THE NASHVILLE CHURCH OF CHRIST (Nashville, Ohio) is now well over 100 years old. Nashville, Ohio is a small, rural community; current population 325 people.
I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH to enjoy my ministry internship at the Nashville Church of Christ (NCOC) in 1983 and to be invited back as their Summer youth minister in 1984. NCOC was a small congregation with a huge love for the Lord. The congregation was the nicest group of people I had ever met. There were kind, friendly, hospitable and deeply spiritual. They loved the Lord. Yet it was a small congregation. They had been a small congregation for many years. And, situated in a very religious county with a lot of choices for people to choose from, there were a certain contentment to simply maintain the congregation. Oh, yes, they welcomed visitors warmly. They desperately wanted to see people accept Jesus as Savior. But, there wasn't an urgency to evangelize. After all, Nashville had only about 300 citizens. And, the county in which they were situated, Holmes County, had over 30 churches. That was one church for every 10 persons in Nashville.
I GO BACK TO VISIT NASHVILLE OCCASIONALLY. On my last trip I drove past the old wood-framed, white church building that they had worshiped in for so many years, but I noticed the sign was gone. And, a little ways up the road I saw the NCOC sign infront of a new, modern and much larger building. On Sunday when I went to worship with them, I was surprised to see nearly 200 people in the auditorium.
AFTER THE SERVICE I asked one of the elders that I have known for many years, "What changed?" He simply said, "We decided to grow." And grow they did. They didn't let the small size of their community deter them. They didn't let the whisperings of the Devil, "you'll never grow" deter them. They didn't let fear deter them. They rolled up their sleeves and went to work. They got on the phone and invited anyone and everyone. They started Bible Studies in their homes and invited anyone who would attend. And, they even went door-to-door inviting complete strangers. And their hard work has paid off!
TRI COUNTY CHRISTIAN CHURCH is not destined to be a small congregation. The only thing keeping Tri County small is the lack of will to grow. It's time to change that mentality. And it's time to decide to grow.
JESUS NEVER CALLED HIS CHURCH to be a thermometer. He called us to be thermostats. A thermometer can just tell you the atmosphere of the room, right? But a thermostat determines what is happening in that room. So sometimes people will say, “It’s not exciting here.” Great! You can describe the condition. Now, how about helping to set the condition. Someone will say, “Not enough kids here.” Great. You can take the temperature. How about doing something to change that here. Someone will say, “We need something more for our ladies.” Perfect. Glad you can sense the need. Now, how about doing something to rally the ladies for a fun or spiritual activity.
IT'S TIME TRI COUNTY FOR SOMETHING BETTER. It's time for something more. It's time for something exciting. And, working together we can and will make a difference.