With the rise of technology and materialism come a number of misconceptions about church and church related issues. One of these misconceptions concerns church growth. Church growth seminars are published in many websites and mass media. It appears that the trend is for churches to grow in number or else something is wrong with that church.
Along with this trend comes the question whether this is biblical or not. Isn't a church judged according to faithfulness and not in terms of numbers? Many of the church growth movement advocates pose some thought-provoking ideologies that may appear contrary to the teachings in the Bible.
The three most common teachings of the church growth movement are: It is God's will for every local church to grow in number; the felt needs of the non-church goers should be the basis for church strategy; and there is a need for reformation because churches around the world do not grow in number.
These assumptions have torn the hearts of many pastors and church leaders because they appear to have fallen short of the standards set by these church growth movement advocates. Moreover, the ones who have less talent in charismatic preaching and eloquence in speech tend to feel inferior and failures. This should not be the case. Instead of encouraging fellow believers and workers in God's vineyard, these advocates elevate themselves and discourage others of lesser gifts.
Is it really God's will that every church should grow in number? Actually, the New Testament often mentions that only a few will choose the narrow path that leads to life. The Bible emphasizes that God demands faithfulness of a few than quantity of members. It is even mentioned that many will claim to be Christ's followers but are only wolves in sheep's clothes.
The next point is about felt needs. God himself has seen what man's basic and only need is, and that is salvation from sin and hell. God has already given the solution by sending His only Son to die on the cross as a ransom. There is no other way that the church must do but to preach the plain, unadulterated gospel of truth. The approach may differ but the one need remains, thus unless a person acknowledges his/her sinfulness and need of a Savior, there will be no true conversion.
Lastly, reformation is not the answer to the seemingly lack of church growth world-wide. What really counts is faithfulness. Some churches remain small because they belong to a small community. It would be illogical to expect a larger number of church goers from a small population. In addition, pleasing God is of utmost priority rather than pleasing people. The gospel may sound offensive to many people especially the self-righteous ones. This is a fact but no one has authority to change the truth in order to just to bring many people to church. This is not pleasing to God for God hates compromisers and lukewarm church people.
Be careful then, when attending church growth seminars. Instead of gaining wisdom and encouragement, some of these may only be sources of competition and envy.
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