If the greatest purpose we could ever have is tied into the Greatest Commandments according to Jesus, then we should want to grow so we have increased opportunities to show love for God and love for people.
The Early Church was devoted to that which showed love for God (worship, nurture, prayer) and love for people (evangelism, fellowship, benevolence). After describing this devotion, we read “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47). Their growth was an outgrowth or byproduct of living life on purpose.
When we start to think about church growth we must begin by asking why we want to grow. What is it all about … being able to point to people as numbers on our roll or people who have experienced the love of God?
There is a subtle transition in church growth efforts. We may start well, with good intentions, but pride and other distractions can pull us from that initial motivation to grow because we love God and people.
Maybe you started out with the right goal …
but now it is about impressing people … about being the biggest church in your community … about numbers.
Church growth isn’t about numbers, though numbers usually accompany it. Rather, its about one more person being embraced by the love of God … about one more person learning to love as He loves them. Jesus holds love up as the measuring stick … not the number of baptisms or people in attendance, nor the size of our budgets or buildings. (See Jn. 13:35.)
Perhaps the words to the church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation apply:
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Rev. 2:4-5)