There comes a time in the life of every church, and consequently every pastor, when a certain question must be asked: “Do we want to draw a crowd or do we want to build a church?” The way the church answers this question determines not just its future, but also tests its present spiritual health.
Drawing a crowd is the easier of the two options. The church, when it has decided to draw instead of build, has the whole world in which to look for inspiration. The church can examine how their favorite sports teams are able to market in such a way to maintain fans. The church can examine the business world to see how they attract clients. The problem is that the church is supposed to be making disciples, not “fans” or “clients”. The church can do a door-to-door survey and ask the unchurched what they want so that they can attract them. When the circus is in town, it is not uncommon for the crowds to find their way there. Perhaps the drawing church should have clowns, Ferris wheels, and cotton candy to bring people in. How about the simple solution of drawing people away from Bible preaching churches to join the latest concert…or is it “church”? The problem with the decision to draw is that it is unquestionably unbiblical. When the church consciously decides to draw instead of build it starts down a very slippery slope.
The more difficult option is the biblical one: building the church. Please keep in mind that I do not mean this in the physical sense, at least not at first. If we want God’s results, then we are biblically required to maintain God’s prescribed methods. We are mandated to “go” and “make disciples” (Matthew 28). Biblical church growth comes from faithful evangelism when we are blessed to see souls born again by the sharing of the glorious Gospel. The church that makes the biblical determination to build carefully examines every brick and every stone. They hold it up to the light of Scripture. It does not matter to them if every other church is doing that way or not. It does not matter to them if some mega church pastor prescribed it. It only matters if it fits within the parameters of the Bible. A Bible preaching church determined to build instead of draw will nevertheless find some Christians actually drawn to them. They will see the Bible preached, taught, and honored in high esteem. Adrian Rogers was fond of saying: “There is nothing wrong with being a small church, but there is everything wrong with being an unfaithful church.”
The plague of the modern church is pragmatism. So many churches are only concerned with what “works” (quick and easy results). The churches are few and far between that actually ask: “What does the Bible say?” I promise if it is biblical then it will work. It may not work quickly and it may not work easily but it will work. God always keep His promises and honors the principles He teaches us in His Word. Perhaps your church is facing this important question now….so answer wisely. We must not be so thirsty for results that we bypass the clear teachings of Scripture. If we are thirsty for the Scriptures then the results will come.