Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

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Growing Healthy Churches

Story by Stewart Lozensky

My wife and I returned from vacation to find that our garden had really grown. We had some catching up to do to bind the tomato plants and weed the grow boxes. She is, by far, the main gardener, and for that I am thankful. Our garden illustrates how quickly healthy plants grow.

Healthy things grow. God calls us individually and our churches to be healthy and grow too.

Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NKJV). Our first step is to “abide” in Jesus and grow spiritually. Without Him we “can do nothing.”

We also know that healthy plants reproduce, and spiritually, healthy Christians do as well. Our con- ference’s focus is to “Reach One, Teach One, Win One.” How quickly the kingdom of God would grow if we all practiced this. At camp meeting this year, we heard thrilling stories of lives changed by the gospel and the Word of God. We also heard stories of churches experiencing real growth—even doubling in membership as a result of sharing the gospel.

In the churches that Ron Hoffecker pastors, the members are experiencing healthy growth as they participate in the conference’s Church Regeneration process. “In 1 Corinthians 11:24, Paul quotes Jesus: ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me’ (NKJV). He reminds the church of what Jesus has done and why they do what they do,” Hoffecker shares. “That is what Church Regeneration has begun in the East Suburban, Greensburg, and Washington Heights churches. We have been reminded of what Jesus has done for us, here, today, and why we are doing what we are doing. We are reminded that we are not just ‘doing’ church because that is what we have always done, but it is because of our wonderful Savior. We are refocusing on our purpose to carry this message to the world.”

Twenty-seven churches are currently participating in Church Regeneration. The process equips them to examine where they’re at and how they’re doing. It enables them to discover things that will enable them to grow healthy and share the gospel more effectively. Many are expressing that they’re now ministering with a clearer focus on mission and a renewed sense of purpose as they walk through this process.

One church felt convicted that they needed more time to pray together, so they began a daily prayer call with a small group of people praying every morning. They’ve also started a weekly prayer meeting and created a team to focus on growing a culture of prayer. They’re already seeing answers to prayer as they have prayed intentionally for specific people to commit their lives to God.

To learn more about Church Regeneration, visit

Stewart Lozensky is the Church Regeneration Director for the Pennsylvania Conference.



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