Church Growth 2

“Church Growth” has become the byword for evangelism everywhere today. The Church Growth model is almost universally applied, regardless of theology or denomination. All church activity is measured in Church Growth categories.

The Church Growth model for evangelism involves the application of secular business practices to the church. We see an emphasis upon the pastor as CEO and business management practices applied to every aspect of church life. Just as business conforms every activity to its bottom line—increased market share or maximization of profits, etc. Churches now conform every activity to the bottom line defined by the Church Growth model. Increasingly, that bottom line pertains to “noses and nickels.”

The problem is that the Church Growth model is not a biblical model, and it is failing to actually grow churches (see this recent Washington Times Article). Nowhere in Scripture did the disciples set out to “start a church” as we think of churches today. The primary concern of the New Testament disciples was to help people get right with God, not to start new churches or grow existing ones. The focus was on God, not upon themselves.

Today’s churches have been captured by modern, secular institutionalism. The values and practices of the business world have become the values and practices of churches. But this should not be!

Our emphasis upon informal Christianity is intended to restore biblical values and practices to the churches. We believe that biblical fidelity trumps church growth as a measure of faithfulness. Getting right with God, not self-aggrandizement, is the mission of the church.

This is not to say that growth is bad or unbiblical, it is not. But church growth is secondary to biblical fidelity…more>>.

Also see: Non-profit Marketing

Other Voices

A lot has happened since writing the above short essay in the previous century. Not only have a ton of church growth books been written, printed and sold, but there have also been a rash of contrary opinions. Here’s some grist for the mill:

Thanks to Eastern Watch Ministries (www.erwm.com) for the list.

Seeker Friendly

This “seeker” or sinner-friendly church growth movement theology suggests that the Church needs to be conformed to the image of the world. But the Apostle Paul writes that we (and the world) are to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 12:2). Christ is a rock of offense to the world and we are trying to make Him appealing. Decorate and disguise Christ and then you can reach “unchurched Harry and Mary” and draw people into the Kingdom? Entertain people into repentance? Whatever happened to the scriptural commandment “come out from among them, be ye separate?” (II Corinthians 6:17).

Christ was willing to become publicly humiliated (not decorated), scourged, disgraced, shamed, pulverized beyond recognition for us. But the seeker-friendly movement seems to suggest that we have to apologize for the gospel in order not to offend anyone. The Church in Symrna was one of only two churches in Revelation which Christ commended and had NOTHING against. Why? Because they were faithful even to the point of death (Revelation 2:10). These saints were willing to be (and were) martyred. At the end of time we see again saints who “loved their lives not unto death” (Revelation 12:11). In fact, even in the Twentieth Century there have been more saints martyred than since the foundation of the Church.

from Church Growth Movement Part I, Biblical Christianity or the Church of Laodicea? By James Sundquist (5/25/03)

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