Summary: We need to rethink church growth. Most churches are not growing.
INTRO.- ILL.- After the worship service a young couple talked to a church member about joining the church. He hadn't met the husband before, and he asked what church he was transferring from. After a short hesitation, he replied,"I am transferring from the Municipal Golf Course."
Brothers and sisters, this is what we’d like to see happen, in the sense, that we’d like to see people leave whatever is keeping them away from the Lord (good, bad or otherwise) and come to Christ and the church! BUT THIS ISN’T HAPPENING!
I mean, golf isn’t bad in itself, but if golf is all that a person lives for then that is idol worship. That’s worshiping a man-made created thing rather than the Creator who is to be praised forevermore! There is only one Creator and Savior who wants all men to be saved. And this is our job as His body, His church.
Seriously, wouldn’t we like to see more people come to Christ, confess faith in Him and be baptized? But churches aren’t growing in the US, for the most part. The mega churches (over 2,000) are still growing but the vast majority of churches (under 200) are not growing. Is there anything we can do to change this?
Yes, but it will probably take some changes. But not all changes are good changes. If something works, then praise the Lord for it. If something doesn’t work, then you stop doing it and do something different. It’s as simple as that.
ILL.- One church where I served had youth meetings on Wednesday nights. It worked great and then someone had the idea of changing them to Sunday night and the kids wouldn’t come. Why? I don’t know but they needed to go back to Wednesday nights.
When it comes to church growth there is no set pattern for success. What may work for one church, may not work for another church.
ILL.- For example, many years ago churches were big on busing people to church. They would get a bus or two and go into certain areas of the city and invite people to church by offering free rides. It worked for some churches but not for others. A free ride to church isn’t a big deal to most people, that is, unless the church is handing out something free besides the gospel.
Brothers and sisters, the great commission is still our commission. The Lord has never rescinded His orders to make disciples and baptize them. He is still asking His church to do this work.
Proverbs 23:7 “As a man thinketh, so is he.” If we don’t think in terms of the church growth or of winning people to Christ then we won’t do it.
Our thinking is not what it should be. Our thinking tends to be “inward” and not “outward.” We think more in terms of taking care of ourselves in the church instead of reaching out to people who need Jesus and the salvation that He offers. Self has always been a problem. It’s something we struggle with daily.
Somehow or other, we must start thinking in terms of people and how to lead them to Christ in order to see God’s kingdom grow, which is His church! We must be thinking, “I wonder if so and so is a Christian?” And then be thinking about how to witness to them for Christ.
PROP.- Let’s consider the different approaches to church growth in order to determine what would work best.
1- There is the “come on in” approach.
2- There is the “drive-around” approach
3- There is the “Come and play” with us approach
4- There is the “door-to-door” approach
5- There is the “coffee house” approach
1- THE “COME ON IN” APPROACH
There is no scripture that says we should build a building in which to worship and then hope that will people will come to it to hear about Jesus, but that’s what we do.
This “come on in” approach is the traditional approach that most churches used in the past to get new people. It’s the idea that you come to us because of who we are and what we know.
With this approach, we do very little. We just have church and hope for people to come to us. The idea may sound good to some churches, but it doesn’t work.
Fact: Many new people (47%) visit for the first time because someone invited them; only 6% came for the first time due to advertising. This should tell us that if a church did no advertising at all and no inviting, then more than likely that church would be fortunate if it ever got any visitors.
ILL.- It’s like exercising and losing weight. I’ve known people to say things like, “I exercise three times a week for 30 minutes at a time and I don’t understand why I can’t lose weight.” The reason is because it takes a lot more work than exercising for 30 minutes three times a week to lose weight.