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06/24/2002 Entry: "Church Growth"

Our friend Craig has raised the subject of Church Growth on his blog:

"Church growth" has become an ugly phrase in some circles. It is almost synonymous with a kind of godless marketing technique, with church as producers and the public consumers of religious product X. And so churches looking to grow begin to look like Coca-Cola or McDonalds - we have objectives, strategies, graphs, programs, surveys, meetings, product branding, awareness campaigns etc."
Quite. As a minister, of course I want to see growing churches. That goes without saying. But I do need to guard against the temptation to equate growth with success. Christians should be the first to recognise that attracting the most people does not necessarily reflect faithfulness to the gospel, and may indicate the reverse. Preaching the truth will probably be less popular than telling people what they want to hear. A 'feel-good' gospel will be more attractive than the challenge of the Cross.One of the things that really bothers me about some "growing" churches is the way that they have often grown; namely, at the expense of other congregations in their community. In my view, unless there are very pressing reasons for making the change church pastors should encourage people to stay where they are. Church congregations are like families. It causes tremendous, though often silent, hurt when someone 'jumps ship'. Even more important, it creates the impression that congregations are in competition with one another, rather than servants of the same master. (Of course, they often are in competition - but pastors should know better than to encourage that mind set)

Replies:

As a pastor, I totally agree. It's hard not no equate numbers for success, but I have to remember God isn't looking at what I'm doing but who I am.

Posted by Joshua @ 06/25/2002 12:56 PM CST

Hi. Linked this up with Thinking Out Loud's post in Blog Watch today. Good piece of work. Blog on!

Posted by Bene Diction @ 06/25/2002 02:25 AM CST

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