Why I’m Leaving the Church Growth Movement

January 7, 2014
by Dr. Randy White, pastor
FBC, Katy, Texas 

INTRO:
Church growth is all the rage. For pastors, the focus is on leadership. For laymen, on “reaching people.” In the church world, church-growth is the standard of success. If a church “reaches people,” and the pastor is a “visionary leader,” then the church will be considered a success. If a church makes it into somebody’s bogus “Fastest Growing Church” list, then the growth frenzy continues with the sheep flocking to check out what innovation has been initiated to reach the masses for Christ.

Personally, I think the Emperor has no clothes.

For at least four reasons, I reject the church-growth and church-health principles taught at almost every pastor’s conference, and expressed in almost every church. Our church will be different, because I reject these principles. Although different will likely mean odd, behind-the-times, and shrinking in size, I go there anyway.

1.  I refuse to believe that a “Christian community” will save anyone.
2.  I reject all manipulation and aim toward persuasion.
3.  I refuse to let my congregation be deceived by good feelings.
4.  I reject the church as a program organization over which I am the CEO.

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Max

I’m a firm believer that we need to preach some churches empty in order to move forward with the real Church within the church. Spirit-filled preaching has a way of thinning the ranks. There is a reason that Scripture refers to the genuine as a “remnant” … it’s truly not that large, but it’s the real thing. Brother White has hit on a truth here.

Norm Miller

We sing (or, at least we once did), “I Am in the Lord’s Army.”
Wonder how many initially sang, “I Am in Gideon’s Army”?

    Max

    Norm – I’ve been a Southern Baptist for 50+ years and encountered only a few churchmen who would be considered for Gideon’s army. Seems like we are always preaching to the back row – toning it down and hoping they will catch up … not a good battle strategy, for few seldom move to the front. Pastors/preachers would do better to identify the hundreds who are serious enough to engage the enemy and send the thousands home as Gideon did. However, you won’t find this strategy in popular church growth resources! In the meantime, organized religion with all its bells and whistles doesn’t have enough power to blow the dust off a peanut. You certainly don’t won’t to be in a foxhole with some church members when the going gets tough … and I have a feeling the road is about to get rougher for true Christian warriors.

      Norm Miller

      Agreed, Max. I was the founding director of communications for the SBCV (Virginia). A pastor in the state, new to his church, began the FAITH evangelism program, and God blessed with sores of people saved and baptized. The ‘old guard’ of the church, sensing a loss of control, told the pastor to cease and desist the evangelism program. He would not and did not, and ultimately, had to resign. So, if one wants to be a Gideon, he may lead a much smaller flock, as you and Randy have noted, or he may be sent packing.

        Max

        But Jesus will come looking for him!

          Norm Miller

          Yes, but not sure how many of the ‘old guard’ have, or will see Jesus.

            Max

            Norm – It boils down to religion vs. relationship. The church (little “c”) is populated by a lot of religious folks. They have followed a religion of teachings and traditions of men … a debilitating plague which struck the old guard you refer to – exposure to it has kept many from getting the real thing. Unfortunately, there has been a new outbreak of religion in a certain popular movement which has captured the attention of our youth.

            Mega church doesn’t have to be a bad thing – but when it’s 3 miles wide and only 1 inch deep, it’s hard for me to get immersed in it. Neither is being “old” a bad thing – Lord knows the church could stand to return to the ancient paths. I pray for a church growth movement which is based on 2 Chronicles 7:14 … God will add to that Church (big “C”) daily. IF my people … THEN Will I. Unfortunately, I don’t see much activity in that direction as we enter a new year. I pray for your efforts on this blog and elsewhere to wake those sleeping in Zion.

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