I’d say that one of the most misunderstood terms these days is “Church Growth.” I hadn’t even posted on the subject and I got the question about what I mean by the term: Is it the number of people or the maturity of the people?
Plenty of Christians will say that the number of people who attend a particular church is irrelevant as long as they are growing in the faith. I happen to think there is a point to be made there, but it also misses something very important: If the members of a given church are “mature” in their faith and in their walk with Christ, that should cause the number attending to increase…
How is that, you ask? Simple! To be a mature follower of Christ means that you will begin doing the things that Jesus did. If you do the things Jesus did, and Jesus was bringing the Gospel to the world, then you should be too. If you are taking the Gospel to the world around your neighborhood, shouldn’t there be fruit?
It is my view that a church cannot grow numerically until it’s leaders and congregation grow enough spiritually to do the things that cause church growth. Therefore, in these posts, I hope that we can understand the meaning of “church growth” to be both in the growth of the people there spiritually and resulting in a growth in numbers.
While we’re at it, I’ll give you what I mean by “spiritual growth” as well. When I say “spiritual growth” or “grow spiritually” I mean the growth of the people in their understanding of the teachings and application of Scripture in their daily lives such that they bear Biblical fruit as a result. To put it another way, I mean that the people are becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ, understanding that a “disciple” is someone who knows what the Master knows, as revealed in the Bible, and who does what the Master does. Jesus, the Master, when He was on the earth took the truth of God’s Word to the people around Him to make disciples, who in turn would do the same, with the result of more and more people coming to a mature knowledge of Christ. When this is not happening in the church, you can easily tell because there is no numerical growth.
You might think that this is an over simplification, and maybe it is, but is surely a significant indicator as you will see in future posts on this subject. One thing is certain; there are a lot of numbers mentoned in the book of Acts!