Summary: What hinders churches from growing and what causes them to grow?
CHURCH GROWTH: To be or not to be
INTRO.- ILL.- It was their 13th wedding anniversary. The husband was away at a meeting on their special day. He called a florist to send a bouquet of 13 helium balloons with a message of gratitude for the heights to which his wife had inspired him.
When the balloons arrived at her door, she had no trouble guessing who had sent them. But the card was something of a puzzle, reading, "You Make Me Sore."
Of course, the message was supposed to read, "You make me soar"...like an eagle.
The truth is some marriages do "soar like an eagle," but most don’t. Some soar and some are sore. Some make it and some don’t. Some make it even though there is a rough going at times, and some don’t make it even though things seem to be pretty smooth-going most of the time.
A lot of it depends on how much they work at it. Work which comes from commitment is a key ingredient
IF WE DON’T WORK AT MARRIAGE OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT IS WORTHWHILE (including the church), IT WON’T BE WORTH MUCH AFTER WHILE!
ILL.- A certain denominational church sent in its annual statistical statement, year after year, as follows:
Number of members added by baptism 0
Number of members added by letter 0
Number of members dismissed by letter 5
Number of members who have died 3
Amount raised for home missions 0
Amount raised for foreign missions 0
The note at the bottom of the report read: "Pray for us, brethren, that we continue faithful unto the end." That’s not being faithful! That church lost 8 people but gained none! Why? Because they didn’t work at gaining any new people!
Some churches grow and some don’t. And some people don’t know and don’t care. Meaning, they don’t care whether the church grows or not, and if they did care, they wouldn’t know how to make it grow.
ILL.- I have heard that the average U.S. church runs about 89 in attendance. It this is true, we are ahead of the game, but we still need to be concerned about our growth.
ILL.- Last week I got some great information from one of the preachers at the Ozark Christian College Preaching and Teaching Convention. Barry Mcmurtrie is the Sr. Minister with the Crossroads Christian Church in Corona, CA. When Barry went there the church was running about a thousand in attendance. Now they run about 5,000 in attendance.
What’s going on? What’s their secret? What do they have that we don’t have? Who is this guy Barry Mcmurtrie? Where did he come from?
Barry Mcmurtrie, 60, has been senior pastor at Crossroads Christian Church for the past seven years. He was born and raised in Wollogong, Australia. As a child, Barry grew up in a blue-collar steel town and came from an unchurched home. He then discovered as a teen the secret to real living and gave his life to the Lord.
He spent the first years of his adult life obtaining a business degree and then having a successful career working for one of Australia’s largest retail companies. At the age of 27, Barry felt a calling on his life to take the idea of common sense Christianity to the masses. His desire to reach the outsider and non-churched prompted him to lay aside his career in business. He then enrolled in seminary and started a church in one of the toughest parts of the city.
After growing that inner city congregation to one of the largest Christian churches in Australia (over a thousand), Barry accepted the call to come to the United States and become senior pastor at Crossroads. After 6 months on the job, Barry shocked many by selling their current building and moving the congregation into a tent. His passion for the lost and his down to earth style struck a chord within the community and the church saw an incredible harvest. Because of Barry’s dynamic leadership and vision, the church doubled in size while meeting in the tent. CAN YOU IMAGINE? 2,000 people in a tent!
Today Crossroads meets in a state of the art auditorium on 38 acres of land and sees almost 5000 people attend their weekend services.
Crossroads is placing a high priority on each person developing a deeper relationship with God. With a focus this year on being involved in a small group, Crossroads has started over 200 groups with over 2200 members involved to date. Pastor Barry says "It’s a time to connect to God and to connect to each other in a real and authentic way."
Many of the groups are focused on family and marriage, while other groups are commissioned to reach their unsaved neighbors and friends living in the area.