The Ballestero Blog

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The Church That Wouldn’t Grow

with 3 comments

A re-post from The Home Missions Chronicles.

A true story of a real place and real people.


The Church That Wouldn’t Grow

The modest little building stood on the corner with a small sign announcing Sunday and Wednesday service times. It had been a church now for almost 30 years. The pastor and his wife had started it themselves. They were glad to have a revival because revivals were rare for them. They couldn’t afford to have an evangelist, and they couldn’t afford not to. For some reason, members didn’t last very long at their church.

They survived on a very modest income from her job. He became disabled years ago. She played and sung beautifully. The four people in the audience joined in. He apologized for the low number. He tried to describe in detail the last family or two that had left. Jobs. That had to be the reason, he was sure.

The church would grow to twenty or so and then the people would move off or quit. Now it was down to it’s smallest size in a long time. (When you are preaching to four people, it is hard to keep from getting downright personal.) They just could never get it past twenty and it stay there very long. What was the problem? What was the fix? The reason the church did not grow was amazing to him. The pastor and his wife were the sweetest of people and folks in the city seemed to love them. Why wouldn’t it grow?

The evangelist had pulled his trailer there, paying his own expense and knowing the lack of funds available to the pastor, he had informed him that he would not take an offering but rather would like to be a blessing. No visitors came. No outreach was noticeable. The only person without the Holy Ghost never prayed during the 2-week revival. There was no jubilant worship. No hand clapping or shouting. No conviction in the service. Not one ‘Amen’ was said. The only songs were sad, sweet hymns sung by the pastor’s wife as she played the keyboard. No one else joined in to worship.

The pastor wasn’t young anymore. He felt he had tried everything. Why wouldn’t it grow? Was it the people? Was it him? Was it the location? The economy? What was it? Was God done with him here? Where would he go if he left? The city was beautiful. Jobs seemed plentiful enough, but the church never grew.


Why couldn’t they have revival?

Was it that God was not adding daily to the church?

Was it the lack of pastoral and leadership skills?

Was it that the new people never got grounded in the doctrine?

Or, was it a the kind of city that the pastor needed to shake the dust off of his feet and move on? He really didn’t know. He couldn’t figure it out. The pastor died not knowing.

Sadly, the church is still really not a church today. A couple sweet old ladies pray together now, but that is about all they have.


This Too Is Home Missions!



If your church is alive, vibrant, and a revival church… be grateful.  Be a witness. Be a worshipper. Be faithful. You are very blessed! (Remember, Church is what you make it!)



Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 28, 2018 at 7:17 am

3 Responses

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  1. Bro. Ballestero we are looking so forward to having you next month in Richmond, IN.

    Gotta say though I read this blog with eager anticipation that a revelatory answer was coming and then…….

    God bless you Brother, so love and appreciate these blogs!

    B. Puckett

    July 28, 2018 at 9:51 am

  2. Brother Ballestero, always enjoy your articles, I too was pondering the fact, of why it is so hard to get people really committed to living for God and be faithful. An elder related to me some time ago, “I don’t envy you younger guys, you are pastoring a different people than I pastored!” Then to see some break ranks and go full charismatic and throw stones at the Apostolic movement like they are now free from what had them bound! Those that leave the Apostolic movement don’t realize that they are dooming many generations to knowing and loving this glorious message of truth. Then they want to publicize photos of their family and the fact they don’t have to abide by holiness and now they dress and look like the world!

    Pastor Ricky James( Florence, Miss.)

    July 28, 2018 at 3:04 pm

  3. I just now re-read “The Church that wouldn’t Grow”, I read it when it came out, but I’ve ‘changed’ in my walk with Him, and it meant more to me this time. I hate reading sad Apostolic church stories, but we need them – to open our eyes that it can happen to us. From what I read it – just happened; no one’s fault. All we can do is – TRUST GOD.

    Sydney Heimericks

    November 11, 2018 at 7:56 pm

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