I was invited to speak to some 400 Pastors not too long ago. When I arrived with my team, we overheard the Church Administrator saying to some of the Pastors that they should stop inflating figures, and filling the reports of church plants that were never on ground but collecting money and support for! I was aghast, but knew then that undue emphasis on church growth has become very dangerous in our nation and continent.
Moreover, a popular preacher visited our nation recently and granted an interview where all he could see was numerical growth, large church structures and crowds of people in meetings. He was carried away by sheer physical results without looking at the spiritual conditions of our churches and preachers. That is the wrong measurement lots of leaders use to judge the spiritual thermometer of their churches today.
However, we need to truly examine our church growth again and again, whether it measures up to scriptural level or not.
A. Jesus and The Growth of His Church – Matt. 13:30-32
Jesus taught and practiced church growth. He wants His church to grow and used many analogies to explain her growth. He came alone, won 12 people, grew them to 70, 120 and multiplied them by His Holy Spirit till today.
✓ Growth is life, because living things grow.
✓ The church is an organism that can either grow or grey.
✓ Church growth is kingdom warfare and battle.
✓ Every church must grow numerically, spiritually, healthily, in expansion, multiplication.
Our Lord Jesus shows to us that there are only four kinds of churches when it comes to church growth, health and biblical practices. (Matt. 13:3-9, 18-23).
Wayside Church – Matt. 13:3-4,19
This is a church planted without spiritual warfare at the seat of Satan and demonic, occultic birds do not allow it to function, stay or have impact. Warfare within and without will render her spiritually unfruitful. Mosquito infected churches that only exist, not living in their communities.
Stony Church – Matt. 13:5,6,20,21
This is a shallow, secular church that is not built on the undiluted and eternal truth of God’s word, but on the gifts, personality, miracles and physical results of the Pastor. No discipleship or deep rooted foundation in God’s word. Crisis and conflicts scatter such churches.
Secular Church – Matt. 13:7, 22
This is a church that uses worldly standards, parameters and methods to run spiritual entities. Therein you see lots of worldliness and idolatry of material things that choke out the Spirit of God. Being materially okay but spiritually dead to God and not making spiritual, kingdom impact.
Fruitful Church – Matt. 13:8, 23
This is a church of touched, tender and transformed heart. A heart that is a fruitful ground to sow the seeds of life and bearing fruits for God. Pastor and people are obedient, committed to God and shining as light for Him in their localities.
Each and every local church falls into any of these four categories described by our Lord. You will do well to look closely at where your church falls and work to make amends.
To be continued…….
Francis Bola Akin-John, Empowering Leaders to Grow Healthier Churches and Ministries Started ministry in 1988. Has now been in ministry for 21 years. Pastored 5 denominational churches in the space of 8 years.
Started Church Growth Ministry in 1994 after hearing God said “go and strengthen pastors and support churches to grow and be healthy”. Has held hundreds of conferences across Nigeria, Africa and Europe with combined attendance of over 30, 000 church leaders