Church Growth Doesn’t Mean You’re Healthy

I’m tired of people having church growth as their number one goal for their church.
Personally, I think that’s a lousy goal to have.
Why not focus on what Jesus said in the Great Commission and what the UMC motto is: to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?

“But,” some will say, “Healthy churches will grow.”
Okay, I’ll give you that. But you know what? So will unhealthy churches. So will toxic churches. Maybe their growth won’t be for an extended period of time, but a toxic/unhealthy church will grow.
Look at the human body analogy. Healthy cells multiply and grow, but so do cancerous ones. And cancerous cells can grow and spread rapidly.

So, having church growth as your primarily goal… I don’t agree with that. We have better and far more important things to worry about as a church than increasing our numbers. Like feeding the poor. Clothing the naked. Standing up for the oppressed. Doing something about injustice.

While on this subject, a pastor from Korea, who is serving at a mega-church, was asked “How did your church grow so big?” He replied that church growth wasn’t his goal, but everyone morning of everyday was spent in prayer.
I think we pastors, myself included, often put prayer on the back burner. As a speaker once said “if you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy.” I think we would do our church, ourselves and our family a favor by focusing on prayer and making prayer a priority, rather than focusing on what’s the next big thing we can do to bring people on to our campus.

Ministry happens one knee at a time.

4 thoughts on “Church Growth Doesn’t Mean You’re Healthy

  1. You make an excellent point. Church growth doesn’t mean you are healthy. That’s probably why Christ said “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

    I encourage you and everyone who reads your blog to pray daily. Pray whenever you feel inspired to. Because the hand of God is working in the world today. We are going to see many miracles in the coming days. Expect them.

    Good luck. Keep bringing people to Christ.

  2. I agree, Pastor Joe! I wish we could get pastors and church leaders to stop emphasizing membership numbers. It would be much more encouraging if the UMC higher-ups could find another way to evaluate church effectiveness, and allocate funds and resources. Maybe someday…

  3. I agree and disagree at the same time. While I love your point about cancerous cells growing (often rapidly–great point), it is still true that a healthy organism will grow. But there is no doubt that our “bigger is better” American culture has caused too many church leaders to focus mainly on numbers rather than ministry. Growth is not only converts. It is also people becoming more like Jesus. If more leaders would do as you suggest and spend more time in prayer, numerical growth would take care of itself.

    Terry Reed
    Small Church Tools

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