We all love to see our churches grow! Growth means more people are being reached with the gospel! Growth means more families restored! Growth means more addicts set free! Growth means heaven gets more crowded! But if we're honest, sometimes church growth becomes our golden calf and we lose sight of WHY we care about church growth. These 6 church growth game changers will help us get the right perspective in growing our ministries and reaching the world with the gospel.
1. Give the load back to Jesus.
Jesus promised to build HIS church (Matthew 16:18); He graciously lets us play a small part. Many times we try to bear a weight that wasn't meant for us to bear. When I was in elementary school, we had "Take Your Kid to Work Day," where I would go to work with my dad and he would let me staple papers and act like I was really working. I think our roles in building the church are a lot like a 7-year-old stapling papers at this dad's work.
2. Stop cheating on your wife.
This one is from one of my mentors, Howard Frist… Jesus said, "Love your wife as I love the church" (Ephesians 5). We aren't called to have an affair with the bride of Christ. We are called to love our wives, and Jesus is called to love the church. Are you thinking more about how to serve the church or how to serve your wife?
3. Don't idolize church growth.
Church growth as an end in itself is idolatry. We aren't called to grow a corporation, but we are called to love God, love people, and make disciples. The WHY of church growth has to be central, not growth for growth's sake. Even if the inner circle knows why we care so much about church growth (more people are being reached with the gospel and God getting the glory for it), the rest of the people you're leading may begin to idolize the numbers more than the lives changed if we don't continue to come back to the WHY.
4. Make the main thing, the main thing.
C.S. Lewis said, "The church exists for nothing else than to draw men into Christ." If this is not the reason our church exists, then we are pouring our lives into something that ultimately doesn't matter. The church becomes ineffective and irrelevant when we do things because we've always done them (even "cool" contemporary stuff). I recently heard someone say that the electric guitar is the new pipe organ. Everything we do (music, clothes, building, outreach, preaching, environments, vision, etc.) should be for the sole purpose of drawing men into Christ.
5. Don't turn church into Babel.
The church exists to make God famous, not us. The Tower of Babel wasn't wrong because they were building something incredible; it was wrong because of the WHY behind it… personal glory and self-exaltation. We have to make sure what we are building is for God's glory, not self-achievement… or else we're just a modern day Babel.
6. Real ministry is an overflow of joy in God.
Our joy must be rooted in God (Psalm 37:4) and in people coming to Christ (Luke 15), not in church growth. Jesus said, "Don't rejoice because evil spirits submit to you; rejoice because your names are written in Heaven." Our joy is meant to come from closeness with God and lost people being found. Authentic ministry is meant to be an overflow of joy in God.
Let's get back to our first love and build our churches on the rock solid foundation of the gospel, rather than building idolatrous structures that are built on the sand of ambition and personal achievement.