Y’all, there are churches that grow numerically without Christ-centered preaching and teaching. Without naming names, there are churches with 10K+, 20K+, 30K+, and even 40K+ members and many lack a concise Christ-centered message.
That said, these institutions may be growing numerically but not spiritually. My evidence? The first century Church grew organically because of the compelling message of the risen Christ (Acts 2:22-41), but also because of the Church’s approach to ministering to the lowly, healing the sick, sacrificial giving (Acts 2:45), and the well-being of God’s people (Acts 2:44). These ministry aspects are increasingly missing in many churches.
Another reason many churches grow numerically is that there is a hoarding spirit present.
Oh, yes, many churches are good at looking good. They take in lots of money and sponsor many mission trips. They have great community outreach programs. They have beautiful sanctuaries and annexes. They have polished television, radio, and internet ministries.
But how many new churches do they plant? How many smaller churches do they bless with material or financial resources? How many LOCAL churches do they fellowship with? Not many.
Because it’s better to direct resources toward packing their own houses! Increased tithes and offerings provide vital capital for ambitious programs and projects that increase the prestige and visibility of that ministry. Fellowshipping doesn’t happen for fear of “sheep-stealing” and the resulting reduction of revenue.
And, while we’re on revenue, let’s talk about money. A lot of churches grow because they have built psychological models of guilt, coercion, and fear for tithing and offering. Some of their pastors and teachers are in touch with their inner-pimp, while others resemble the snake-oil salesmen of the late 19th century.
In other words, love is not the center of their giving! In order to properly understand giving, folks have to be inculcated with the principles of love. When you give out of love, you give cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7) and when you give there’s a blessing coupled with that (Luke 6:38).
I could go on and on but the net of this is, church doesn’t have to be big to be effective. An old preacher told me once, “It’s better to have 5 effective saints than 5000 pew-sitters.
Â©2011 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)