There’s nothing anyone can do to guarantee that any particular congregation will grow numerically.
No, I’m not being pessimistic, I’m being realistic.
There are simply no absolutes in church growth. At least not for the numerical increase of an individual congregation.
In my previous article, Church Growth: Your Results May Vary, I wrote “not every church that uses church growth principles grows as a result of them.” If that’s the case, some may wonder, why try at all? Here’s why.
Because, while using the right principles doesn’t guarantee growth, not using them will guarantee that we won’t grow. Or be healthy. Or have a positive impact for the kingdom of God.
When kids learn how to say “please”, they often think of it as a magic word that opens all doors. Then, when they ask “can I have some candy before dinner, pleeeease?” and they’re told “no”, they’re confused.
“Why say please if I’m not going to get what I want every time?” they may wonder. Because, while saying “please” doesn’t guarantee that I’ll get what I want, not saying “please” will guarantee that I’ll get nothing.
Church growth principles work in the same way.
Biblical Principles Unlock The Door
The best church growth principles reframe biblical truths for our particular context.
If we use them consistently and correctly, we will help a church move towards greater health and effectiveness, and we open the door to the possibility of numerical growth.
When we don’t use the right principles, the door stays locked.
Like saying “please,” using church growth principles makes church growth possible, not inevitable.
Kingdom Growth Is What Matters
Different churches contribute to the growth of the kingdom of God in different ways.
Some are senders. Some are builders. Some are multipliers. Some are spiritual hospitals. And some are spiritual boot camps.
What matters is not how many people are sitting in our building on a Sunday, but how well they’re living on mission as a result of having been with us.
Our motivation for using church growth principles should always be to see Christ’s church grow. If that results in numerical increase in our congregation, it’s wonderful. But if it doesn’t, we should still rejoice that we played our part.
Either way, Christ’s church gets the increase and God gets the glory.
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