I think it’s time to dispel some dangerous church growth myths!
Talk about church growth to some people and they think you’re unspiritual – I don’t get this.
A healthy church is a growing church, surely that’s the whole point?
We all want our churches to grow so let’s face these lies head on.
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Church confronts some of these myths in his book:
Myth 1: If You Are Dedicated Enough, Your Church Will Grow
This is for all you idealists out there (I’m one of them).
Please don’t send me hate mail, but prayer alone will not grow a church.
Simply trying harder will not work either.
Church growth is a partnership between God and people – the power of God combined with skilful people.
We can’t do it without God and He can’t do it without us. Faith without works is dead, meaning you pray as you’ve never prayed and then you leave and take appropriate action.
Myth 2: Large Churches Only Care About Attendance
The truth is, if all you’re focusing on is the number of bums on seats then your church won’t grow.
In our recent Church Growth Series we looked at the 8 areas your church needs to grow in.
Remember that the purpose of your church is to make disciples, not Sunday morning attendees.
Sometimes quality is better than quantity – a church of 50 people making 30 disciples is far more successful than a church of 1,000 not discipling at all. Size isn’t everything.
“The purpose of the church is to make disciples, not Sunday morning attendees”
Myth 3: Large Churches Grow At The Expense Of Smaller Churches
This may be true for some churches, but not all, and it’s certainly not a good sign of growth.
Some churches ‘grow’ because people leave their previous church to be where the action is.
This is transference, NOT growth.
In our church we decided we didn’t want church hoppers joining our church; they normally have their agenda and are easily offended. It’s a case of easy come, easy go.
Instead, we wanted to see the unchurched become brand-new believers and disciple them from the beginning.
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Myth 4: You Must Choose Between Quality & Quantity
Should you go for quantity or quality?
Every church should want both.
Quality produces quantity (do it well and people will come) and quantity produces quality (if you have more people, you’ll have more skilled people).
Myth 5: You Can’t Learn From Large Churches
What works in the UK may not be effective in the US.
What works in a small village in the jungles of northern Thailand may not work in downtown Manhattan.
You can’t copy a church’s method and expect it to work…
But what you CAN do is take the principles and apply them to your local setting.
Large churches are large for a reason and you can learn from their success.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel – God hasn’t called us to be original at everything – He’s called us to be effective and bear much fruit.
Myth 6: You Must Compromise The Message To Grow
Cynical people see a large church and somehow assume the church is selling out and compromising its message and mission because they’re getting new people through their doors.
I always question the motive of the person saying this…
Now of course there are probably some churches that have watered down the message but painting every church with the same brush is unfair.
Myth 7: There Is One Secret Key To Church Growth
If there is please someone tell us in the comments below!
While there may be strategic areas of focus that trigger church growth, it takes all kinds of people, methods and environments to bring people to God.
There’s no magic formula for overnight success, rather, it’s a combination of factors working together, a series of action steps getting us where we want to be.
Myth 8: All God Expects Of Us Is Faithfulness
This is another one for the idealists.
Faithfulness is ‘keep doing what you’re doing’ whereas diligence is pushing ahead, trying new ideas and doing everything you can until you get where you need to be – that’s a big difference.
Keep pushing your boundaries, keep learning, keep growing and always be open to new ideas.
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So there you have it. We’ve just dispelled 8 dangerous church myths.
The truth has set you free!
Feel free to dispel any other church growth myths in the comments! 🙏