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The Myth of Inevitable Growth

Not all healthy churches grow numerically—and that's okay.
The Myth of Inevitable Growth

Every healthy church will inevitably grow.

I used to believe that. After all, I've read about the "truth" of inevitable congregational growth in virtually every church leadership book. I even taught it myself.

I don't believe it any more. It's a myth.

Certainly the growth of the universal church is inevitable. Jesus said he'd build it, and he has.

But that universal church growth doesn't necessarily translate into the numerical growth of individual congregations—even healthy ones. How can I state that seemingly counter-intuitive fact with such confidence? Consider these facts:

• Some churches grow numerically without being healthy.

• Many churches that stay small are very healthy.

• Many healthy churches don't grow beyond a certain size no matter how healthy they become.

• There have been healthy churches for 2,000 years, but megachurches are a very recent phenomenon.

Recently, I wrote a blog post listing five essential elements of a healthy ...

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