Apr 5, 2013

The Roles of Pastors and Members in Growing Congregations

Only God can grow churches. That's God's work.

Then how come so few churches are growing? Is God slacking?

The reality in the United States is that more churches are in decline than those that are growing.

So, what's the deal?

It is my belief that God desires for all his churches to grow. I believe God wants all churches to grow both in numbers - as more people come to saving faith - and in its impact and influence in the community.

Then, how come so few churches are growing?

The primary reason why so few churches are growing is because so few churches are willing to go through the pain of change.

Let me make some observations about churches that are growing and what roles the leaders and the congregation play in growing churches.

First, in order for a church to grow - even if your church is currently growing, in order for your church to continue to grow - it must change.

When a church ceases to change, it begins to decline and die. This doesn't mean that all change leads to growth, but it absolutely means that churches that are growing are changing as they grow.

Change is absolutely necessary for growth. You cannot have growth without intentional change.

Second, let us consider the role of the pastor in a growing church.

The primary role of pastors in growing churches are to articulate God's vision for the church. The primary way that pastors do this is by articulating the reasons for change and the consequences of not changing.

However, pastors cannot change congregations. Only God can do that. And only congregations can choose to change. Pastors can influence change by articulating the vision of God in a way that compels change, but pastors cannot change the congregation.

No matter how much pastors articulate and advocate for change, if the congregation does not change, there is no growth. There is no change.

Third, let us consider the role of the congregation in a growing church.

The primary role of congregations in growing churches is to live into God's vision for the church. And to do that, congregations must change. No congregation is fully living into God's vision for the church. There is always room for improvement. There is always room for change. Growing congregations are growing because they are constantly living into the vision God has for the church. Growing congregations are constantly changing.

When God's vision for the church is implemented as pastors articulate God's vision, and as congregations live into the vision God has for the church, there is growth.

That's what growing churches are doing. The pastors fulfill their role in articulating the vision of God for the church, and the congregations change into becoming the church that God is calling them to be. Such growing churches are constantly changing and growing into the life and ministry God is calling them.

So, here's the million dollar question, what's keeping you?

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...


Who is responsible for oversight of the church of Christ?

First let us establish that Jesus Christ is head of His church.

Colossians 1:13-18.....18 He is also head of the body, the church......

Ephesians 5:23...as Christ also is the head of the church....

The question remains who are the men responsible for the oversight of the Lord's church?

Did God put a pastor, a bishop, an elder, or an overseer in charge of shepherding His church?

Pastor, bishop, elder and overseer are the same office.

Men were given the oversight of each, local, church of Christ.

Acts 14:23 When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they believed.

Elders (plural) were appointed in each church congregation.

Titus 1:5-7 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you.....7 For the overseer must be above reproach....

Elders were appointed in every city where there was a church of Christ. Elders were also referred to as overseers (some translations use the word bishops).

Acts 20:17-28 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church.......28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Notice: Elders (plural), and overseers (plural). Elders and overseers are used interchangeably and are told to shepherd the church.

1 Peter 5:1-2 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you exercising oversight...

Note: Elders (plural), were told to shepherd the flock of God. Peter said he was one of the elders. Peter did not say he was the Pope or the Head Elder.

Ephesians 4:11And He gave some......as pastors.....

The word pastor means shepherd.

Elder, bishop, overseer and pastor are all the same office and they are to shepherd the local churches of Christ.

The oversight of the local church is to be a plurality of ELDERS (overseers, bishops, pastors).

There is no mention in the Bible of one pastor ruling a single church. There is no Scripture indicating one man should rule a world wide church. There is nothing in the Bible that tells us to set up a church board to oversee the local church. God never set up different denominations to be ruled by groups of men. There is no office of Pope or priest mentioned under the New Covenant church of Christ.


(All Scripture quotes from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE

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