Growing the Church in the Power of the Flesh

It is amazing the amount of church growth that can be accomplished in the power of the flesh. Though there are significant problems in the church growth movement, we should all be for church growth. In fact, it seems almost impossible for a church to be fulfilling the great commission without some kind of growth taking place. We are to go out and make disciples. When they come in, they too are to grow to the place where they go out and make more disciples.

Many times, however, church growth seems to come down to thoughts like this, “If we get this program or attraction going, more people will show up,” and sometimes this is true, but have we traded the spirit of God for business acumen? Is our church only growing because we have grown skilled in organizational leadership and event promotion? Don’t get me wrong, those things are not necessarily antithetical to the ways of God. God has not called us to be inept in the ways of business and leadership. A godly elder should have knowledge in these things, but let’s be clear, a church can grow in numbers without the Spirit of God moving. To prove this, all you have to do is look at a few well attended liberal churches that have abandoned the faith.

The idea of common grace and saving grace applies not only to individuals but churches also. A church can grow in number and wealth if it has the right marketing plan, along with a number of other useful strategies, but this does not necessarily mean anything spiritual is happening there.

A church where the congregants live worldly lives is not really growing, even if it is growing in size on a regular basis. We cannot call it church growth when the majority of a local church is involved in much of the same worldly lifestyle as the rest of society. If we, as congregants, spend our week chasing after self-glory, personal peace, and affluence, and we let the Word of God sit unread while we neglect our prayer life, it does not matter how big our church is.

This also seems to be a problem in many small non-growing churches as well. The people come on Sunday and see low attendance and wonder why the pastor isn’t bringing in more people with his sermons. Yet there is no real desire for personal holiness in their lives. After they spend the entire week indifferent to God and godliness, they attend church and expect something to happen. However, when we spend a good portion of our time doing things God hates, and not doing the things He loves, we shouldn’t expect much to happen when we attend church. The congregants often have more influence on the spiritual state of a congregation than the pastor. This can be seen every time a Godly preacher is driven away.

True church growth will not occur when there is no desire for personal holiness in the lives of its people. On the contrary, when there is a hunger for righteousness, and progress is being made in personal holiness, church growth has already begun. We do not need more programs to increase the number of people who attend and live worldly lives. We need individuals in the church to grow in Godliness, and as this happens, we will not need programs to bolster attendance. The church will grow because the people will be evangelizing, and more programs will be developed to accompany the need for the people who are coming in desiring to know Christ and be more like Him.

I have many concern about the state of the church growth movement, but this post was not aimed directly at it. It was against the idea that personal holiness can be neglected, while church growth is to be expected, and this can happen in churches with big marketing plans, and those without them.

As we grow to be more like Christ
And by the world, we are less enticed,
In our hearts, God’s Spirit’s moving,
Then of our growth, He is approving.

D. Eaton

Pastor Increases Conversions Using a Clickbait Strategy

Clickbait Church

LOS ANGELES, CA – Pastor Magnus Charms, of Relevant Encounter, has seen an 181% increase in decisions for Jesus during his altar calls by using a clickbait strategy. A long-time proponent of relevance, Pastor Charms said, “The church needs to speak the language of the people, and you’ll be astounded the way lives are being changed.”

At his most recent altar call, he told the congregation, “If you accept Jesus as Lord, you will learn seven reasons why Jesus loves you, and number 4 is mind-blowing.”

He has also found that it is hard for people to resist a red circle. In a recent sermon titled, “What Happens Next Will Shock You.” He told his congregation that if they came to Jesus, their life would have a red circle around it, and the only way they could find out what would happen next is if they came forward.

Pastor Charms is not without his critics. Pastor Levi Habakkuk, of Ecclesia Church, warned, “It is true that many are coming forward, but conversions tend to last for about 10 seconds before they are on to something else.” He went on to say, “Some congregants never made it down the aisle before they were distracted by a protester holding a sign reading, ‘If you recognize these five things, you grew up in the 80’s’”

When told of this, Pastor Charms, replied, “I know something else Pastor Habakkuk said that will leave you furious. Come forward on Sunday and I will tell you.”

In the end, he left us with this, “Regardless of what you think of my altar call tactics, you must hear our praise band’s acapella rendition of Mary Did You Know. What they do half-way through will leave you breathless.”

D. Eaton