Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thoughts on the Church, church growth, and a healthy view of ministry

Do you remember the short little nursery rhyme that goes, “Here is the church and here is the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people!” The little hand motions explain it all (see picture). Well it is cute but accurate? The church doesn’t house the people, it is the people. The Greek word in the New Testament for church is ‘ecclesia’, which means (and rightly translated by William Tyndale as) congregation. My commitment is not to keep the building full- I’ve not be called to a building and Christ didn’t die for a building. He died for people. My calling is to be His under-shepherd to His people. Our church ministries are worship gatherings are to make disciples so that we might magnify Christ in the world. If God wills then this leads to church growth. Don’t get me wrong I want our church to grow. Church growth means that Christians are having babies and leading their children to Christ. It means that Christians are evangelizing their neighbors and getting them connected in the covenanted family of God. In other words, church growth is a good thing when understood as the God-willed result of obedience. We’ve got to view it rightly. If having a lot of people show up to something at our buildings is the end-goal then we are just making an idol out of a building right? So beloved (specifically my local church family), let’s continue to be disciple-making oriented and not view our role as a glorified event center.

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