Friday, January 25, 2008

Church Growth

"If we entertain people, our church will grow. If we lead in worship, our church may shrink until it is composed of a group of people who want to worship. Then the church has a chance to grow based on the precedent of worship. The church that worships will have many visitors who never come back, and a few who cannot stay away."

-- David Hansen, The Art of Pastoring

"One does not preach the cross to win the admiration of the audience. The goal is to have them look up in awe at the cross, which implants new ideas and uproots the old ways of interpreting divine and earthly reality."

-- David Garland
(HT: Transforming Sermons and Eternal Perspectives)

Will be back "for real" on Monday. Have a great weekend. Go gather and worship.


gavin richardson said...

are those quotes supposed to be all about worship? they give the impression that worship is the only way to grow in a church body and spiritual life. that just simply isn't true. at quotes about worship, they are quite good.

Jared said...

Gavin, the first quote is about orienting the gathering around worship rather than entertainment. The second quote is about proclamation that focuses on the cross, not the winsomeness of the proclaimer.

The title of the post is mine.

I can't speak for either author really, but I'm fairly sure all three of us would deny that a "worship service" is the "only way" to grow.
What an odd inference to make.

Taylor McRae said...

I agree. When a church, or community of believer, focuses on God through worship amazing things begin to happen. That's not to say that other forms of church growth, small groups and outside church gatherings, aren't important. What can be said though is that worship is, and should be, the cornerstone for all growth.

Just my .02

Jimmy D. said...

I left a large church staff to plant house churches about 9 months ago. I never noticed how addicted to 'bigger and better' we are until I began talking with Christians about what we're doing. The questions are mainly about when and where our building will be, what programs we have or will have, and whether we're experiencing numerical growth. I'm never (OK, rarely) asked whether our 6-family house church is growing in our pursuit of Christ, pursuit of one another, and pursuit of the people in our personal mission fields (we are growing in all 3 categories). And I'll admit that when I'm asked "How's the church plant going?" my heart's first inclination is to feel bad that we're not busting at the seams while forgetting that every family involved is growing in grace and the knowledge of Jesus. God is having to change my heart and priorities, too.

I'm afraid we've lost our way when it comes to true church growth. We're in serious trouble. And I've been part of the problem.