Change can be difficult! There is a natural resistance to change, but sometimes we (the church) struggle a little too much with change, making it harder than it needs to be. After all, things have changed a lot in the last 2,000 years and they will continue to do so until the return of Christ. Some of the most effective words that hinder a church from moving forward are “we’ve never done it that way before.”
The excellence of the church does not consist in multitude but in purity.
In order to see God’s church grow, we should use the means God has given to us… Preaching the Gospel is the normal way God grows His church. Added to this there is also prayer. Again and again in the book of Acts we find the early Christians in prayer. And as we beseech God for conversion and for maturity, we find God granting our prayers. The more we pray the more we acknowledge that God is the reason for any growth that comes. We acknowledge, in humility, that any growth that comes does not ultimately come from us.
Thom Rainer did a study a number of years ago asking formerly unchurched people the open-ended question, “What factors led you to choose this church?” A lot of surveys had been done asking the unchurched what they would like in a church. But this study asked the formerly unchurched why they actually were now in a church. The results were surprising: 11 percent said worship style led them to their church, 25 percent said children’s/youth ministry, and 37 percent said they sensed God’s presence at their church. For 41 percent, someone from the church had witnessed to them, and 49 percent mentioned friendliness as the reason for choosing their church. Can you guess the top two responses? Doctrine and preaching – 88 percent said the doctrine led them to their church, and 90 percent said the preaching led them there, in particular, a pastor who preached with certitude and conviction… When it comes to reaching outsiders, bold, deep, biblical preaching is not the problem. It’s part of the solution.
The Secret to Reaching the Next Generation by Kevin DeYoung taken from Don’t Call it a Comeback, edited by Kevin DeYoung, copyright 2011, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org, p. 27-28. Get this book!
If Jesus Christ is the head of the church and hence the source and goal of its entire life, true growth is only possible in obedience to Him. Conversely, if the church becomes detached from Jesus Christ and His Word, it cannot grow however active and successful it may seem to be.
Numerical bigness has become an infectious epidemic
Every sinner who repents and turns to Christ adds another spiritual stone to God’s temple, another member to His Body, and becomes another forgiven and cleansed sinner who is made eternally one with every other forgiven and cleansed sinner.
It seems ironic at first, but trading in size for faithfulness as the yardstick for success is often the path to legitimate numerical growth (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
Whatever means you use to get people into the church is precisely what you must use to keep them. If you get them with a ‘religious circus’, then you must keep the circus going – keep up the entertainment. If you get them with biblical preaching and teaching, then that will keep them and you will not need the entertainment.
If there were such a thing as a seeker, what would he be seeking? The church growth movement seems to believe he would be seeking more of the same. In a world consumed with lighthearted entertainment, we offer up less professional, less entertaining lighthearted entertainment? Why, I keep wondering, would a “seeker” get up on a Sunday morning, and travel to some giant box to hear a third rate rock band preceding a third rate comic giving a third rate “message” that leaves him in the same state that he arrived in?
[Church] growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.
Christians are to be in the world, but not of the world, positively living out their faith in their various vocations in the “secular” realm and influencing it for the good, while remembering that their ultimate citizenship is in heaven.
One would think that [persecution] would be an obstacle to church growth when joining the church meant a death sentence. And yet, the age of persecution was the greatest period of church growth in history.