Why aren’t some churches growing?
Maybe it is because they are not in touch with their church purpose. But, you might say, we have a church purpose statement.
Perhaps we need to take a step back and ask a couple of important questions:
1) What do you see as your church purpose?
You might have a well-written purpose statement but does it tap into the greatest purpose you could have … that which fits into what Jesus gave as the Greatest Commandments … to love God with all of who you are and to love others?
Before ascending back to heaven, Jesus was telling the disciples what was important for them to know in light of His absence. He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:34-35). — Love is the identifying mark of the Church!
One of the reasons some churches are not growing is because they are not increasing and overflowing in love (1 Thess. 3:12), fulfilling the church’s greatest purpose of loving God and people which tends to draw people to Him.
Question: How much of a priority is love in your church?
2) How committed are you in fulfilling your church purpose?
Even if your church purpose statement includes love for God and people, it isn’t going to happen without a commitment to lining up all you do against it. By its very nature, growth implies change. We are going to have to do things differently when we truly line up with God’s purposes.
Some churches aren’t growing because they are content to stay where they are, where it’s comfortable. It’s about self-preservation. But, the more God’s love fills our hearts and churches, the less it is about “self” and that opens the door for growth.
Question: Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and convenience to pursue God’s purposes?
3) How much is God a part of your church growth efforts?
The Apostle Paul, one of the greatest early church leaders, obviously knew the tendencies of our human nature and so He prayed for churches to get a good grasp of God’s love and for it to be a growing priority in their lives.
To the Philippian church: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ …” (Phil. 1:9-11)
To the church at Ephesus: “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:17-19)
Question: When was the last you prayed similarly for your church?
When talking about commitment, let’s not think it means we work this out in our own power. To love as He loves takes supernatural power. Notice in Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians that they needed power to truly grasp God’s love. He then goes on in verses 20-21 to write, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”
Another reason some aren’t experiencing church growth is because they are trying to do it in their own strength and human wisdom.
Question: How much are you depending on God to bring the growth?
If we are committed to living out our greatest purpose as a church, to love God and people, we will grow for church growth is an outgrowth of our church purpose … the topic for the next post. (You can subscribe to receive e-mail notification of new posts.)