Do You REALLY Want Your Congregation to Grow?

Do You REALLY Want your Congregation to Grow?

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

(Taken from “Five Lies We Like to Tell About Church Growth,” by Dan Hotchkiss)
If I would take a poll of our members, asking them just one question, “Do you want RiverWalk to grow,” rare would be the member who would say, “No.” By far most of the members polled would say something to the effect of, “Of course we do!” But is that truly the case?
Consider what it means to you, the member, if the church really grows.
First, true growth takes away the normal routine of things and replaces it with something that sometimes may feel rather strange and even foreign. There are new people sitting in pews where others used to sit. There are new faces and new names to learn. And these new people bring with them new ideas, perhaps a different religious language, and different points of view on many things. The established members can easily become uneasy because of the new people coming and introducing new ideas, language, and ways of doing things.
Second, the leadership in the church may have to “move over” in some respects to make way for new leaders that will arise out of the newer members. And some volunteer leaders of a ministry may find that newer members have both a better talent and ability for the ministry than they do, as well as the desire to plug into that ministry. If we are going to offer our best to the Lord, and if we are going to use the gifts that God gives us, established members may need to recognize the greater talent and ability of a newer member, step out of the way to make room for those newer members in ministries of service and find other ways to use their own abilities.
Third when a church really grows, there are inevitably new faces and new people that established members haven’t met and don’t know. Or there is the fear that established members have introduced themselves at one time, but can’t remember a new name or face. Fellowship time can be an unsettled time for established members who aren’t good at name recall or face recognition.
If we really understand what church growth brings, we won’t want it in the sense that we necessarily like it or are comfortable with it. Because true church growth brings change, and change brings discomfort, and discomfort brings uncertainty, and uncertainty brings feelings of longing for the “old days.”
The only reason a sane person would want a church to grow is because he believes the church has something of great importance to offer to people. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that something of great importance, and is the pivotal reason why we would willingly take on discomfort, uncertainty, and uneasiness in order to promote that Gospel.
Some people…but not all…will accept the hard work, sacrifice, inconvenience, and uneasiness that true growth brings. They will accept it because letting others hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ is far more important than any amount of discomfort new members might bring. And they will accept it because Jesus Christ accepted the “cup” that was given to him to be a ransom for many and the propitiation for my sins and your sins…making us adopted sons and daughters of God Himself.

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