I won’t apologize for wanting my church to grow. Such growth should mean more believers follow Jesus, whom God has reconciled. So there won’t be any apologies from this minister and since I don’t know a minister who doesn’t want their church to grow, they shouldn’t apologize either.
What we need to ask is why should our churches grow? The question I am getting at though is really about why do we should God bless our church with growth? Unless we are functional deists (and I hope we’re not), growth is the result of God’s blessing. No matter what practical things we do as participants with God towards this endeavor, the increase comes from God. So why should God bless our church with the increase of growth?
There are plenty of local churches in every town and there are people in every town who are seeking God. Why should God lead us to them and them to us? Some might say, “Because we teach the truth about the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Well, that is certainly important. However, that is not the only reason. Further more, if we can get past the hubris belief that our church is the only “true church” teaching the faith perfectly then we might see that the answer to the question involves more than just what we teach.
I am convinced that God wants to place those seeking him among churches where they can learn to follow Jesus as they develop a healthy faith. I am also convinced that God wants to place these seekers in churches who will not strangle the life our of their burgeoning faith.
The implications of this impact not just what is taught in our churches (already mentioned) but how our churches put our teaching into practice. Are we committed to holy and righteous living? Are we journeying as follower Jesus or just settled on maintaining the status quo? Do we love one another as Christ loves us? Do we extend grace and mercy to others who are going through difficulties? Are we peace-makers or people who thrive on conflict? Are we Christ-centered and Spirit dependent in our faith? Are we serious about living as participants in the mission of God?
How those questions are answered matter to the question of why should our churches grow. I don’t believe the local must be perfect but it seems rather presumptuous for any church to expect God’s blessing if it is not serious about living as a faithful community belonging to Christ. So if we want God to bless our churches with growth, then we might ask if our churches are living as a church God wants to grow?