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Church Growth Phenomenon: A Word of Caution for Church Leaders

Posted By: ChurchLife Arena          In: Christian & Church Growth          2262 Views         (Sep 01, 2017)

 Church Growth Phenomenon: A Word of Caution for Church Leaders

Church growth is both a global phenomenon and a reality of our time. While growth is desirable, a proper perceptive of the church is required for a better perspective of the her growth. The point is, until we understand economics and the economy; we cannot appreciate the implication of economic growth. Growth is a characteristic part of every living thing; therefore, what we all desire for the Church is growth; however, if we do not understand the meaning or purpose of the Church, we will not know or appreciate the growth of the Church and how the Church grows.

Church etymologically implies the assembly of the called-out. In ancient Roman Empire; there was a group of people called out of the community of their people to represent the people in government. These people were referred to as the Senate. These men were chosen from the people, they assemble regularly to discuss matters that affect the Kingdom and the people of the Kingdom. These chosen people were the called-out ones of the Roman kingdom; and they are shadows of the reality of Kingdom representation in the Church. In short, while the Roman Empire had Senate as their Church, Christ chose a people from the world to be His Church on the earth. And as the Senate was such an authority in Rome; the Church is made an authority on earth.

Therefore, Church growth is a direct multiplication of the people chosen by Christ to represent His will on the earth. Each time there is an increase in the representation of Christ on earth, the Church increases. If you look carefully at that submission, you will realize that much of what most of us refer to as Church growth is not really growth of the Church: for they are merely increase in the number of the people, not necessarily the chosen people. Jesus Christ stated very emphatically that the people did not choose, but He chose them: He was very clear about His purpose for them, "to go and bear fruit, and that the fruit remains."

In the book of John 6:60-70, Jesus said a few powerful words; but lo, the people decided to leave Him from that moment, they could not appreciate what He had told them. And turning to the remaining disciples that remained with Him, He asked them, "Do you ALSO want to go away?". Simon Peter replied Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." The truth they say is hard; yet, Jesus Christ is the Truth. Therefore, no one can come or "claim to come to Him in the Church"; and yet hates the truth. The Church of Christ "reduced" that day because of the the truth; but instead of Jesus saddened by the occurrence, He was rather bold to even question the remnant.

The Church as it were is not an assembly of the people, but the remnants. The people will come and go, but the remnants will be preserved by God Himself. Because the people hate the truth, Jesus said, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (John 6:39). In another instance, Jesus said that no one can come to Him except they are drawn by the Father. All that confirms the truth that people do not populate the Church, it is the chosen people that populates the Church; hence, the Church does not deplete because the people leaves; the Church depletes when disciples (chosen people) leaves the fold.

Today, we employ every means to grow the Church; yet we do not fully appreciate the meaning of the Church. To some, the Church is like a Clinic or Hospital, where sick people are brought in daily for treatment. But may I ask please, what is supposed to happen to the treated sick: the people who were brought "sick", but remains for decades in the "Church", increasing in status and titles, without being fully recovered. The point is what we call growth is not really growth; true growth is not about the people; it is about the disciples - the followers of Christ! Many denominations of the Church preoccupies themselves with enlisting more disciples for themselves instead of Christ. The point is, there is a difference between the disciples of Christ and the disciples of the Pastor or the denomination. If you probe the heart of many professed disciples; they are more close to their pastors and denominations than to Christ. Many of them can tell you everything you need to know about their charismatic pastors and their anointed General Overseers anytime you check them; but may not be able to discern the will of God.

The Church is not an assembly of the people as it were; but assembly of the chosen ones of Christ Jesus. The chosen ones of Christ are the ones that know His voice, the ones that have Him as a model towards which they seek daily to grow. Many members of denominations wish daily to become like their easily - angered Pastors; yet, Christ is the Model given by God to man to be conformed into. In fact, the fivefold ministries are given by Christ to some chosen ones to guide the people unto Christlikeness. The people may come to the Church; but the Church grows as the disciples increases. Until the disciples (not of the Pastors, but of Christ) increase; the Church has not grown.

"Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand."
John 6:10


Jesus instructed the disciples to make the people to sit down; the question then is, "why did He ask the PEOPLE to sit down?". While the people do not make up the Church; with the truth preached and taught with the authority of the Kingdom; the PEOPLE can become DISCIPLES of Christ. Remember, people came to Jesus to eat food for their bellies; disciples came to Jesus to learn wisdom and gain understanding of the mysteries of the Kingdom. People come into the Church for what to eat from the tables of the Lord; but disciples are in the Church to learn of Christ and gain further understanding of the wisdom of the Kingdom. You see, Pastors may get excited because more people come into the Church; true increase is when the disciples are multiplied by the Church.

The Church is more of a mould that make people become like Christ; than an assembly of the people. Until a man becomes like Christ; he cannot know, nor do the will of Christ: such a person cannot represent Christ and he is not a part of he Church. The Church is not a group or an association of people; the Church is the Kingdom agency for raising more disciples for Christ on earth and for doing the will of Christ on the earth. Remember, what is the essence of a people that claim to be of Christ; yet are not representing His will.

The Church must not become preoccupied with making people to sit down; we must make efforts to transform the people into disciples of Christ Jesus: for until such disciples of Jesus Christ increases, the Church does not grow.

"Then the word of God spread, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith."
Acts 6:7

Until the disciples multiplies, the Church does not multiply. We must not keep the disciples perpetually preoccupied with the food of the people. The point is, because the Church has been preoccupied with bringing people in, and making them sit down; we now have a situation where the "babies" and the adults are subject to the same experience regularly. Remember, babes want to eat; adults wants to learn and impact. The moment we keep the adults busy with the food of the babes; we deny the adults the privilege of growth.

I have seen a situation where people spend decades in a denomination; yet, the pastors keep treating them like babes, telling them the same things they tell the people that just join the Church. You see, the Church must not forsake discipleship, while seeking for new converts. For the Church does not grow by new converts; but by disciples of Christ. May the Lord help us all to work the work of Church growth as He works it! Let His word increase in your spirit this day by His Holy Spirit in you! Amen!

Tags:      church growth  church leadership  leaders  growth  Christ  Kingdom of Christ  Senate  Roman empire  Discipleship  how to grow church  Gboyega Adedeji 

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