Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Church Growth

One of the objectives that I have been given from the start of my tenure here at Oakland has been church growth. It is a challenge that I accept humbly and with great excitement. I have found that there are a number of misconceptions about what it takes to grow a church.

Let’s be honest. The methods we have been using are no longer effective. Our focus has been much like the movie, Field of Dreams. We have assumed that if we build it, people will come. We have hoped that if we put more energy into what we are already doing, things would improve. We are frustrated when we work harder and see fewer results. We have tried to attract people with programs and wondered why they have not stayed for the Cross.

Let me offer some encouragement and remind you of where we are headed. We are not here to offer people the same things they can get somewhere else. We offer hope. The following excerpt is from The Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren, page 48:

“Attendance campaigns and advertising may bring people to your church once. But they will not come back unless your church delivers the goods. To maintain consistent growth, you must offer people something they cannot get anywhere else.

“If you are preaching the positive, life-changing Good News of Christ, if your members are excited by what God is doing in your church, if you are providing a service where they can bring unsaved friends without embarrassment, and if you have a plan to build, train, and send out those you win to Christ, attendance will be the least of your problems. People will flock to that kind of church. It’s happening all around the world.”

Along with several leaders in our church and our staff, I have been evaluating what we do as a church. We are discovering that there are some programs in our church that simply aren't building the Kingdom, yet they have been draining our people.

Sometimes we have to say “no” to good things, so that we can say “yes” to great things. Letting go can be painful. Embracing the new can be exciting.

We are here to build people who are passionate about God. I am seeing new signs of excitement as we look to the future. I hope that you will join us on this journey, if you haven't already. Pray about how God might use you to impact His Kingdom.