There are all kinds of books, videos, and podcasts on the subject of church growth. We hear all about these churches that have hundreds to thousands of members, and have experienced so much growth in their church. For me I know that I can look at church growth and think it is equivalent with how well we are spreading the gospel, or with how well I am spreading the gospel.It is impossible for any thinking pastor to not consider church growth during their ministry. If a church does not ever experience growth, there will come a day where it will be no more. I fear though that sometimes church growth can become an idol and I can spend more time thinking about how to grow the numbers in the church, rather than making disciples in the church. Now the way to focus on this and sound biblical and pious, is to call it evangelism. Perhaps you have heard pastors talk about this from the pulpit. They will say things like, "We need to do more evangelism in order to grow God's kingdom" or something to the effect. This has the consequence of making evangelism only for the unsaved. For much of my life I viewed the gospel in this way. I would think to myself, "Self, I've got the gospel, now let's move past it." I was wrong in thinking this way. I struggle with sin. I'm prideful, lustful, misleading, greedy, and lazy and self centered. These are only some of the sins that I battle against every day of my life, and they are not pretty. I know that I am a Christian however I still struggle with these sins. I need the gospel just as much today as I did back when I first believed. I think this is true of all Christians, but how often do focus on evangelizing each other? How often do we as a church tell us that we are forgiven, bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ?This is biblical and so obvious when we look at the majority of the New Testament which is made up of the letters to the church, and yet in all of those letters the gospel is presented and sometimes it is presented multiple times. Paul goes through the gospel in such detail in the book of Romans, and yet he is writing to a church in Rome. He even says that he is looking forward to evangelizing the church in Rome. If our church ever feels like it can move past the gospel, then we are not being consistent with scripture and something has gone wrong. So how does this translate into reaching out to other people? I clearly pointed out that if a church does not grow then it won't be around in time, so how does sharing the gospel with fellow believers, lead to sharing the gospel with unbelievers? To understand this, one needs to understand the transforming work of the gospel on the lives of believers. When we understand the depth of our sin, and we know the forgiveness that we have been given through Jesus Christ that is going to have an effect on the way that we live, and thus will lead people to ask us about salvation. As we are transformed more and more by the Holy Spirit, it will be seen in how we dress, how we speak, how we drive, how we work, what we watch, what we listen, and this be noticeable to unbelievers. So for those who are seeking God, we should be ready to give a response when asked. I hope no one has misunderstood what I am saying in this. I am not advocating for there to be a stop in church activities or any such thing, however I am saying let us do things out of love for our neighbors rather than a clever way to get them into the door. Let our out reach miniseries be driven by a desire to restrain the suffering in this world because of our sin, and as a way of expressing love to other people rather than something for us to invite a friend to church. Let us also understand the gospel in our own lives so well that we are able to answer questions like, "What does it mean to be saved, and how can I become a Christian, and how to get peace with God?" Perhaps if we focused more on the good news of Jesus Christ rather than growing a church, we might be surprised by how much evangelism we really do, and maybe we will be given the chance to see what God does in bringing those who are dead, to life in saving faith. What do you think about evangelism and church growth? What did you think of this blog post? Comment below and let me know what you think!
Here you can read various thoughts and discussions that come from the mind of our Pastor