All healthy things grow.”
There may be no phrase that has caused me more ministry angst than that one.
For years, I pastored a healthy church.
For many of those years, it was a numerically growing church.
Then it wasn’t.
But, as far as I could tell, it was still healthy.
Yet I convinced myself our church wasn’t healthy, for one reason. Because the phrase, “all healthy things grow” was playing on a loop inside my head.
If It Ain’t Broke…
After all, if it’s true that all healthy things grow, then the reverse must also be true. If the church isn’t growing numerically, it must not be healthy.
So I spent year after frustrating year attempting to fix something that wasn’t broken.
Were we perfect? Of course not.
Were there constant improvements to be made? Obviously. There were and there still are.
But the changes that our church needed to make weren’t a reaction to ill-health. They were from a desire to be proactive and achieve greater effectiveness for God’s glory.
The Myth Of Inevitable Numerical Growth
If you look at your church today and see signs of health, it’s important to do what I missed doing for too many years.
Appreciate them. Build on them. And, quite frankly, enjoy them.
Obviously, if you see signs of ill-health, get to work on fixing those. But don’t believe the lie that you’re not healthy simply because your church lacks constant numerical increase.
“All healthy things grow” is not a Bible verse.
It’s not a command. It’s a general observation. And it’s generally true.
But it’s not inevitable. Or universal.
We have to stop acting like it is.
So let’s answer the question I posed in the title.
“My church is healthy, but it’s not growing! What’s wrong?”
The quick answer – probably nothing. At least nothing that will be fixed by obsessing over numbers.
Small isn’t broken. Small is normal.
And normal doesn’t need to be fixed.
Small churches need to be
And offered in sacrifice to our loving savior.
When we do that, small churches aren’t a problem to be fixed, they’re an essential ingredient in a strategy God wants to use.
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