I've never met a pastor who didn't claim (emphasis on claim) that he wanted to see his church grow. It would be pretty questionable to say "We're locking the doors. No more room in this lifeboat, folks. Move along." But then, in reality, I've observed many of the same pastors declare that they don't want their churches to grow, not with words, but with actions! These guys refuse to take the necessary steps and make the necessary changes to enact and enable church growth.
Once in awhile, I do meet people who will actually admit that they want a small church (how embarrassing for them). Some say they don't like big churches. Some fear they'll fade into anonymity. Some would rather have power than let new people enter into their domain and water down their influence. Some reclusive churches out there essentially have the unspoken motto: "Us four- no more. Us three - let us be. Just two- it will do. Only one - I'm done!" If you've ever been to a church like this, you'll never forget it. The whole place smells like death....spiritually. Which is usually soon followed by actual death organizationally.
Here are 4 reasons why I unashamedly love church growth.
1. Jesus loves church growth.
He said, "I will build my church." Unless you think Jesus sucks at his job, then the Church will grow. Healthy things grow. It's true that unhealthy things can grow too (like cancer), but unhealthy things that grow (like cancer) will soon end in a miserable death. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. The bible says, "anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." If you're one of those "anyones," then you should be glad that Jesus didn't close admission into the kingdom of God before you got your ticket! Jesus is all about church growth. If you love him, then you have to like what he likes. Period.
2. Church growth forces us to get better.
It's just the undeniable nature of a growing organization. The bigger it grows, the more complex it becomes. The more complexity involved, the more glaring any deficiencies become. I've never pastored for one day when there weren't multiple deficiencies and weaknesses caused by the growing & changing nature of our church body. These are the absolute best problems a boy could ever hope for! When we grow, we must get better at everything. We have to communicate better, organize more efficiently, and trim away the fat in order to stay healthy. The church can only continue to grow as it continues to improve, and the improvements simultaneously cause the church to get better, which leads to more growth, which...
3. Church growth creates opportunity for leadership development.
There are few things that thrill me more than watching a person grow in leadership capacity. When a church grows, opportunities arise for new people to take on more responsibility. In unhealthy churches, any rising stars have to leave in order to find any real opportunity. But in growing churches, they can flex and run and conquer within the house that they already belong to. This is God-honoring, biblical, and beautiful. I love watching people go from greeting at a door, to leading a small group, to coaching other group leaders, and beyond! Some sheep were actually born to be shepherds. How much better is it when a shepherd can rise up from within and take care of the sheep he already knows?
4. As the Church grows, Hell shrinks.
Thousands of people die each hour and enter into an eternity separated from the God who loves them! "I'd rather keep my nice little situation undisturbed than help them" - said the heartless Grinch. I will do whatever it takes to keep even one more soul out of Hell. If it's not a clear sin, I will do it. If it's a gray area, I'll probably still do it! Because eternity is long, Hell is hot, and people matter.
What are you doing to help your church grow? Are you afraid that if it grows, you'll become just another number? This is a myth. You can be known and find community in a big church just as easily as you can stay detached and unknown in a small church. Put aside personal preference. Pick up the cause of Christ. And make it your own, today!