Church growth- who cares?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Luke2427, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. Luke2427

    Luke2427
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Messages:
    7,598
    Likes Received:
    8
    Do you?

    Do you think it matters whether or not your church is growing?

    Some will likely get "super-spiritual" here and say something to the effect of "SPIRITUAL growth, not numerical growth is what matters."

    I contend that it is exactly that attitude which is killing many churches and negatively affecting THE Church's capacity to impact this culture.

    There are some circumstances where growth is impossible- but it ought to always be important to us.

    The Great Commission is about the global conquest of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    We need to invade our communities with the love of Christ preaching the Good News, healing, helping and bettering them until we can raise the banner of the Lordship of Christ in victory over those communities.

    I'm afraid an extremely small percentage of us really have this as a goal.

    And I think that if we don't- we need to repent of our wickedness in sackcloth and ashes and get to work.

    What do you think?
     
  2. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,927
    Likes Received:
    95
    I guess that if the pastor doesn't have a secular job, that it matters a ton.
     
  3. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    16,627
    Likes Received:
    158
    We should be out in our communities contacting those who do not know Christ. Having said that we must go further and grow new Christians into deeply spiritual, deeply committed Christians. I am not of the dip them and drop them school. This has been, IMHO, a great failing among many churches and evangelists.

    I would rather be part of a small, deeply committed and deeply spiritual church than a part of a large shallow church. The Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C. is a model of this belief. Not many can take the discipline both spiritual and personal that is demanded to be a member there.

    http://www.inwardoutward.org/page/who-church-saviour
     
  4. Old Union Brother

    Old Union Brother
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good one!!!!:laugh::laugh:
     
  5. Luke2427

    Luke2427
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Messages:
    7,598
    Likes Received:
    8
    I have had a secular job on the side most of my ministry. It has always mattered to me a great deal.

    I'd go as far as to say I can't see how a pastor or CHRISTIAN for that matter can really be right with God if he doesn't have a powerful desire to see the Church grow.

    Spurgeon said it well, "If you have no desire to see souls saved- then you are not saved yourself. You can be sure of that."
     
  6. Luke2427

    Luke2427
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Messages:
    7,598
    Likes Received:
    8
    I would rather have both.

    And I would say that you will have NEITHER if you are not endowed with a desire to expand the Kingdom.

    You can claim to be getting deeper but you're not if you are not growing in your desire to fulfill the Great Commission.
     
  7. convicted1

    convicted1
    Expand Collapse
    Retired Staff

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Messages:
    9,011
    Likes Received:
    3
    Amen, Brother Luke, amen....:godisgood::jesus::godisgood::jesus:
     
  8. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    16,627
    Likes Received:
    158
    That would be the ideal. However, I am not convinced that big is better. I would rather see many smaller churches that are deep than a few huge ones. It is easier to be "family" in a smaller church where people really know and love each other.

    I do not believe anyone is arguing against that idea.

    And you are not if you are not growing in your desire to help others who are poor, in need, with problems, etc. ... not only growing in that desire but actually helping them.

    We have Christ's example. He did not refuse to help those he met regardless of their background.
     
  9. Luke2427

    Luke2427
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Messages:
    7,598
    Likes Received:
    8



    You're not going to like Heaven very much.

    This statement is contradictory to many scriptures revealing the kind of worship God desires.
    He desired Adam and Eve to multiply his image until it filled up the entire earth. He wanted a massive multitude of beings to worship him.
    He told Abraham he'd multiply his seed as the stars of heaven.
    In heaven there will not be a bunch of little churches- there will be a multitude which no man can number gathered altogether at once about the throne.

    Smallness is not more spiritual- I think it tends to be less.

    Not always- but often. It may be that small mindedness when it comes to the Kingdom is always very unspiritual.
     
  10. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,641
    Likes Received:
    0
    Please explain this...

    I am a bivocational pastor, and I'm not sure what you're trying to say.
     
  11. mont974x4

    mont974x4
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    1
    The OP creates a false conflict.

    Don't confuse a growth in your numbers with church growth. Don't assume that those of us that are less concerned about a growth in our numbers are against saving souls. The reality is that many of us care deeply about the lost, want to see souls saved, and want them to be discipled as they should for personal growth in Christ-likeness.

    I don't care where people fellowship. I want people who do not know Christ to come to know Him and those who do know Him to know Him more fully.


    Now, as to why the Church is in effective?
    1. Could be the times. As the day of our Lord draws ever closer people will be increasingly drawn to false teachers and false teaching. Remember Paul's instruction to Timothy regarding preaching the Word.

    2. Could be the times. In these last days people are less concerned with living for Christ. Being a Christian is a Sunday morning event, people do what they want the rest of the week.



    Preach the Word, Brothers, and let God do the work. He is sovereign and the results are His alone. Be faithful to Him and the Word, that is our calling.
     
  12. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    16,627
    Likes Received:
    158
    Comparing heaven with the church is illogical. I do not know any church that I would remotely consider heaven. Be careful are you may be guilty of selling cheap grace. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer so wisely put it in his excellent book, The Cost of Discipleship ---



    I must say you take a very liberal interpretation of verses when you are straining at a gnat to swallow a horse.
     
  13. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,051
    Likes Received:
    0
    :thumbsup::applause:
     
  14. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    As a general statement I truly believe that growth is a sign of health and a sign of changed lives.

    Granted, I think we all know anybody can draw a crowd with a good style and easy message. However, if you are doing well in your ministry, over a long term, you will see growth.

    How we measure and understand that growth is important. Let me give you a couple of scenarios:
    - A church that grows from 50 people to 5,000 people in five to ten years (I know of five or six churches like this) that have proper teaching, biblical preaching, and are wholly orthodox in belief.

    - A church that maintains a general number of members and families but is constantly planting new churches and sending members out on mission.

    - A church where the members are about getting and going rather than sitting and soaking. I think horizontal growth is just as important as vertical growth and you can have both. Ultimately you have to look around and ask whether the people showing up every Sunday are moving from passive observers to active contenders.

    - A church that sees a consistent number of new members coming in, perhaps 5-15% growth, over a long term. This is a sustainable, long term growing context.

    I think these are four examples of healthy growth in a church. When we grow we find ourselves having more opportunities for ministry to others. Growth is a dynamic movement of the Holy Spirit that draws others in while equipping and sending scores out.

    I've heard this a lot of people, usually in dying churches or non-growing churches. Its a hard sell and I wouldn't want to be making it. Usually we find that people that talk about quality instead of quantity (when they should be able to talk about both) might have the capability to see growth happen.

    I remember a friend who went into a medium sized Baptist church in Missouri that had cycled through five pastors in 15 years (not a good trend.) They had stayed at that number even as the community around them was growing. My friend knew there was something holding the church back and through several leadership decisions, altering their methodology in some areas, and bringing vision he released the cap on the church and they began growing quickly. They've almost tripled in four years. He's a great pastor and a great leader, but you wouldn't think of it if you heard him preach. God honoring, God submitted leadership changes things.

    I disagree with two things here:
    1. Growth isn't impossible in any circumstance, but we can agree that exponential growth is untenable over a long term.

    2. The Gospel isn't about conquest (that is a power of this world model) but is about transformation. We are changed people because of grace, but because of military or political or even social might. Sustainable growth in churches begins in the heart, not on the influence a tongue or personality.

    Too many ministers take a backseat to growth because they are afraid of what it means. Auto-pilot is an easy way of life.

    That said I will concede several things:
    1. As I mentioned this idea from some leaders that we need to see exponential growth over decades doesn't work. Every ministry grows through ups and downs. You will not see growth in some years as the same as others.

    2. Some leaders get so enamored with growth they will sacrifice their staff members to achieve a worldly number. This has happened to me. A senior pastor of one of my first churches had a number he wanted to hit attendance wise. We weren't making it after two years and he fired half of the staff one Monday. That isn't healthy or God-honoring growth.

    3. Numbers do matter to me...however, when I evaluate them I try to see them as a tool among many to understanding situations and contexts. If we see a sudden drop off in a group or ministry after a season of growth, that is worth investigating further. Sometimes, though, our people vote on over-programmed ministry by just disengaging. This happened recently in our ministry. So we just shut the program down and moved on.

    4. If we lay out a prayer-bathed, Gospel-breathed, God-led strategic vision based in ministry to people and not feeding the ego we will see growth. However, growth begins with humility. Just my thoughts. :)
     
  15. Luke2427

    Luke2427
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Messages:
    7,598
    Likes Received:
    8
    I did not confuse the two. Did you even READ it?????

    This is why our nation is a mess in my opinion. Too many people in the church give lipservice like this to the Great Commission without giving any life service to it.


    That's not all God cares about. He cares about that a great deal- but you don't get to know him better without having a stronger and stronger desire to bring more and more people to him too.


    Paul was talking about Timothy's day. We have been in the last days since the ascension of Christ.

    This begs the question. My whole argument is that the REASON for the lessening concern with Christ is BECAUSE the church is not making an impact- the reason it is not is because of so many Christians who really don't care that much about growing numerically.

    I contend that you are not growing AT ALL spiritually if you are not growing in your desire to grow numerically.

    I contend that any spiritual growth you think you have while being largely uninterested in growing numerically is BOGUS spiritual growth.



    This statement is the ESSENCE of why I think we are losing our nation.

    It is, in my opinion, spiritual gobbly gook that excuses the church's sorriness and lack of vision in this culture.
     
  16. mont974x4

    mont974x4
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    1
    The error, which is a great lie from the Devil, that has been swallowed by you and so many other people in the church is that we are "kingdom builders" and that growing the church is our job. That is man-centered garbage that does not exalt the Son, does not glorify the Father, and denies the power and work of the Spirit.

    I spent enough time with Word of Faith and other prosperity peddlers to know where that kind of thinking comes from and it's not of God.
     
  17. Luke2427

    Luke2427
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Messages:
    7,598
    Likes Received:
    8
    The Great Commission is about expanding the Kingdom of God. We will answer to God for whether or not we pursued it with passion in this life.

    I'll tell you this- this is a matter that is WAY more important than the Calvinism/Arminianism issue.

    You can be a 5-point Arminian and be a wonderful servant of the Kingdom of God.

    But if you are not Kingdom minded, and Kingdom driven then you have an IMMEASURABLY more serious problem than having a questionable soteriology.
     

Share This Page

Loading...