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?