Reasons our church should grow, Part 3

September 10, 2008 at 3:34 pm | Posted in OTCC, Teaching | Leave a comment

This week, leading up to our big fall series, “Listen,” I’m giving reasons why our church should grow. As you come up with reasons, I’ll post them here, too. Let’s try for “100 reasons our church should grow”. You can read the previous posts here:

Part 1     Part 2

10. Stephen wrote:

Well I thought that just like, Where there is no vision the people perish, I think where there is no growth the people perish. However, could also be said that the two go hand in hand…

This is a great point. The translators of the Geneva Bible (the predecessor of the King James Bible), wrote this note about Proverbs 29:18: “Where there are not faithful ministers of the word of God…” Faithfulness to God and his word will naturally create an environment where the people (and thus the church) can grow. But when the people are rebellious, not following God’s will and his word, the church will be unhealthy and cannot grow.

11. Cherryl wrote:

A reason for the church to grow is so the many life experiences can be shared to encourage one another and show God’s power. But isn’t it a paradox that the “small group” is the best place to share the experiences?

Absolutely true. There are approximately 50 different commands in the Bible (yes, I counted them once) to do something to or with “one another” – love, serve, be hospitable, tolerate (yep, see Ephesians 4:2), and many more. God created us to do life together with his people, and a growing church is a great way to expand and enhance our life experiences with others.

You know, that’s a great question about small groups. In fact, I’ll write a separate post today to answer that, too.

12. A larger church can make a larger impact for God. Taken the wrong way, this can seem like a slap at smaller churches, but that’s not the intent. A larger church simply has more money, people, influence, networks, staff, etc. than a smaller church and, therefore, has the ability to make a larger impact for the Kingdom.

A great example in our area is Granger Community Church. Because of their size, GCC has been able to do a lot of things that we at OTCC just could not do. With 80+ people on staff, a budget many times over ours, and influence with the national media and churches all over the world, they are impacting this world for God in a huge way that we can’t compare to right now.

Two notes on this point: 1) Since we’re on the same team, we’re not comparing ourselves to them, so we celebrate what God is doing through them. It doesn’t matter that they can do more right now, because it’s all for God anyway.

2) I said that a larger church CAN MAKE a larger impact for God. But bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. There are lots of big churches with lots of money and people that aren’t doing squat for the Kingdom. The little 10-member house-church that actually obeys God runs those big do-nothing churches into the ground every day in terms of impact.

Bigger church doesn’t automatically mean bigger impact.
But bigger church + obedience to God always equals bigger impact.

13. Church growth is a sign of God’s blessing. (Do I have to remind you again that not all growth is numerical growth?) Not all numerical growth means that God is blessing a church, of course. There are many cults with hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of members that teach absolute heresy and blasphemy. Is God blessing them? No!

BUT… A true church – a group of people who are saved, baptized, and following God’s purposes for them – can’t help but grow. Even if they aren’t breaking any records with their attendance, growth is happening in the individual members of the church. And that comes from God.

But I also believe that a little group of genuine Christ-followers can’t stay small for long. They’re too powerful – too big of an impact. Just like people came for miles to see and hear Jesus, a local church – the visible representation of Jesus on the planet today – can’t help but grow in numbers, too, when it is both teaching and living Christ. People will accept Christ and the church will grow. It’s the same faithfulness principle that Jesus taught about money, only with people (who are much more important to God).

One of the last things Rick Warren wrote in the section on fellowship in The Purpose-Driven Life, applies here. I’m not sure we can be dogmatic about this, because Christians have been born out of some pretty tragic times. But given the unprecedented freedom and blessing we have in America during this period, it makes a lot of sense. He wrote:

When God has a bunch of baby believers he wants to deliver, he looks for the warmest incubator church he can find. (PDL, p. 167)

A small church that is faithful, not just on Sunday but throughout the week, will find themselves a spiritual incubator where people regularly give their lives to Christ and grow.

 

OK, that’s enough for this post. I might offer more later today. Watch for the post about Growing Smaller with Groups. And don’t forget to send in your thoughts about Why Our Church Should Grow.

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