Why I Dislike Church Growth Strategies

That may be an unfair title. Sensational perhaps, but I’m going with it. “Leadership” has become the new spiritual gift du jour for Christians. If you want people to come to your conference talk about how you’re going to make them better leaders. Attendance at conferences designed to make better servants is at an all time low, but everyone wants to be a leader. All that cynicism aside I definitely believe in the value of solid, biblical leadership. It’s needed. I also believe in the value of a gospel-centered church growth strategy.

However, like anything else we latch onto, what we say is based on the Bible (i.e. leadership or church growth) can quickly usurp the place of the God of the Bible.

If you check google you can find about 92,500 links to tell you all about church growth.

I’ve seen quite a few of them which don’t seem bad. However, I generally get the feeling that you could take most of those strategies word for word and apply them to any organization or corporate enterprise and it would be just as applicable. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m a former corporate hack myself so I value efficient, effective strategies. But at what point is your strategy simply an organizational growth strategy instead of a church growth strategy? Simply put are we using spiritual means to achieve spiritual results or are we using worldly means to achieve worldly results?

I say all of this because of Acts 9:31

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit , it multiplied.

What? No demographical emphasis on young families? No on site coffee shop? We have to get to a point where we teach and preach walking in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit more than we strategize. If we’re strategizing and sprinkling a little prayer on top we’re in trouble.

I don’t have this figured out at the church level or the personal level. On the personal side, I use a lot of “strategery.” I often try to strategize my personal spiritual growth by the latest quiet time strategies, prayer cards, journals, etc. This is first and foremost a lesson I need to learn. Walk in the fear of the Lord. Walk in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.


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