Success Equals Growth?

Does anybody have a good “one-liner” to put forward when an individual assumes that a church is thriving when it is growing?


18 thoughts on “Success Equals Growth?

  1. Not really. I generally assume such when I see a church growing. Benefit of the doubt, and all,…

    But I know enough to look behind the curtain to confirm why it appears to be growing.

  2. It seems to me that it all depends on the nature of the organism. Weeds grow fast and thrive; doesn’t mean we want them in the garden.


  3. If we must meet the world on its own terms and speak in a manner that is immediately accessible on the street then we must acknowledge that the single greatest felt need of men is to empty their scrotoms. There is no more historic technique for church grow than temple prostitution. Madison Avenue knows: sex sells. Anyone can grow a “church” with that fertilizer.

  4. Kurt Marquardt said not too long ago, in reference to Church Growth philosophy, something like, “Don’t forget that one of the fastest growing cells in the body is cancer”

  5. Ask, which is better, to faithfully serve as you have been called and shepherd that flock that has been given to you home, or to lead an ever growing number of lemmings off a cliff straight to the pits of hell.

    Then read John 6.

  6. Church growth means there are more people in the seats… that is all. It is neither good nor bad in and of itself. Now the tricky part is the answer to “What does this mean?” when we see those full pews. Is it because you have preached the word rightly and according the the Spirit of God which validated the homily or is it because you have a great coffee bar and a fun Sunday school? The answer is “WHO CARES?”.

    Whether people are there rightly out of conviction of sin or they were lured by something STUPID, they are both equally sinners and they need the life-giving word that comes from God alone.

    If you are blessed by God to be entrusted with His people, my advice is DON’T BE A GIMMICK OF THE MOMENT IDIOT… give the people the REAL JESUS when they come and God has promised us He will act upon HIS PURPOSE and NOT YOURS.

    Stop counting people and start counting your blessings. The Church is CHRIST’S to do with what He pleases. Stop trying to make it “seem better” by tricking people into coming there. Preach the Word and distribute the Sacraments RIGHTLY and then you know WHERE “Church” is no matter how many sinners are there.


  7. It is not our job to bring people to church. That is the job of the “Holy Spirit”.

    Our job is to pursue a faithful Divine Worship environment under the guidance of the “Holy Spirit”.

    If the congregation is shrinking, we need to not look to the numbers of people coming and going. We need to refocus on the “Holy Spirit”.

    We probably need to rethink our congregational focus on Christ’s message of salvation. BECAUSE: There may be a reason people are being guided to other congregations by the “Holy Spirit”.

  8. The fastest growing religious body in America is the Mormon Church. They are not Christian, yet they grow. People seem to assume that growth equals God’s thumbs up.


  9. Some additional thoughts to add to Karl’s comments:

    The Mormon church claims that they are the fastest growing is a bit of a stretch. They don’t measure total membership the same way most churches do.

    The thing about the Mormon church is that they do not take members off their rolls when members leave. It takes a significant amount of effort to be removed.

    Also, when one is borne into a Mormon family children are automatically added to the roles, without direct parental consent. Even when the parents do not attent church.

    If we look hard at the actual number of members that attend church an a regular basis, it isn’t that much greater an average than any other Christian denomination.

    *And, of course, I do not have the numbers in front of me to back up my statements.

  10. Because it is the “Holy Spirit”/God/Christ/Jesus who brings people to worship. Nothing man does brings faithful people to divine worship.

    A congregation growing in numbers does not automatically mean that congregation is growing in faith.

    We are getting way to hung up on numbers in this day-and-age, and loosing our focus on true Faith and the work of the Holy Spirit.

  11. I mean,..

    Way too hung up on numbers and losing our focus on the work of the Holy Spirit.

    I’m spelling challenged tonight.

  12. Whenever God erects a house of prayer
    The devil always builds a chapel there;
    And ’twill be found, upon examination,
    The latter has the largest congregation
    Daniel Dafoe

  13. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit/God that puts people in the pews to Worship. Not the work of man.

    Nothing we do in church, or for church, brings faithful people to worship. We can bring people to church for a lot of reasons, but it is ONLY the Holy Spirit that brings us to Worship.

    Be happy when our congregations increase in size, and be concerned when they decrease. But do not look to human endeavors to “grow” a faithful congregation. It just doesn’t work that way.

    When we turn our focus to counting people in the pews, we lose our focus on the Theology of the Cross.

    Pursue a theologically correct Worship environment with the Holy Spirit as our guide, and the Holy Spirit will bring the faithful to worship with us. That’s the only way it works.

  14. But that didn’t answer your question.

    I used quotes simply for emphasis. No special reason other than that was intended.

  15. The writer Edward Abbey (1927-1989) I think is properly credited with the comparison of growth to cancer:

    “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

    His writing eloquently described the beauty of the high desert in high desert Southwest and criticized development that he thought degraded them.

    But I digress…in regard to the church growth movement that changes the doctrine, growth becomes the doctrine. Christianity becomes secondary (oh, they probably don’t think they are doing that), but what they think or admit to immaterial when you consider what actually happens to their doctrine.

    The moment we dilute our belief and change from correct practices so as not to offend anyone, we have subordinated our belief to marketing our church.

    That’s a bad place to be. We are saying that God’s message and gifts to us need polishing and changing before they are ready to share. How quickly these purveyors have forgotten how many Christ offended with his teachings seemingly because he didn’t varnish the truth to make it more attractive. How ironic that some think his example is the opposite of what we should do.


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