Just the other day, I was reading the blog of my friend, Dale Jenkins. In his latest blog post, he mentioned a familiar phrase that had come to his mind with renewed meaning. That got me to thinking. I recently had the same thing happen.
I was watching a television show where authorities had a locksmith open a safe box for them. He had a listening device that allowed him to hear the tumblers fall as he reached the right number in the combination. When all of the tumblers fell into place the thick steel door opened with ease.
In my lifetime, I have preached for a couple of different congregations that seemed to have a one tumbler concept. Both of them had had their share of trouble before I moved there. In one, they believed initially that once people heard about them hiring a young, conservative preacher, they would just flock in the doors and want to become members of that church (oh that I had that kind of power). The other was looking for a “messiah” of sorts. Someone who would come in, preach the right series of sermons, and all of their troubles would vanish away (again, oh that I had that series of sermons).
The problem in both places was that some brethren failed to understand the “combination concept.” Great churches — strong churches — are never built by a single ingredient. Too many elderships, search committees, and congregations are looking for just the right “pied piper” to sweep into their church and suddenly make them grow like the church in Jerusalem. They continually search in vain because they do not pay attention to the rest of the tumblers in the combination.
What we need to realize is that great and strong churches are built by a combination of godly elders, working deacons, faithful preachers, serving saints, and so on. It is a combination of things that makes a church. When all of the tumblers fall into place the doors of opportunity will swing open easily where they appeared locked and difficult before. Jesus created the church to function in this manner (1 Corinthians 12:24), so that every member could supply that which is needed to strengthen the body (Ephesians 4:16).
Do faithful preachers help churches grow? You bet! But, take heed to the rest of the tumblers, and the doors of opportunity will swing wide!