“You can have exponential growth and take your church to the next level!”
Over the years I’ve heard all kinds of great ideas about how to get new people in the doors and what can be done to help your church become relevant, grow exponentially, plant more churches and satellite locations, but is church growth and multiplication really the goal?Is church growth and multiplication really the goal? Click To Tweet
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for introducing more and more people to Christ and making disciples who reach the lost; I even work with churches to develop ministries that meet the specific needs of their community, but aren’t growth and multiplication the result of our work and not the focus or goal?
When church growth and multiplication become the metric by which we judge the success of a pastor or church, leaders can be tempted to focus on making church attractive, making people feel comfortable and having fun. While an attractive building, comfort and fun can all be good things, I’ve heard many leaders actually suggest watering down the message of Christ, although most wouldn’t term it that way.
Barna Research recently released a study that found only 17% of Christians hold a biblical worldview. This shouldn’t really surprise us, but as we look at the current state of Christianity and churches in America, maybe it would be a good idea for us to review how Jesus felt about watering down the message and chasing the crowd.
I’m not going to include all 71 verses of John 6, but you can click here if you want to read the actual chapter. Here is the overview from the RKV (Rob Kendall Version)
Verses 1 – 25
- Jesus feeds the 5,000
- Leaves the crowd and heads up into the mountains by Himself
- The disciples head to the other side of the lake in a boat
- Jesus freaks out the disciples by walking on water
- The crowd that remained climb in boats and leave looking for Jesus
- They find Him on the other side
This is where we see Jesus’ thoughts on making people comfortable, happy and/or watering down His message.
Continuing with highlights from the RKV:
- You aren’t looking for me because you believe
- You’re here because I filled your belly’s
- Don’t work for perishable food, work for eternal food
Jesus and the crowd go back and forth and Jesus ratchets up the truth with every exchange. This is where He really unloads on them. Here is where Jesus doubles up His fist and punches them right in the mouth with the hard truth.Jesus doubles up His fist and punches them right in the mouth with the hard truth Click To Tweet
Here are a few of the words from Jesus:
- “Believe in the one He has sent”
- “I am the bread of life”
- “You have seen me and still don’t believe”
- “Don’t grumble”
- “I am the living bread that came down from heaven”
- “Eat this bread and never die”
- “The bread that gives life to the world is my flesh”
- “Unless you eat of my flesh and drink of my blood you will not have eternal life”
- “I live because of the Father, and whoever feeds on me will live because of me”
- “Some of you don’t believe”
- “No one can come to me unless the Father gives it to him”
Verse 66 says “Many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” Scripture doesn’t record Jesus’ exact response, but it shows that He went on about the business of the Father.
Church leaders, let’s take a few leadership lessons from Jesus.
- Jesus never watered down the truth
- Jesus never worried about making people comfortable
- Jesus never succumbed to what people wanted
Jesus spent His entire ministry loving people, teaching the truth and reaching the lost, but Jesus never chased the crowd.Jesus never chased the crowd Click To Tweet