Church growth isn’t what you think it is.
Church growth isn’t about doing any one thing exceptionally well.
It’s more about doing many small things with excellence.
It’s more about a selfless attitude that puts others' needs first.
It’s more about discipling the congregation you have.
When people get right with God, begin growing as Christ-followers, and stay in His Church, this means disciples are making disciples.
The number one characteristic of disciples is that they begin to forsake the selfishness, which dominates the non-Christ life. Selfless disciples refuse to insist on their ways of doing church and living life. They consistently change so they can better serve God. They want to help others discover the same amazing grace by which they are saved.
The number one characteristic of some non-growing churches (not all) is selfishness. Some people refuse to change the way they’ve always done church. For the sake of tradition and poor theology, they prefer their own styles, methods, and mantras. Rather than the sweet savor of servanthood, this model wreaks like self-righteousness.
Self-described and self-defined, some congregations are inwardly focused and rarely consider new methods to reach the unchurched.
There is no clear cut path to church growth that can be applied to all congregations in all locations. There is no cookie-cutter model for every church.
In most locations, church growth looks more like small changes that line up in the same direction over a long time. This culture shift takes the commitment of many salvific-minded servants working together. Thank God! Some people change and get on board with a biblical vision.
When this happens, there will be resistance. Satan will oppose you. After all, you are robbing hell of his prey.
Some saints will oppose you. Growing pains are real. Some will find another church where they can blend in, and you have to be okay with that. Some saints will join with you because they are drawn to Great Commission vision. Some of this transfer growth is the genuine will of God.
Some saints without will oppose you too. It’s not new for others to criticize what they don’t understand. You might be accused of being “all about the numbers” or “chasing after prosperity.” But there’s no need to waste your time and energy on defending your methods. Stay on your Master’s mission.
Once the genuine results of changed lives begin to appear, there’s nothing like it. I’ve pastored through plateaued situations, and I’ve pastored through seasons when congregations are willing to change, grow, and do the work of discipleship.
I’ll confess. It’s much more enjoyable to serve a growing pastorate. Still, it’s not without challenges. But, when in growing seasons, the challenges appear more like good problems. However, you possess the comforting knowledge that God will be glorified as He helps you overcome them.
Let no one fool you, though. There is no magic bullet for church growth.
You must be willing to change. You must educate yourself with the Bible. It’s okay to learn new methods from other pastors and churches that have seen healthy growth. Don’t copy their pattern, contextualize their growth principles into your ministry setting.
Above all else, this process should be bathed in prayer. Pursue the sanctifying power of God and ask Jesus to baptize you in the Holy Spirit. Nothing can replace His power and your prayer life. Absolutely nothing.
I’ll leave you with these basic questions. Do you love God and people enough to forsake your own ways? Do you really want to grow His Kingdom or become well known for your gospel exploits?
One Pastor’s Thoughts on Church Growth was written by Pastor William Strickland. He serves as Lead Pastor of Harvest Christian Center in the small town of Cantonment, Florida. He is also the Founder and Content Manager of a different perspective. William’s over twenty-five years of varied ministry experience include a seven-year tour of duty as a denominational executive, twelve years as a bi-vocational pastor, and a short stint as a radio evangelist.