Summary: I want the church to grow because God desires that it grows but I may not want any of my family members who will take the spotlight away from me.
I received this idea from my mentor Jerrie Barber.
I Want the Church to Grow – But Do I Want Anymore People #7
For the last six weeks we have been looking at Church growth and some of the things that we do to sabotage that growth. I still believe that everyone here tonight would shout from the very rooftops that they wanted the church to grow. But the question that I have to always ask is what are you personally doing to bring growth or on the other side of the question what are you doing personally to sabotage that growth.
The bible plainly teaches us that growth will happen in a healthy church, just as growth will occur in a healthy child.
I remember when Trista was pregnant with both of our boys, I drove her insane with my desire to track the baby’s growth to see if they were healthy or not. We had books and charts and a very good spirited Doctor who would sit and listen to me as I asked the same question another way, just to see if everything was progressing as it should.
As we have seen the first century church was healthy as was growing by leaps and bounds, but we have also noticed that it was not perfect. That’s why the Hebrew writer had to remind the Jewish Christians to examine themselves constantly to see if they were living a healthy Christian life or if they were backsliding into their Jewish ways, customs, and traditions.
Listen to what we read in Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart
We need to constantly invite God’s word to examine the thoughts and intents of our hearts. It’s not something that you do on a yearly basis but something a healthy Christian does consistently.
With that in mind we need to answer only to ourselves and to God the following questions using the scriptures to examine our Christian walk.
How am I similar to some of the people we have considered?
Do I want everyone here or do I try to keep out those that I fear, or who are a different color that I am?
How would you treat someone who has different traditions than you do because they went through a different process of growth that you have?
As you struggle with financial and time constraints are you willing to love those who are sick, hurting, dirty, or who would be an inconvenience the way that Christ first loved you?
Do you humbly put others in front of yourselves or are you looking for every opportunity to tell someone how they should treat their children, or love their spouse, or spend their time and money?
I remember a church where I preached at one time there was this sweet member who would come to church every Sunday and meet me at the door with her latest conquest story. Their eyes would light up as they told me how they crawled all over someone that week. Then every Sunday after church they would leave by telling me how they wish the Brother Smith, or Sister Johnson was here because they really needed to hear the sermon.
We forget all too often that we are called to be different than the world we live in. We try to do heavenly things with a worldly mindset. But Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:
if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come
The worlds ways are no longer our ways and we need to change to be more in tune with the mind of Christ.
Once again listen to the Apostle Paul this time in Philippians 2:1-4
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
This passage is so rich in describing how we as a church should be, and act, and think. But once again we have allowed ourselves to be put in the same stress that was felt by the Early Church.
You see even though I want the church to grow there are some people who I would prefer to go somewhere else, like my relatives.