When Church Growth Is Dangerous

Church growth that is not inspired by Christ’s power to transform lives is dangerous. Ultimately, I believe, it will prove to be as displeasing to the Head of the church as numerical stagnation.  The congregation that is secularized and adds secularized members to its rolls is simply confirming itself in its indifference to the will of the Lord.

To find warnings about this acute danger, perhaps we need to look to writers like Richard Lovelace more than to church growth thinkers.  Lovelace says the following:

. . . Pastors gradually settle down and lose interest in being change agents in the church. An unconscious conspiracy arises between their flesh and that of their congregations.  It becomes tacitly understood that the laity will give pastors special honor in the exercise of their gifts, if the pastors will agree to leave their congregations’ pre-Christian lifestyles undisturbed and do not call for the mobilization of lay gifts for the work of the kingdom.  Pastors are permitted to become ministerial superstars. Their pride is fed and their congregations are permitted to remain herds of sheep in which each has cheerfully turned to his own way (Dynamics of Spiritual Life, 207).

The point is that both church members and church leaders gradually lose zeal for becoming “change agents” because of corporate evils in the local church and because of personal evils in themselves.

~ Jack Miller in Outgrowing the Ingrown Church, page 18-19.

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