3. Numerical Growth Is More Like Art Than Science
Church growth principles are often presented like a scientific formula. As if growing a church was similar to losing weight. Difficult, to be sure. But once you make the commitment, it’s ultimately a matter of mathematics.
To lose weight you have to burn more calories than you take in. To grow a church numerically you have to remove as many obstacles to growth as possible.
Follow the formula and the results are inevitable, right? Wrong.
While there are valuable principles we all need to learn and apply, church growth isn’t formulaic. There are too many variables.
Church growth principles are more like teaching someone to paint or play an instrument than helping them lose weight. They can learn the principles, try really hard, and get everything right, but never become the next Henri Matisse or Eric Clapton.
Church growth is the same. Getting the principles right is helpful, even essential. But they’re going to come out differently in every situation.
Church growth is not inevitable. And that’s okay.
Because, while you won’t duplicate the numerical successes of a Rick Warren or an Andy Stanley, you can accomplish something just as vital and important in your context as they have accomplished in theirs.
Any artist who tries to duplicate the work of Matisse or Clapton can only become a lesser copy of the original. But when you learn their principles, then apply them properly for your context, something new and wonderful can emerge.
So keep learning, praying, equipping and striving. Not just for more, but for better.
Even if the numbers don’t show it, a small church can become healthy and vibrant – even innovative and ground-breaking.
Your church’s success won’t look like any other church’s success. Because your church isn’t like any other church.
Besides, it’s not really your church anyway, is it?
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