The term “church growth” means all sorts of things to different people.  Some see no problem whatsoever.  Others find it to be controversial.

church pews

The question that defines it for me is?  Do your pews or seats look like this image on a Sunday morning?

Somewhere between 15 and 20% of Americans will worship as Christians this next weekend.  Regardless of your theological position, the Church needs to do something different.  I have to believe that Jesus wants more people in worship than is our current reality.

I graduated from seminary in 1985.  The “Church Growth Movement” was a popular source of clergy conversation at that time.  Such methodology for getting people to worship was deemed to be secular and contrary to the work of the Holy Spirit by many of my peers.

As with everything in our culture, notions on Church growth have undergone extensive change through the years.  But one thing has only continued to ring true.  The issue of people abandoning worship as a part of their priorities in life is only escalating.  What was a serious red flag in 1985 is now a catastrophic problem.

We don’t necessarily all agree on what the problem is, however.  To some, the concern is that there just aren’t enough people to pay the bills.  To others, they want the energy of having a sense of a quorum at worship so the place doesn’t feel uncomfortably empty.  But, if you are a Church person like I am, such things are about us.  The focus of Church is for those not present.

I recently was introduced to a first time guest by her friend who brought her to worship.  I asked about her story of life.  The woman was a bit skittish and resistant.  Her friend jumped in and said, “It’s okay.  He just wants you to go to Church.”

That wasn’t quite right.  Yes, I would love for her to be a person of worship in our midst.  But I genuinely was only interested in her as a person.  I love to meet people.  I enjoy hearing their journey of life.  I’m a pastor.  I am always looking for friends.

If you are a Church person, why do you think others should join you?  Is there something that only Jesus has to offer?  Do you think there are eternal implications for the person?  This really gets to the heart of why Church people go to Church.  If we don’t have a good idea, they why shouldn’t I just read the Sunday paper in my pajamas?

Do I want more people in the pews because of my fragile ego as a pastor?  No.  I want people in the pews because it is the best way to measure that they are availing themselves of the best chances for:  Great marriages, wonderful intimacy, profound joy, eternal promises, incredible friends, immense pleasure, and love which is found nowhere else.

At The Effective Church Group,  we talk about Church growth because we are passionate about Kingdom growth, about the Great Commission, and about people having the best opportunity at a delightful life.  Having people in the pew is not the perfect measure of such, but it is far better than any other indicator.  Don’t you want that for others?  Isn’t it unkind and unfaithful to not want this for others?

Jesus said “go” make disciples.  Where are you “going” to love those who need to be connected to Jesus and his Church?

What is your understanding of Church growth?  How has your congregation “gone” into the world?  Leave you comments below.

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