Monday, October 16, 2006
In our world if we see a large group of people in any one place we think something important is happening; numbers mean significance to us. And that is the challenge for the church of today. Our desire is to get bigger; to have growth.
In my last blog I started my 5 part series on Reggie McNeal's book "The Present Future." Our church is using this book as a study for how our church can do a better job serving God in the 21st century. In this first part I talked about how "we live in a new reality, and the question in this new reality is: how is the church called to reach the people in our community?" I also talked about the challenge of how people aren't coming to the church like they used to.
So today, I want to think about this idea of growth. How important is it for the church to grow in numbers? While I believe it is important for a church to grow in numbers, it is even more important for the church to grow in faithfulness and commitment to God's work. Often times when a church grows, the new members it receives are people who have left one church to come to this new church. That might seem like church growth, but it isn't kingdom growth.
What do I mean by kingdom growth? Well, there are many in our world who aren't Christians; who don't know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. As we share Jesus with others, and they come to accept Jesus and ssek to live for Jesus, then they become part of the Kingdom of God. As Jesus said in John 1:12 "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."
Reggie Mcneal says in chapter 2 of his book that the wrong question is "How do we grow this church?" And the tough question is: "How do we transform our community?" Because more than being a member of a church, people need Jesus in their lives!
I do believe that being a committed part of a church body is important, and I do believe that worship with other believers is important. But I also understand that in the community our church belongs to, there is the challenge of getting people to regularly come to church. So our church is seeking to find ways to go out to where people are at and seeking to love them and share Jesus with them. Hopefully, by doing this, their lives will be changed, not so that they can become a member of the church, but so that they can help transform the community they live in and the kingdom of God.
Are you going through this challenge? Do you have some thoughts on this subject? Let me know.