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HOW TO BUILD A CHURCH.

BY

REV. C. L. GOODELL, D.D.

ST. LOUIS.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION

BY

REV. E. B. WEBB, D.D.

BOSTON.

BOSTON:

Congregational Sunday School and Publishing Society,

CONGREGATIONAL HOUSE, BEACON STREET.

Copyright, by
CONGREGATIONAL SUNDAY-SCHOOL AND PUBLISHING SOCIETY,

1883.

ELECTROTYPED.

BOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY,

NO. 4 PEARL STREET.

b

PREFACE.

a

On the twenty-seventh of November, 1882, the people of Pilgrim Congregational Church, St. Louis, celebrated, by public exercises, the tenth anniversary of their pastor's work among them. Rev. Robert West, editor of the "Advance” at Chicago, took

, part in the services, and said to the pastor, on leaving: "Write a series of articles for the 'Advance' on 'How to Build a Church.' It has been given you to see two churches built up widely apart: one in the conservative and solid East, and the other in the progressive and swiftly-moving West. I believe it will do good to tell in the 'Advance' how it has been done."

Mr. West had been for five years the successful superintendent of Home Missions in Missouri and the Southwest. He had often been present and helpful in the services of Pilgrim Church, and had received sympathy and aid in planting the waste places on his field. He desired it to appear, as an important principle, that churches everywhere, which had aided heartily, according to their ability, in building in the " regions beyond,” had in this way contributed much to their own temporal and spiritual welfare. The articles were undertaken, and written by snatches

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in the busiest of winters, amidst ever-pressing duties and cares within the church and without. The contain only hints and suggestions, and are, of course, vory limited and incomplete. They were not written for those in the ministry older and wiser than the writer, but in the hope that something might be said that would practically help many earnest builders in the Church of God that are asking, "Who is sufficient for those things?” and prayerfully seeking aid wherever it may be found.

This is an age ripe for the builder's work, that the Church of Christ may be a temple worthy of her glorious Lord. It is good to know our tools. It is needful to come back to that place where we can see what great things God can do with weak and imperfect men, if they only trust him and act on his word, as seekers after souls. Their power hides here. It is important to see that our failure, when we fail, lies in our own want of faith in God. Moses and Joshua, and Gideon and Paul, and the long line of conquerors in the divine kingdom, have been faith-men. They have taken God's word when He has said: "I will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle ; by horses, nor by horsemen, but by the Lord their God.” Such confidence in His promises has made them mighty spiritual warriors, for their hold on the sword of the Lord has led them to wield with a powerful hand the sword of Gideon also.

The spirit required for the workman of Christ, East and West, is essentially the same.

What will

succeed in one place will, as a rule, in another. The failure is not so often from want of ability or learning or right location as it is from the want of deep, believing piety. Many workers often comfort themselves too easily. They contend that the age of miracles is past; that apostolic methods are not for us, and revivals are not wise; so in the morning they sow the seed, and in the evening they withhold their hand. Little matter, they say, about their success; that is God's part, — the great thing is faithfulness. Fidelity is a great thing; but Noah's fidelity in the building of the ark would have availed little, if he had not possessed the skill also to lead in the households under his care. The faithfulness which God rewards is that which is not content till it brings results to pass. It is never satisfied to tread the old rut, year after year, making it deeper, while the churches are gradually decaying and dying under it. The truth is, faithfulness is

It never stops with routine. It carries power and conveys blessing, and, although it may not always add to the number of the saved, there is a light and splendor in the fulness of its devotion to Christ that makes the place of its feet glorious.

It stands knocking until Christ comes in and unveils His beauty, and fills the parish with a sense of divine power, making all things new.

This preaching and going to sleep on our faithfulness till God gives the increase, is what is wasting

The pastor who calls nothing fidelity which does

success.

us.

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