Saturday, June 21, 2008

How many do y'all have...?


Why is is that when you see someone you know (especially in the ministry) they want to know how many people go to your church? Now I know that might not sound like a bad question and from an etymological point of view it isn't. The idea behind it is what prompts me to bring this up.

Our culture cannot get away from the pragmatic idea that if your church is big God must be doing something great in it. That same pramatic idea also leads us to deduce that if your church is small that "God has written Ichabod across the front door" and that it is simply dead.

I suppose that the business principle of have a product, market that product, and sell that product for a gain has led us to bring that same principle into the church.

So, we have:
-Christ and His message of saving grace
we then:
-Have magic shows, concerts (that have no semblance of anything Christian), or some other gimmic to "draw in the masses"
finally:
-tell people that Jesus is there to be their best friend, boyfriend, marriage counselor, financial guru, physician/surgeon who will miraculously heal all wounds/sicknesses/diseases

So if we have successfully "drawn the masses" in through whatever means was needed our friends, family and the world will assume that God is doing a wonderful thing. And to follow that line of thinking; God is not doing anything if your church is not growing.

What if when we see people we ask them "How many people in your church really act Christ-like?" Or what about "How many in your church desire to live holy God-honoring lives?" How would folks respond then?

My problem is that we use warm bodies in our church building as a means of determining if God is doing something. I am reminded of 1Cor. 3.6
"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow." The growth that we manufactor does not mean that God has "made it grow." I am reminded that Our ways are not His ways.

I think Satan has planted an amazingly deceptive theory of growth in the church that has roots as deep as an oak.

6 comments:

imspeakingtruth said...

Excellent article.

Since most of these pastors fashion themselves as CEO's and their clubs (I mean, churches) as businesses, then it's only fitting that they watch the numbers like a manager in a WalMart distribution center.

Further, most of the people who attend these "# counting" churches aren't evangelized to off the street - they come from other ministries, so the numbers are skewed.

But hey, when your chief goal is putting butts in seats vs. preaching the UNCOMPROMISED liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ, then you get what you can get...

dsstanfield said...

Hear, Hear....

Personally, I prefer smaller churches and denominations. How can elders effectively shepherd the flock if they do not know them on a personal level?

I would even say that if your church is "mega" in size, compromise has taken place somewhere......

Dead Theologians said...

speaktruth,

Thanks for your comment. If you only knew how right you are about the "#'s counting churches" it would blow your mind.

If your goal is getting warm bodies in a cold service that's easy. Entertain them. Oh wait, that's what's going on now.

DT

Dead Theologians said...

ds,

>>I would even say that if your church is "mega" in size, compromise has taken place somewhere......

The subject of my next post.

The emphasis is never on godliness. Its always on more, more and more.

DT

KLR said...

Matthew 7 gives me my answer:

13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Generally, if the true Word of God is being preached, it's something a lot of people just can't handle or don't want to sacrifice for, which is what we must do as Christians.

Dead Theologians said...

KLR,

>>it's something a lot of people just can't handle or don't want to sacrifice for, which is what we must do as Christians.

I wholeheartedly agree.

DT

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