Last week I took a small part in the funeral of dear lady who went to be with Jesus. She attended several churches during her life and Smith Chapel was one of them. One the churches that she attended was a rather large church, the kind a small church pastor might want to become a janitor at or at least covet, this church seated may be a thousand people! It was truly a beautiful church. The choir loft seated around 90 or so. In other words, you could put my congregation in the loft twice. 🙂 It was well lit and the carpet was clean looking.
My people from Smith Chapel came in and, if you know me you know that I tend to tell the same joke over and over to people as they come in, I kept telling them to keep the pastor busy while steal his one of his cameras or bongos. Finally, someone came in and looked at the sanctuary and said to me, “Here you go Pastor, a big church just like you always want.” After a couple of years of preaching about being missional and reaching people for Jesus Christ I was stunned that this is what someone thought was the reason I talk about growing. So here are a few reasons why I want our church to grow:
- Growing numerically will help us to grow spiritually.
- Numerical growth takes us out of our comfort zones and causes us to rely upon our faith in God.
- Numerical growth grants the opportunity to welcome those who other churches may not want into our fellowship.
- Numerical growth creates more opportunities to bless others.
- Numerical growth brings others into the mission of the church to become servants of Jesus Christ.
- Numerical growth, yes I will say it, brings more resources like finances into the church so that the church broaden her mission to the community and the world.
- Numerical growth, while not the only way to measure success, is one way for the church to see fruit from her labor.
- Numerical growth creates the opportunity for the church to continue multiplying herself by planting another church.
- A larger church facility also allows for church growth. Now I know that there are going to be some purests out there that will say that I am focusing on the thing. May be so. But we cannot deny that in this day of plenty, many people choose the more up to date churches that are new looking. When I first moved to SC, we found two grocery stores in Clemson, Winn Dixie and Bi-Lo. They sold the same things and had the same sales. Yet, the Bi-Lo, which is newer, had the people all the time. While the now out of business Winn Dixie store, which was older and dated looking did not have many shopping there.
- The better facility is not a hinderance to the gospel. The hinderance happens when we are only motivated to build a new church so that we can have a cornerstone on the front of the building and a pat on the back from others.
- Church growth is the result of being missional. It is not the objective. It just happens when a Body of Christ desires to reach out to the lost world with more than mere words.
I want to grow a bigger church only if it is the result of faith and obedience to Christ’s mission as the Body of Christ. I just wanted to clarify to everyone and myself why I want to grow. It is good to check my motives and that is what I have had to do. So I am grateful for straight talk from people in my church sometimes because I do not want to be a pastor who is career minded only. I want to simply here, “Well done; good and faithful servant.”