Church growth strategies have been named many things by many pastors. Others call it “vision casting” others call it being “purpose driven” and others merely call it what it is….pragmatism. I came across these ten interesting myths that made me chuckle:
1. If You’re Not Growing, Something’s Wrong
If growth and a bigger crowd is “always” the result of obedience then some of the OT prophets will have some serious explaining to do.
Of course, if you’re not growing—or you’re declining—I think it is cause to evaluate what you’re doing, but it’s not a given that something is always “wrong.”
God could be doing something different—more Jeremiah and less Peter…
2. The More You Grow, the Healthier You Are
We would love to believe this one. It certainly feels good to have a bigger crowd. There’s a built-in justification for ministry leaders when more people show up, I know. However, just because your church has more people attending doesn’t mean your church is completely healthy. In fact, it might be cause to closely evaluate the message the crowd is hearing…
3. Contemporary Music Will Save Your Church
It can help at times—depending on the community and the people you’re trying to reach—but it’s not always a help. In fact, sometimes it’s an obstacle.
Changing your music and the feel of your worship gathering should have a reason bigger than, “We want to reach young people!” or, “We want to stay hip.” Hopefully, the music you sing is an authentic expression of your distinct makeup as both a church and a community and not a grasp at straws for church growth.
4. Church Growth Can Be Manufactured
I admit, on the surface it does seem like we can manufacture church growth—through events, strategy, planning, etc. However, what I mean to say is true church growth is a work of the Holy Spirit—a byproduct of our obedience intersecting God’s sovereignty.
5. If Your Church Grows, Your Leader Is “Anointed”
OK, this one I hesitated to put on the list because I think it’s common sense. We’ve all seen the carnage from large church leaders who hide ongoing sin. Would we call them anointed? Probably not. Leading a large church doesn’t make you “anointed” by God and the flipside is true as well—leading a small church or ministry doesn’t mean you lack it….
6. If Your Church Doesn’t Grow, It’s a Problem with the Leader
This happens all the time. Church members are frustrated with the fact the church isn’t growing, maybe it lacks vision and new people aren’t coming, and they point the finger solely at the leader. The only problem is … it’s not always the leader. Sometimes it’s the members—or a member—spiritual warfare or even a season of transition.
Can it be the leader? Certainly, but it’s not always the case…
7. Good Preaching Is the Answer to Growing Your Church
Preaching is extremely important, but having a charismatic and gifted speaker is not the stand-alone element you need to grow your church—or turn it around. Preaching is a core element of the church, but focusing on preaching alone—or trying to find a talented communicator—is not the answer to church growth.
In fact, if you’re a really good preacher, you should probably have people leaving on a regular basis because making disciples is hard. Just ask Jesus about the crowds that left him.
8. You Will Retain a Large Percentage of Your Visitors on Special Days
Some of you have seen long-term growth from your programs on Easter, Christmas or during a special event. Most have not. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something high-quality that connects with seekers in your community, it just means you shouldn’t make those special days your only church growth strategy. Can God use these special days to reach people? For sure. Is it a solid growth strategy? Not alone.
9.The more programs you offer, the more your church will grow.
Programs are great servants but lousy masters. We live in a culture that provides unlimited choices and some churches have matched suit with this same mentality—providing an excessive amount of programs in effort to serve more people.
10. If You Build It, They Will Come
They might, but it’s not a guarantee. Sometimes building projects just create a new container for the same people. Other times building projects are a Godsend.
Excerpt from Ten Old Wives Tales about Church Growth.