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Can a church, especially a “First” church continue to be relevant and have a dynamic growing Sunday school after 170 years of existence? Are the principles that Houston’s First Baptist employed to keep their Sunday school a relevant and effective ministry transferable to other churches regardless of the age, size, or location of the church?
Bill Hybels once said, “There is no such thing as a growing church.” He meant that if you look at the long history of a church, no church consistently grows every year, year after year. There are seasons of advance and seasons of retreat. There are seasons to re-dream the dream. What got you here won’t always get you there. Some churches that are great churches will go through periods of rapid growth, and then the growth slows although they can still have a significant impact in the community. After a while, they may have another strong season of growth. Some churches that once were so strong and were reaching people begin to stagnate and eventually plateau like the vast majority of congregations and never regain the powerful witness, energy, and excitement that once characterized them. Why? Most of those churches have stopped doing church the way they once did. The key among those changes is that almost without exception their Sunday school no longer functions according to the principles that it was designed to accomplish. Houston’s First Baptist provides a great example of how a church can overcome the slumps, seasons, and changes of leadership to get back on track and continue making progress in effective ministry.
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