The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it. Is. 60:22
As well as being the Director of Manchester City Mission I am also the Pastor of a small church in my home town of Oldham. Back in 2002, a group of us from different churches felt the call to plant a church in a part of the town called Moorside. The journey has been a fantastic mixture of frustration and joy, disappointment and elation.
It goes without saying then, that I have the greatest respect for all church leaders, especially those who are leading “the least” and the “smallest” churches.
Isaiah 60:22 is a verse that I love and that I pray through most if not every day. It’s a promise that is only applicable to “the least” and “the smallest”. The great and the mighty have no part in it, except maybe to look back to humble origins with gratitude.
It’s a reminder that God is a God of “suddenlies”. In its time he will hasten it! Growth may not come for season after season, and yet when God moves, he moves all at once and suddenly the empty seats start to fill up and the leadership team start discussing a larger building. We cannot predict the future based upon the present, and dare not be discouraged by present smallness. For this we need steadfastness.
It’s also a reminder that “He is the Lord”. The latest church growth model or evangelistic fad does not impress him. He produces growth “in its time”, meaning when He sees the time is right. Too soon, and the church may crumble on weak foundations. Too late and it may wither with discouragement. For this we need patience.
Its a reminder that God is a God of multiplication. This is how he revealed himself in the garden, as well as to Abraham. It is also how we see him revealed in Acts. For those in a season of “least” or “smallest”, this requires faith to see what God can do with the smallest seed.
MCM is committed to seeing the churches in Manchester grow. We honour the biblical partnership between the local church and the missionary band. We do what we do both “with” and “for” the local churches. It is a holy symbiosis that brings glory to him.