The Idol of Church Growth

Regis Nicoll
Regis Nicoll

Whether it is gaining members or retaining members, concern over church growth consumes the thoughts of church people, clergy and lay members alike. 

Consider the metrics. With the possible exception of “tithes and offerings,” nothing is followed more meticulously than weekly attendance and membership. And nothing can create more angst than when a downturn develops.

What we should be asking

At a church conference I recently attended, a table topic was “How to Grow Church Membership.” During the discussion, one person asked how their church could break the “sieve syndrome” (as when new members entering are offset by those exiting). Another asked how they could tailor their service to “please” both young and old. (Yes, she said “please.”) Others expressed the desire to attract more young people and families.

Before I go further, let me say that there is nothing wrong with wanting one’s church to grow. A community of faith where the gospel is taught and discipleship pursued is essential for our development as children of God and co-laborers in his global renewal project. The desire for people to be drawn into that life is both noble and godly.

That said, the question churches should be asking is not “How do we grow our church?” but “How do we grow His kingdom?” Sadly, those interests are often kingdoms apart. Let me explain. Continue reading here. 

 
Originally published May 13, 2014.

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