaching in his hometown. Preaching is a tough job and it becomes harder when you don't have respect. Think about how your parents still treat you as a child even though you're now grown and realize it isn't just parents who have the problem of no longer seeing you as the rambunctious teenager you once were. I would suggest getting experience elsewhere before moving back into town. Plus your experience elsewhere will give you ideas to use back home that you might not have thought of before.
Another observation that I've noticed over the years is that like tends to draw like. A young couple moving to an area will often, though not always, tend to draw other young couples to come. Someone has to start the trend. Nothing is more frustrating than to see a family with young kids come and then leave because there are no young kids in the group, which is true because each doesn't stay.
Realize that no matter where you live, you can always be an asset to the Lord and you will be needed wherever you are.