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Church Survival


Have you ever considered the impact the church could have on the world if we all simply did what we could?


The Key to Church Survival

by Mark Shores


The church exists because of lay people. I know people in full-time ministry seem to get all the publicity, but it’s people who fill the pews, fill the choir loft, fill the bus ministry positions, fill the Sunday School class teaching positions, work in the nursery, and clean the facilities who make up the Church. The simple fact of the matter is the church could not survive without lay people.

Most of my life has not been spent as a pastor/church planter but as a layman. I did not answer the call to pastoral ministry until age 36. Having grown up in a pastor’s home, I often say I have held every position in the church but nursery director. Through those experiences, I have come to understand at least some of the basic principles of being a good lay worker.

I began to view the laity from the pastoral perspective during my first pastorate in Illinois, and I quickly came to appreciate Marcie. Every pastor and church would be blessed to have a layperson like Marcie in the church. She is the kind of worker who never has to be asked to do anything. She is always the first to volunteer, and she works harder than any two or three people put together. She always goes above and beyond the call of duty and never complains about doing anything for the Lord. Organization is one of her strong points; everything she does is for the Lord.

Let’s take a look at three simple principles for being a valuable layman.


Stay in the Word. Even though this seems too obvious, it still needs to be said. Staying focused on His Word and seeking Him first must be the guiding principle of every believer who hopes or expects to live a victorious life.


Do what you can. The story of Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointing Jesus as found in the 14th chapter of Mark is a wonderful example. Everyone present that day considered the breaking of the alabaster box by Mary a huge waste; everyone, that is, except Jesus. When the disciples mocked her and murmured against her, and when Judas exclaimed that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor, what was Jesus’ response? “Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always” (John 12: 7, 8). Mary did a good thing; she gave her best.

Isn’t that what the Lord expects from all of us? Have you ever considered the impact the Church could have on the world if we all simply did what we could? If the Great Commission is ever going to be fulfilled, that is what it will take. It is much easier to find excuses why something can’t be done instead of doing what can.


Be sure to give it your all. I think it is relevant that Mary not only did what she could, she did all she could. She didn’t just open the box and pour out a few drops of oil to wash His feet; she poured it all on Him. This was her widow’s mite—her all. Are there a few drops left in your alabaster box? Have you poured it all out for Him? I would say this is an area where I sometimes fail. I work and give until people are satisfied, without asking the Lord if He is satisfied. Yet, isn’t His opinion what really matters?

So, remember to stay in the Word, do what you can, and give it your all. After all, your work is the key to the survival of the church!

About the Writer: Mark and Khristi Shores are serving as home missionaries in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Learn more about Free Will Baptist Home Missions at



©2011 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists