Church growth hormone
-a biblically banned substance
Recent news has revealed that many professional athletes have been taking illegal substances to build muscle and strength in order to improve their performance. They will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals and thus enhance their perceived value. For them the end result justifi es the means, no matter what the side effects. Similarly pastors around the world have come to believe that church growth equals success. Thousands attend conference after conference, read book after book, and watch and listen to video and audio messages regarding church growth. They, like the professional athlete on steroids, are taking “church growth hormones” just for the sake of growth. Having seen the quick “success”, they have signed on for the dangerous pill. True they have improved their performances on Sundays and Wednesdays, not recognising that the “church growth hormone” contains some ugly ingredients. Let’s take a look. Ingredients include: man-centred theology; relevant messages to meet people’s needs; events and programs that reach out to the community; contemporary music that is entertaining. For best results, remove the pews, dress casually, and install a 5,000 lumen projector. Take the “hormone” weekly, follow the regimented marketing strategy and you are guaranteed growth. The side effects may include unbelievers in the leadership, false converts, uncommitted members, and shallow minds.
On my own, there is no way that I could have seen the damaging effects of what I was participating in. To top it off, I was encouraged in this sin by the people. If anyone asked how the church was doing, what they really wanted to know was how the attendance was progressing, not how God was working or what He was doing in our congregation. My world-view was fi lled with garbage and I was blinded. My fl esh (ego) craved constant validation.
This came directly from numbers and growth, not from what God was doing or how He was moving. That’s right, I said fl esh, and that was my problem. It was all about me. When I left myself out of the equation, my sight started to become clearer. The Word had to become my number one reference for all things.
After some study, I actually began to be discerning. Those many books that I owned went right into the trash and I learned how to study the Bible inductively. To use a computer-based analogy, Jesus in effect reprogrammed the hard drive of my mind, steering me away from a numbers-driven thought process. Growing the church is no longer my focus. Now my focus is on training believers.
Appeared in Issue 13.1 CETF 39 MARCH 2007
"...contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" -- Jude v3