Summary: A message explaining how the church grows and why it grows. That same message is applicable to individual Christians, too. Audio will be placed at www.sermonlist.com
What is it that enables a plant to grow tall? It is the roots. The deeper and stronger the root system, the taller and wider that plant can grow. You can see what I am getting at if you will try to imagine a tall oak tree with the root system of a dandelion. That would be impossible, wouldn’t it?
The same is true with Christians. The deeper one’s faith is, the wider they will be able to reach. Our purpose is not to stay in the same place forever, but to always be moving about. You have heard me say that we need to get out of our comfort zones. Our goal is to continually expand our comfort zones, and in so doing, we will always be more comfortable in doing more.
A rubber bands only purpose in life is to stretch. It fulfills its purpose only when it is being pulled into a larger size. And Christians fulfill their purposes when they expand their boundaries, too.
And this goes for churches, too. CrossRoads is getting ready for a big move. We are stepping out to enable us to become more of what we were intended to be. We are going to reach wider, for the intended purpose of reaching more people for the glory of Jesus Christ. Last week, I spoke about how glory is due His name. How better to glorify the name of Jesus than to reach more people for Him?
I have read studies that show how churches become stagnant and, for all intent and purposes, useless for the glory of God. Let me share some information with you.
Most church plants never grow beyond a few new people. And after a few years, they wither and die. Of those that do grow, most become flat and stale after just five years. And then the rest, which is in the minority, grow to become the spiritual movers and shakers of their community. What causes this to happen?
In almost every case, when churches become stagnant, it is because they are filled with people who have become spiritually stagnant. These people have shifted their focus from the Lord onto themselves. These people make up churches that no longer look outside in devotion, but inward for comfort. Churches that DO have growth actually focus outward. They reach out into the community to make a difference for the people in that community.
Someone said that the purpose of the church is to feed the people in the church. That is both right and wrong. The purpose of the church, or at least the purpose of CrossRoads, is to prepare the people in the church to reach wider. In other words, we need to prepare you so that you can reach out to others in the name of Jesus.
The more a church grows, the more problems they will encounter. For instance;
.... Growing churches have parking problems, other churches don’t.
.... Growing churches have kids running around making a lot of noise, other churches don’t.
.... Growing churches have more expenses than money, some other churches don’t.
.... Growing churches have to depend on the Lord for everything they have, others don’t.
.... In growing churches you don’t always know everybody’s name, in other churches you’ve only seen the same people there for years.
I accepted a job as pastor of a church just to find that they had quit giving to any missions. They were hoarding all their money so they could "build up the church savings account."
Is it coincidence that this church was also dying?
The first thing I did was to demand we start giving a full 10% of the church income away to the missions field, including taking 10% out of the savings so we would not be delinquent in the Lord’s eyes.
Is it coincidence that the during the next year, the church experienced a 78% growth rate, going from an average of 39 to an average of 89 in morning services? That same period of time, the church saw their tithes and offerings triple and the Sunday school attendance go from just 9 people to 50 people.
This principle is explained in MALACHI 3:9-10. I would encourage all of you to read this and put that principle to use in your private lives. And God will shower you with His blessings, too.
For a church to be healthy, the very first thing it needs to do is focus on Jesus Christ as the head of the church. Then, they focus on showing the love of Christ to others in the church, and then they focus outward to carry that love of Christ to those in the community around them.
But the goal is not to just grow the church, but to grow its effectiveness in the community for the glory of the Lord. To do that, we cannot crawl into a box as many have done before us, and only concentrate on doing those things we feel comfortable in doing. We must always focus on the community rather than on ourselves. We must become rubber bands and learn to stretch.