Saturday, January 10, 2009

Church Growth is Important

It seems there are two extremes in our culture. One extreme is to think that it's most important to fill your pews/seats during every service with as many people as possible and to do whatever you have to in order to accomplish this. I'm referring to those who are less concerned with the Biblical definition of the church, and more concerned with how big they can get.

The other extreme, however, are those who do not find it all that important to grow. They say things like, "the church is for the gathering of the believers and so we do not expect to be very big because we're not going to be like the other churches who are compromising everything to reach people." I've fallen victim to this way of thinking on many occasions.
However, I believe these are both extremes. We should genuinely want the church to grow. We should long to see the church gatherings full and overflowing. However, we don't want the gathering of people to grow just to grow. We should long for the church (those who are believers in Christ) to grow. We should long to see many people come to faith in Christ and to grow in Christlikeness until the day they are made perfect before God.
So how do we do this? In my daily Bible reading today, I read Acts 6. At the beginning of Acts 6 Luke writes about the fact that the apostles needed other men to serve the people because they were going to continue to focus on the ministry of the Word (verse 4). The key to church growth is found in verse 7, "And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith." So my answer is this: the way we grow, and long to grow, is through the ministry of the word of God. If you lose that in the pursuit of church growth, then you've lost being the church. Keep the Word of God central to all you do and long and strive for others to see Christ through the ministry of the Word!

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