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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Are Results or Obedience More Important for Church Growth?

I am a pastor. I want my church to grow. Should I use any means possible to see it grow? Should I resort to the unethical if it draws people in? I think not!

I have the honor of serving a church that is growing. We are growing with young families. They are a true joy to me and continue to bring life into our church. I realize that I might act differently if my church wasn't growing. I would want my church to grow so badly that I might resort to the unethical. I hope this isn't true but I realize that it just might be. I am not immune to sin. If you don't believe me you can ask my wife.

I have seen churches and their pastors use unethical means to grow their churches. They have decided to steal members from other churches. They have used gimmicks to get people to come. They have literally told lies about what will happen in church so that people will come. They have given large sums of money as a prize for some lucky people who arrive to get people to come. These churches are growing but they should not say it is because of the presence of God.

A few weeks ago I went to one of my daughters' church. Her pastor said that they were consciously not using some of the church growth methods to grow the church because they believed it was God who would grow the church. I couldn't agree with him more. I believe that churches and their pastors have run from seminar to seminar to learn how to grow their churches when the most important action is complete obedience to God. Anything else puts the church on a shaky foundation. It is like a shifting sand that will go the way of the wind. The beliefs will change and the one who is worshiped will change.

Fundamentally, we must believe that this is God's church. It is His to grow. It is His to shape. It is His- not the pastor's or the people's. He wants His church to grow. He wants His people to be His people.

God could have taken His people into the Promised Land years before He did. He needed them to learn obedience before they could possess the land. He allowed them to wander until they learned that obedience. He allowed those who were so ingrained with the ways of Egypt to die before He led them in to the Promised Land. Obedience is always more important than the results.

The question churches should be asking is: "Are we obedient?" Yes, church growth is important but not without obedience. The question becomes: "Lord, what are you teaching us?" if the church has gotten on its face in prayer and can honestly say that it is obedient.

I believe that a church will be grown by God if the church is obedient to His word and all other leadings He is giving the church. The Lord is preparing you for His growth if you can say your church is completely obedient and you are not yet growing. Be patient, God wants His church to grow even more than you do.

Can you say that your church is obedient?

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