The book of Nehemiah is one of my favorite Old Testament books. Most of the 13 chapters of this book are told in a first person format as Nehemiah reflects back on this wonderful episode demonstrating the power of God when His people depended and trusted Him.
I almost hesitate to say anything about building or rebuilding a wall given our present political environment, but this story is too good to ignore. This is a story of a man of God with a desire to rebuild the wall and gates surrounding the city of Jerusalem and his mission to give his life to do so. Against many odds, the people rallied around Nehemiah to complete this monumental task in just 52 days! This angered Nehemiah’s enemies even more. Please don’t name your children Sanballat or Tobiah! These are just two of the jealous men who worked against the workers led by Nehemiah. There were others as well and the concerns were so great that half of the workers continued rebuilding the city walls while the other half took up arms to protect the workers. People got behind this cause. They had momentum.
Have you ever been a part of a work that grew due to momentum? I have. The church I served from 1993 through mid-2001 was such a church. In 1993, the church averaged between 500 & 600 in attendance. Five years later, the church averaged around 1,850—1,900 with some Sundays exceeding 2,100! Against the odds of not having enough parking, parking on grass lots during the rainy season, parking across the highway (not a quiet street!) and dodging cars going 55 or 60 mph, we grew. Against the odds of being understaffed, not having enough classroom space, and having to add more services because of parking problems, we grew. Our building seated 1,100! We could seat our congregation in 2 services, but had to add more services so people could find a parking spot. In spite of a minister struggling with a drug addiction problem, we grew. Why? We gained momentum and those attending were willing to look beyond these problems and see that God was in the midst of this work. People invited their friends and colleagues to come and be a part of this work that God was blessing. Was it perfect? Certainly not! The church has now relocated and averages over 2,800 on Sundays! Momentum is a valuable tool in God’s work and seeing beyond the “now” and seeing what can be in the “future”.